I predict a riot - on the pitch - City 6-1 United.
So unless you have been under a rock, like most United supporters were when they lost to Huddersfield earlier this season.
Or have no interest in the beautiful game (in which case tune out now) our Christmas preparations will undoubtedly be hampered by the small matter of the 175th Manchester derby this afternoon.
“I support winning trophies,” was the comment made by a lad I bumped into yesterday, in a sports shop in Shannon, in reply to my answer to his question.
As I slapped my forehead with my palm, making an audible expression of my exasperation at yet another mindless comment by a United-supporting plonker, I couldn’t resist giving him my prediction for a score in today’s match :
“City to win 6-1,” I smiled confidently.
Now the fact that this was a bandwagon rag, didn’t bother me that much, they are common here in Clare, Limerick, Munster and throughout the island of Ireland.
Plenty of lads in Manchester on the red side who can't afford or get tickets to games are as frustrated by the same curious breed.
And the fact that he was from Keralan, in south India, didn’t really bother me either, nice place I’m sure, and lovely food.
But the fact that here was this bandwagon rag, from the other side of the world, lecturing me about football in my home town of Manchester, when he had never been there, actually did start pissing me off.
Therefore whilst my daughter tried on her new swimming costume, in the changing rooms, I felt obliged to share with him briefly a story from the eighties, which since he told me he was twenty years old, was presumably a decade or so before he was born.
“I remember freezing our knackers off, ten thousand City fans squeezed into the away end up a hill all cheered as Imre Varadi scored a consolation as we lost 2-1 to Barnsley, mid table in the old second division. But still singing our hearts out come win, lose or draw,” I explained, and he started to understand, probably regretting the fact that he had seen my City top and baited me about the game.
What he didn’t and probably couldn’t get, was that you just support your team.
Get the right manager, right players, and right ingredients, and the trophies will follow.
One simply doesn’t “support winning trophies” – that’s only about masking a vain insecurity whereby a need to attach to success is expressed in the mindset of a youth for whom success is an elusive, distant, prospect.
Back to matters on the pitch : City will prefer being away because judging by the 0-0 draw at the Etihad last season, their aim will be to hold on for a point, then celebrate like they won a cup!
Or will it?
Perhaps they will come out to play, and not park ten men behind the ball at home.
Er, okay then, I doubt it as well.
City are class, and Mourinho and every United fan knows it.
Sane, Sterling, Silva, de Bruyne, Aguero running at you, and there will be panic.
So they will camp in their half and try and hit us on the break.
Perhaps indicative of their lack of class, was the interview released earlier this week, which showed Paul Pogba, whose agent fees alone cost more than Vincent Kompany, City captain, and David Silva, the City magician, who just gets on with his football, no fuss, no drama, and flies ordinary class along with the supporters.
This plonker, to the shame of his own supporters, admitted that United were hoping for City players to get injured, whilst taking time out for a retrospective ban for stamping.
Nice one Paul.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, their manager then came out saying City players, like Sterling, were “Cheats” because of diving.
Now with Ashley Young in the side, this smacks of as much embarrassment, as humour, and a pretty weak attempt at ‘mind games’, but what else can be expected?
If they cannot influence the referee, cannot use the media to destabilise our players’ minds, and they don’t deliberately set out to injure our players, and the game just revolves around football, and footballing ability, they know City will play them off the pitch.
Under Mancini, the 6-1 win at 'the swamp' was something of a freak result.
However, the way City have played this season, it would be a fair albeit unlikely result.
Records have been tumbling this season and rightly so.
To win at all costs is not the point.
It is the WHY.
And the emotion. Guardiola brings a passion to the game and a dedication to a style of play which the players can buy, and translate into exhilarating, attacking football.
The kind of football, that every fan wants to watch, and the kind of football, which has United supporters admitting through gritted teeth, that they wish they were playing.
If City win this match then they will equal the all-time English top-flight league record of 14 consecutive victories; set by Arsenal between February and August 2002.
If Sergio Aguero scores a hat-trick today, he will become the top goalscorer in Manchester derbies, overtaking Joe Hayes, Francis Lee and Bobby Charlton, equalling Wayne Rooney with 11 goals (source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_derby).
I predict a Riot – 6-1 to City again.
Blue Santas in full voice.
And why not.
In the famous words of Jimmy Grimble,
“What could be better than Man United, son?”
We shall see.