Premier League preview 19/20 September 2009
Posted 17th September 2009
The Premier League table is already taking shape and this weekend's list of fixtures contains a showdown that is the most eagerly-anticipated match of the season so far. The Manchester derby is always a big match, but this one is between two prospective title challengers.
With the added spice of the Carlos Tevez affair thrown in, this clash between the local rivals promises to be a combustible affair. Tevez might well be missing through injury, but the rancour his move across Manchester caused has somehow increased the rivalry between the clubs.
It cannot be called City's first serious challenge of the season. The impressive 4-2 win against Arsenal was their first meeting with a member of the current ‘big four' and the manner of the victory suggested an instant title challenge by the quickly-assembled all-stars is not unlikely.
United also proved their early season credentials by beating the Gunners, but their win at Tottenham Hotspur last time out was their best showing to date. The dismantling of an in-form team was a decent statement of their own title aspirations.
City have a reasonable derby record in recent years, despite losing both matches last term. They did the double over their neighbours in 2007/08 and have drawn four of their eight league visits to Old Trafford since returning to the top flight in 2000/01. Another stalemate could be the outcome to follow here; although the Premier League betting odds suggest Man City may nudge ahead in this derby.
The top four are in action against each other this weekend, as current leaders Chelsea host fourth-placed Spurs in the final match of the weekend. The Blues have made a perfect start under Carlo Ancelotti, although they have needed some very late winners. They will have to work hard against much-improved Tottenham, so a narrow home win is the most likely result.