PREVIEW: Play Nice, Manchester - The World Is Watching

Derby Day...

Behave

February 1st 2016. That's when it all began to change. Manchester City finally got their man and appointed Pep Guardiola to replace outgoing boss Manuel Pellegrini. 

One of the world's elite managers was coming to the blue side of Manchester. 

On the red side, meanwhile, United were still struggling to find cohesion under Louis Van Gaal, a man whose days were effectively numbered when long-time admirer of the Red Devils José Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December. 

Four months and one FA Cup victory later, Van Gaal was indeed relived of his post and, like everyone suspected, Mourinho took his place in the Old Trafford hotseat that he had coveted for so long. 

And so the dream of media men and women up and down the land had become a reality. 

Arguably the two greatest managers in the world had set up camp on either side of one of the most passionate football cities on the planet.

If the sports editors weren't salivating enough already, throw in the fact that Guardiola and Mourinho had previously clashed on numerous occasions, particularly when they were rivals at the two Spanish behemoths of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, for two seasons between 2010 and 2012. 

Now four years later, the hatred between the two men is set to be ignited once more as Old Trafford prepares to host the first Premier League clash between these great rivals.

The eyes of the world will be on our great city as worshipers of Guardiola's famed tiki-taka system and followers of Mourinho's apparent conservative style of play tune in to see who comes out on top. 

It's telling that Saturday's game is dominating the sports pages the world over. While the biggest club game in world football remains Real Madrid v Barcelona, otherwise known as El Classico, the presence of José and Pep in the north west of England means an argument can surely be made that the Manchester Derby is set to take over. 

In fact, while clashes between the Spanish top two have always been of global interest, it was only when they pitted Pep against José that they became international, must-not-miss affairs even for those with a fleeting interest in football. 

Right now, with both men having landed in Manchester, our derby is taking up column inches in all four corners of the globe: 

Both Mourinho and Guardiola have had glittering, trophy-laden managerial careers before rocking up in Manchester but a win today won't see anyone go home with trophy.

Instead, and perhaps vitally, a first psychological knock-out blow will be delievered to the losers in the race to bring the Premier League title back to the north-west.

Manchester, do you read us? The world is watching.

Written By

James Fenton

Resident football writer, covering City, United and the rest of what the beautiful game brings to our city. I also moonlight in news, current affairs and emmm... burger reviews.

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