Manchester United: Who are your main rivals, Liverpool or City?
Sir Alex Ferguson claims Liverpool will always be the bigger fixture for Manchester United, but with the noisy neighbours currently leading the Premier League title race former Red Devil Gary Pallister insists that games against City are now their biggest of the season. But who is right? There’s only one way to find out . . . fight!!! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Over the past few decades Manchester United have not really had that much problem in dealing with their city rivals. City simply were not in the same league as United. For a few seasons they weren’t even in the same division. While United were flying out to take on the likes of AC Milan, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, City fans would be at home eating their dinner watching Corrie.
Some United fans didn’t even look at City as rivals, as the gulf in class between the two was massive. Oh no, in their eyes their main nemesis was Liverpool. The Anfield giants dominated England and Europe during the 70s and 80s and the bitter rivalry between the two proud cities intensified. Liverpool and Manchester United will always be rivals purely because, with 118 trophies between them, they are the two most successful teams in England. Throw in some industrial disputes, dating back to the late 1800s, and there will always be needle between the two.
Liverpool fans famously taunted United with a banner at Anfield saying “Come back when you’ve won 18” referring to the number of league titles the Anfield giants had won. However, since the inception of the Premier League there has only been one dominant force and that’s been Manchester United. While Liverpool still search for their first league title since 1990, United have picked up 12 to beat Liverpool’s long-standing record. Now the Red Devils are well placed to actually make it 20.
Standing in United’s way though could be their city rivals. Manchester City have really upped their game since Sheikh Mansour pumped his millions into the club. Money is no object for the club and Roberto Mancini has been given an open chequebook to bring success back to the Etihad.
Even under Sven Goran Eriksson you could sense there may be a tide change in Manchester. City completed the double over their nearest and dearest in 2007/08. United regained control the following season, but under Mark Hughes the battle lines were redrawn again.
City and United played out a Premier League classic in August 2009, as City refused to lay down to the champions. Craig Bellamy’s sensational late strike looked to have earned City a remarkable 3-3 draw at Old Trafford, only for Michael Owen to pop in injury time to win the game for the hosts. United went on to complete another double over City and knock them out of the Carling Cup, but City were becoming more of a threat. It even took a moment of magic from Wayne Rooney to seal the points last season at Old Trafford.
Then in April, City did the unthinkable . . . they beat Manchester United at Wembley in the semi-final of the FA Cup and went on to end their trophy drought. Since then City have booked their place in the Champions League, brought more top class names to the Etihad and currently lead the Premier League title race.
Liverpool are also improving under Kenny Dalglish and are spending money like it is going out of fashion, but they are nowhere near ready to challenging for the title just yet. So who do you see as you main rivals? Do you agree with Sir Alex and see Liverpool as your main nemesis or do you side with Gary Pallister and feel that Manchester City are your main threat?
Whatever your views we’d love to hear from you.