Manch­ester derby to be shown in bil­lion homes

Only four coun­tries will not broad­cast match Toure says City fire­power has scared ri­vals United

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By James Ducker and Luke Ed­wards

Sun­day’s Manch­ester derby is on course to be the most ex­pen­sive and, pos­si­bly, the most widely viewed Pre­mier League game in his­tory.

Manch­ester City have the chance to open up an 11-point lead over their near­est ri­vals United at the top of the ta­ble with a record­e­qualling 14th con­sec­u­tive league win in a game that will beamed into one bil­lion homes across 189 coun­tries.

There are only four UN reg­is­tered coun­tries where the game will not be broad­cast – North Korea, Cuba, Saint Kitts and Ne­vis and Moldova – and the match could yet chal­lenge the big­gest do­mes­tic live au­di­ence in the Pre­mier League era, when 4.081 mil­lion view­ers watched City beat United 1-0 in April 2012 en route to lift­ing their first ti­tle for 44 years. With the com­bined trans­fer value of the two teams’ start­ing XIS likely to top £650 mil­lion, the game is also ex­pected to be the most ex­pen­sive foot­ball has staged.

City suf­fered a first loss of the sea­son in their 2-1 Cham­pi­ons League de­feat by Shakhtar Donetsk in sub-zero tem­per­a­tures on Wed­nes­day night and only re­turned to Manch­ester yes­ter­day af­ter­noon af­ter a gru­elling fourday stay in Ukraine. But mid­fielder Yaya Toure be­lieves the de­feat will help to fo­cus minds at City af­ter a run of 20 suc­ces­sive vic­to­ries and is con­vinced United will be afraid of an at­tack which has plun­dered 62 goals in 23 matches.

United faced 33 shots against Arse­nal in their 3-1 win at the Emi­rates Sta­dium last Satur­day but Toure does not ex­pect Jose Mour­inho’s side – who at­tracted crit­i­cism for a per­ceived nega­tive ap­proach in the 0-0 draw against Liver­pool at An­field in Oc­to­ber – to be so open against City, in­stead seek­ing to get bod­ies be­hind the ball and break on the counter-at­tack.

“This game can give us a lift for the fu­ture,” the City mid­fielder said. “This year, I think, when you see United, they are go­ing to be wor­ried about us. That’s go­ing to make them very dan­ger­ous on the counter-at­tack and we have to be ready for that. Oth­er­wise, we will see the game they played against Arse­nal a few days ago, so we have to be care­ful. We don’t want to lose. We have to keep this kind of gap on United, be­cause now, when I see United play­ing games against big teams, they al­ways wait for a mistake to hit them on the counter-at­tack. It’s a huge game.

“The peo­ple around the club, when we start to win a lot of games, start to say a lot of things and it’s not good. Some of us could re­lax and drop our lev­els. So, if you have to choose a moment to lose, then this would be the right one.”

A huge se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion will be in place on Sun­day and fans are be­ing urged to ar­rive early, es­pe­cially as snow and freez­ing tem­per­a­tures are fore­cast and traf­fic is ex­pected to be heavy, with dis­rup­tion to the tram net­work and Christ­mas shop­pers flock­ing into Manch­ester.

Pep Guardi­ola, the City man­ager, is hop­ing Ser­gio Aguero can use the derby as a spring­board to re­dis­cover his best form. Aguero is likely to keep his place up front as Guardi­ola places his faith in the player’s ex­pe­ri­ence and for­mi­da­ble scor­ing record in the fix­ture.

The Ar­gen­tine has eight goals in 11 ap­pear­ances against United and is ex­pected to be pre­ferred to fel­low striker Gabriel Je­sus. But Guardi­ola har­bours some con­cern that Aguero’s in­ten­sity has dropped since he re­turned to ac­tion in late Oc­to­ber af­ter be­ing in­volved in a car crash in Am­s­ter­dam the pre­vi­ous month and wants to see more from the 29-year-old. Al­though Aguero has found the net five times in nine matches since the crash, four of those goals have come from the penalty spot.

City have some doubts over cap­tain Vin­cent Kom­pany, al­though he is likely to start against United. Kyle Walker, Ni­co­las Ota­mendi and David Silva are also ex­pected to play de­spite minor prob­lems.

Mean­while, the United man­ager, Jose Mour­inho, is likely to have de­fender Phil Jones and mid­fielder Marouane Fel­laini avail­able. Jones has missed United’s past six matches through in­jury but he has been train­ing this week and could even chal­lenge Vic­tor Lin­de­lof for a start­ing place. Fel­laini is more likely to be among the sub­sti­tutes with the Bel­gian still feel­ing some pain in his left knee.

United and City – who faced each other in Hous­ton in July in the first derby to be staged out­side the UK – could play each other again in the US next sum­mer. Both clubs are ex­pected to tour the coun­try again and there is un­der­stood to be an ap­petite on both sides for a derby.

Ti­tle am­bi­tions: Yaya Toure

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