As a famous Mancunian once sang, this is the one. Forget about everybody else, only two teams can win the Premier League this season and they meet for the first time this season at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
But as City host United in the Manchester derby, what are we to make of Sir Alex Ferguson’s comments all week in the build up?
At face value, Ferguson should be at his bullish best ahead of a game that could go a long way to deciding the destiny of the league title.
His team stand three points clear at the top of the table going into the match, have scored nine more goals than anybody else in the division and even managed to win their Champions League group with two matches to spare.
But Ferguson’s comments and demeanour tell an entirely different tale and if you didn’t know better you would think that he is running scared of facing the champions in their own back yard.
That may be a strong way of putting it, but Ferguson is not playing mind games with his opposite number Roberto Mancini here.
The Scot has been around the block more than anyone and he knows that if United carry on defending like they have been then they are going to be lambs to the slaughter at the Etihad on Sunday.
On three separate occasions already this week, Ferguson has bemoaned his team’s defending and publicly stated he fears for what might happen to a team who have conceded 33 goals before Christmas if they continue in that vein against the Citizens.
And this was no kidology, trying to unsettle Mancini and City: Ferguson is desperately trying to drum into his players how bad they have been at the back and even went as far as issuing a rallying cry that winning at the Etihad would be ‘one of our best ever results’.
It is a long way from dismissing City as ‘the noisy neighbours’, isn’t it? And not only does it show how the power is shifting in Manchester, I think it is as clear a sign as any that the 5/4 on a home win is the bet that we should all be getting on, and then getting on again.
I dare say the draw (23/10) will have its backers with it being a derby, as will United at 21/10, but for me City are going to win this and win it well.
Ferguson will know his team were outclassed twice by the Citizens last season, particularly in that infamous 6-1 demolition at Old Trafford, and I don’t see any reason to think that will change.
For all their toils in Europe, City are still unbeaten in the Premier League and are impenetrable at the Etihad: you have to go back to December 2010 for the last time they lost a home league match – a run of 33 wins and four draws.
And United can’t defend like they have and expect to get anything. I keep writing about it, but that’s because it keeps happening: the 1-0 loss to Cluj in midweek was the 15th time this year that Ferguson’s men have let in the first goal and they cannot keep coming back to win.
That has happened ten times, but there is a difference between coming from behind when you’re playing Stoke at home or Reading away – when they concede the first goal against City, they won’t have a prayer of overturning the scoreline and what’s more, Ferguson knows that as well as anybody.
It is why he has spent all week trying to underline to his players what will happen, but I don’t think there is much he can do until he gets Nemanja Vidic back in the side. And signs a good goalkeeper.
Twice last season City showed their superiority, especially in midfield, where Yaya Toure can once again be dominant, and at 5/4, you have to be on them to do it again.