Chris Smalling of Manchester United goes up for a header with Vincent Kompany of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Back in October, Manchester City thrashed Manchester United, but that didn't stop the Red Devils from moving to the top of table, which the Citizens hope to change on Monday.
The last time Manchester City and Manchester United squared off they were on the red side of the city, but the Citizens left made it feel very blue. Down 1-0, the Red Devils had Johnny Evans sent off in the 47th minute and the floodgates opened. By the time the two teams left the pitch at Old Trafford, there were empty seats everywhere as United supporters couldn't stand to watch their rivals thrash their beloved Red Devils, 6-1.
That match came back on October 23 and on that date, it was impossible to see anyone except for City winning the league. They were off to a blazing hot start to the season, had already taken a hold of first place and just made United look silly. The Citizens might as well have been handed the trophy right then and there, or so it seemed.
Whatever it seemed was wrong because it has been a while since City looked like the same team that marched into Old Trafford and dismantled United. They've struggled, dropping points and falling out of first place. United has risen to the top, much to the delight of the Red Devils' supporters, who have not been shy about their feelings that City are just trying to buy trophies.
Even with City's struggles, they have managed to stay right on United's heels and now as they get ready to play their rivals once again, they find themselves just three points off the pace. While that might be abhorrant to any City supporter who thought the title was theirs in October, it's not a particularly bad place to be in. They have the goal difference edge over United and if they can win at Eastlands on Monday, they will be even on points with their rivals and ahead on that goal difference.
Tell a team that at the end of April they have to win one match at home to be atop the Premier League table and they probably take it - even big dreaming City.
The Manchester Derby is always a treat. The red and blue on each side and a stadium full of supporters in top form always makes for a tremendous atmosphere, but there is more to it this time around.
This time, there is a title at stake and while nobody doubts City's talent, United are still United. Sir Alex Ferguson still sits in the dugout and these are the matches they always win, regardless of form or the opponent. It is why they have all the trophies that City just wishes they had and until the Citizens can prove themselves at the end of the season with all of the pressure and expectations, nobody will believe the boys in blue can do it. Monday is the chance to prove it, or maybe just another chance to continue being that same downtrodden club they have been for decades while their hated rivals reign supreme - again.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City
Match Date/Time: Monday, April 30, 3:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. local
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
TV: ESPN (U.S. - English), ESPN Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), TSN 2 (Canada), Sky Sports 1/HD (U.K.)