It’s the Manchester derby! The 169th derby is to be played at Theatre of Dreams on Sunday. The fans are eagerly waiting for the day and why not, United have an advantage over the cross town rivals after long time. No one in their right state of mind would have predicted this point tally at the start of the season, nor at the midway mark. But now, here we stand, Manchester United, placed a point above their ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City.
Louis van Gaal has brought back the swagger and the flare which was missing all throughout last season. The next force behind this resurrection is the club captain Wayne Rooney. The man, who has been the pivotal figure for United all through the season, playing responsibly and giving his 100% in every match. And come this Sunday, Rooney will be the most feared player by the Citizens.
Manchester United’s recent derby record is very disappointing having won just one out of last five encounters with positive result dating back in the Ferguson’s swan song season. But one man has always stood tall for United, giving his all, scoring and fighting hard. Wayne Rooney. He was the one who scored brace on the eventful and thrilling win against City at the Etihad back in 2012.
Rooney has an impressive record of 11 goals in all competitions against the local rivals making him the all time record scorer in the history of the fixture. He seem to reserve his best for the derby as he has always outperformed his team mates during the match day. He fought the lone battle for the Red Devils during the 4-1 defeat against City last season, finally scoring on a superb free kick. He came very close this season to equalise for United who were trailing City with a goal and a man down. His energy and commitment make him player to look for in the match. And he delivers more often than not.
In his latest interview with the official Manchester United website, he hailed the importance of the game and spoke out the determination to do well. He also stated that the fixture is massive game of pride and will look forward to capitalise on the slight advantage United enjoys over their rivals.
This derby can prove to be a vital game for both the sides. City’s recent slump and their poor away form off late can be the massive weapon for United and surely the captain will know how to use it to get the desired result. With all the drama and build up and tactics, one man will be at the centre of it. The figure, City players fear the most, United captain, Wayne Rooney!
The article was written and researched by Abhinay Dhole. You can follow him on Twitter.