Writers United: The Noisy Neighbours Are Coming Home (ft. Rodney McCain)

What are your thoughts going into Sunday’s game, which is probably the biggest game of the season so far?

I think in terms of our challenge for the Premier League title this year, it’s very much a “must win” game, or certainly a “must not lose” one. Realistically, though, we need to win, and against a side playing as well as Pep Guardiola’s team are right now that is a big ask, even at home. The loss of Paul Pogba can’t be overstated- he’s simply irreplaceable within the team. Can we beat City? Of course we can, especially on our own pitch, but I have to say I simply cannot see this United defence keeping de Bruyne & co. ‘shut out’ for 90+ minutes, so we will have to try to out-score them. They have scored a few fortunate late winners recently, and we could do with having Lady Luck smiling on the lads in red shirts on Sunday afternoon!

How do you think we can stop Man City?

Good question! As I stated above, as much as I’d love to see us keep a clean sheet on Sunday, I can’t…we’ve just forced our fabulous goalkeeper to make 14 (FOURTEEN!) saves to keep a much lesser quality attacking side like Arsenal down to a single goal against us, so unless Bailly & Jones (our best CB combination right now) make miraculous recoveries before Sunday AND have the games of their respective seasons in front of de Gea, I think we’ll simply need to out-score City to beat them, and I think that’s where we can get some joy, as their defence doesn’t convince me much either. There is always a mistake in Otamendi, and young Ederson hasn’t really been tested much yet… if we can get service to Lukaku and Martial we can definitely trouble them. However the key to success is to keep Kevin de Bruyne out of the game as much as we can- Jose might task Herrera to man-mark him throughout the 90 minutes.

What’s your favourite Old Trafford derby moment?

I’ve never been much of a fan of Michael Owen, given his allegiance to our ‘friends’ down at Anfield and the fact that he was never going to be anything more than a stop-gap at United, but his last-gasp winner in September 2009 to give us a 4-3 victory over a very good City team was a genuine “I was there” type moment!! As it happens I was watching the game in a bar in Broughshane, Co. Antrim, and it was even a sensational feeling in there; I can’t imagine what it was like in the Stretford End!!

Score prediction?

United 1 City 1…. I desperately want to predict a home win, but I just can’t see us beating them without Paul Pogba on the pitch. The news that David Silva may miss the game for them is encouraging, but they have immense depth in their squad to cover for his absence.