Manchester derby can expose the differences between both clubs

MANCHESTER.- Jim Ratcliffe is determined to beat the Manchester Citydespite his admiration for the team he calls “the enemy.”

Since becoming part-owner of Manchester United last week, Ratcliffe has spoken about the “elite atmosphere” presented by City, now controlled by Abu Dhabi. And he described City’s 4-0 victory over Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-finals as “the best football he has ever seen”.

Ratcliffe acknowledged that United were “way behind” City, which could be demonstrated this weekend.

This Sunday the 192nd Manchester derby will take place, pitting two rivals at opposite stages of their development: City, English, European and Club World Cup champions, against United, a fallen giant seeking to be boosted by wealth. and the passion of a billionaire born in the country.

Few give United hope in the Premier League clash – even Ratcliffe probably doesn’t expect a win – but his comments against City and local rivals Liverpool offer the narrative and backdrop to a match that has been one-sided in recent years. last years.

United coach Erik ten Hag is convinced that his team has something to compete with.

This is how they arrive at the Manchester derby:

City comes into the game after beating Luton 6-2 in the FA Cup. United have won seven of their nine games in all competitions in 2024, but remain unconvincing.

Fifteen points separate City in second and United in sixth, and that gap could reach 18 on Sunday night.

Leader Liverpool, who plays first, visits Nottingham Forest. Arsenal, who are third and one point behind City, visit Sheffield United on Monday.

Chelsea, meanwhile, scored a last-minute winner to reach the FA Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday night. On Saturday they play the local derby against Brentford.

The Blues find themselves in 11th place amid a difficult campaign for coach Mauricio Pochettino. Last Sunday his players were criticized by leading British football expert Gary Neville, a former United defender.

Brentford have lost four of their last five league games and are in 16th place.