Oh what a night - Simpson’s Soapbox

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini shouts on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday April 14, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Norwich. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini shouts on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday April 14, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Norwich. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
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MANCHESTER City v United at the Etihad Stadium on April 30 and just another Manic Monday?

You bet!

It’s a match-up that will in all probability determine the destination of the Premier League title.

Manchester will have known little like it, and it will get the fanatics from both sides in a frenzy of excitement and loyalty.

The rest of us, who have the benefit of viewing proceedings from a neutral perspective, will more than likely suffer from backside pains after sitting on the fence, hedging bets on giving a forecast of the outcome.

The only certainty is that the scoreline will not be 6-1, as it was back in October at a stunned Old Trafford.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has already declared it to be the biggest derby he has ever known.

If City win, they will regain the lead in the title race on goal difference.

It will be the 163rd Manchester derby – and never have the stakes been higher.

When City lost at Arsenal, they had won just once in five games and appeared to have thrown away their championship hopes.

Since then, they have scored 12 times in securing maximum points from their last three games.

In contrast, United had collected 34 points from a possible 36 before they went to Wigan on April 11.

Defeat there, and this week’s remarkable 4-4 draw with Everton, has seen the initiative revert back to the blue half of the city.

Carlos Tevez’s partnership with Sergio Aguero has seemed to breathe fresh life into City.

Samir Nasri, a man who interested United before leaving Arsenal for City, has taken some of the burden off David Silva, whose form has dipped dramatically after much early-season excellence.

Yaya Toure is a big man for a big game, while Joe Hart is arguably the best keeper in the Premier League.

There were alarming gaps highlighted in the United side in the Everton draw – Rafael Da Silva has been dodgy, while Patrice Evra also looked vulnerable.

It could easily be a goal-fest, particularly if there is an early breakthrough from either side.

It will test the tactical acumen of both sets of coaches – Ferguson could continue to employ two specialist wide men, or flood the midfield knowing a draw would suit his team far better.

Midfield could be key.

There is not the slightest chance that United will rest Paul Scholes as they did against Wigan, to such self-defeating effect.

Whether City can nullify him, the man United persuaded out of retirement will go a long way to deciding the outcome.

If he slots into his usual groove, it could be crucial.

There are no end of possibilities.

The neutrals among us will hope that it ends up 4-3 – and it really doesn’t matter who wins!