No side likes to lose a derby. It’s a fierce battle for bragging rights (does anyone use that phrase other than in sport?!) which can see families divided and passions overflow.
But this Manchester match up, the last of the decade, is for vastly different reasons a must-win for both Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
For the United manager it’s a case of simply trying to keep his job.
It seems to happen that as soon as one club decide to sack their manager that a load follow suit. No sooner than Tottenham sacked Pochettino than Arsenal (Unai Emery), Waford (Quique Sánchez Flores) and Everton (Marco Silva) all followed suit within the next two weeks. Even by the standards of the bonkers Premier League owners – moneybags men who always want success yesterday – that’s some going. So for that reason alone Solskjaer needs a result at the Etihad today – sacking the boss is clearly the festive fashion this year and Ole will not want to add his name to the sorry list.
United have made their worst start to a season since 1989 and with every defeat the death knells surrounding the Norwegian’s place in the dugout grow louder. A loss to their city rivals could be too much for a twitchy board to take.