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So it is nearly time for the two new BFFs to face off against each other in a Manchester derby unlike any other.

This is the first time the game will be played, not only outside of Manchester, but also, outside of the UK.

A Portuguese coach will square up his team of Spanish, Armenian, French, Italian, Belgian, Argentinian, Swedish, Portuguese, Dutch, Ivory Coast and English players against a Spanish coach and his team of Brazilian, Argentinian, Spanish, Belgian, Ivory Coast, Ukrainian, Turkish, German, French and English players, in the USA! USA! USA! That, folks, is the Manchester derby nowadays.

A truly international derby and, although unconventional, quite fitting that it should be played in America to an international audience, despite the fact that it is, after all, only a friendly.

Of course there was an attempt to play this game in China last year but, as Liverpool, Leicester City, West Brom and Crystal Palace are discovering, the weather over there can be somewhat unreliable as it proved by absolutely chucking it down rather than staying clement so that the derby could go ahead.

Now the complaints from José Mourinho are not about the weather but the transfer fees being asked by clubs who don’t want to sell their players!

So what can we expect from the game? It probably won’t be much different to all the derbies which have gone before. It will likely lack the intensity of a truly competitive match and, if previous derbies are anything to go by, which they usually are, it could very well be a boring 0-0 draw.

This result, however, is less likely in this particular game as there will be players with a point to prove, players who want to break into the first team and players just hoping to catch the eye of their manager.

As is now the case in friendlies there will be many substitutions as the managers try to give game time to as many players as possible in an attempt to bring them up to match fitness in time for when the real football starts in August.

For Manchester City fans, providing the British ones can stomach watching the game on MUTV, it will be a chance to see their new signings in action for the first time. Ederson, Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker should all get on the pitch at some stage of the game and we may get an inkling into the way Guardiola intends to deploy them in the new season.

United fans will now be used to either getting up early or staying up late, having already seen their team play LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, but this is one that none of them will want to miss. After decent performances in the previous two games United will be looking to follow this up with a morale boosting victory over City.

The game will also see the two teams wearing shirts with the Manchester bee symbol stitched into them. The bee is a permanent symbol of Manchester, so why can it not be a permanent fixture on the shirts?

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Whatever the result, the two new BFFs will surely enjoy a glass of wine after the game while the rest of us go to bed, or back to bed, whichever the case may be.

 

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