Warm-Up - It's a cold night in Manchester for this, the most hotly-anticipated derby since the last one. All the talk in the stands is of the real reason for Wayne Rooney's American trip; most people seem to think he's getting into mixed-martial arts or Hollywood, or both. I drank a can of lager on the way here, one in the eye for Greater Manchester Police and their booze ban. Let's dance. The big screens are showing footage of derbies of the past, naturally only the ones where United got rinsed.
Now that's not on..... Oh, ok. For a moment there I thought somebody had set fire to the away fans. Turns out it's just a continental-style flare. Let's hope that fire spreads onto the pitch, not literally.
Wow, that was COOL - just before the teams emerge the lights go out around the stadium. Bold move. The lads come out and it's advantage United in the glove count. Excluding goalkeepers I make it three (Berbatov, Evra (who were both supposed to have the trotts) and Nani) to two (Kolo Toure, Tevez (I thought if the captain did everybody else had to?)). Of those only Toure is combining short sleeves and gloves. Could be crucial. Here we go..........
|Kick-off - Pride in Bottle|
KICK-OFF! - Time for the talking to stop and the walking to start; to see who's got the trousers to go with the mouth; who's got the chops to cash the cheques; who's a boot-licker and who's a moron. Tevez shimmies up the middle but gets his pocket picked.
10 mins - Nothing doing. City knocking it about in their own half a lot.
13 mins - The guy to my right's insult du jour seems to be "you absolute wanker". He's already produced it twice, once to James Milner (harsh) and once to the referee (also harsh).
22 mins - This is bit like being at Maine Road circa 1996. Richard Edgehill overhits a long pass to Uwe Rosler. Niall Quinn looks miffed.
30 mins - Yaya Toure is often referred to as a 'box-to-box' midfielder but so far he's doing a pretty good job of staying right in the middle. He's a big strapping lad though; I'm not sure I'd be up for arguing his yards-covered/pounds-earned ratio with him face to face.
42 mins - Boom! Scholes gets booked. Couldn't have seen that coming.
45 mins - Tevez and Rafael lively up themselves by playing stereotypes and getting their Fiery South American hats on. They face off with one calling the other a pretty boy and the other saying the other has a face only a madre could love, probs.
HALF-TIME - That was a stinker.
FULL-TIME - That was a stinker too. If I'd paid for a ticket I would be pi-issed off. I didn't though, and I do have Hart, Toure and Vidic in my fantasy football team so I'm delighted. Thanks negative Italian mentality!