Manchester United v Manchester City: Premier League – live!
- Premier League updates from the 8pm BST kick-off
- Do read: Marina Hyde on football and its pathetic omertas
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Hello. They’ve been playing Manchester derbies since 1881, the year Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson first met and Pat Garrett killed Billy the Kid. And there has never been a United-City duel in a context exactly like today’s. The 178th showdown between the clubs is assured of at least mention in each clubs’ history books no matter how it unfolds. Some shade of glory beckons for both, but deep regret, even ignominy, also lurks. This match has immediate importance to each team’s season and is a bellwether game for what could happen beyond that. And Liverpool are watching in the role of helpless bystanders hoping that United, their fiercest rivals, will do them a favour in spite of themselves. But what if the twist in this season’s title race is that there is no twist? And City just keep on winning.
Pep Guardiola’s men haven’t dropped a point in the Premier League since late January and there’s little to suggest they’re about to slip up now, especially not against a United side who have been in wretched form, with Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at Everton not so much humiliating as contemptible. Everything suggests the gulf between the neighbours is growing. But this is a derby. This is at Old Trafford. City are not perfect and United do have some quality and, presumably, some pride.