Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Pepped-up Blues see off Jose's Reds in north-western gunfight

By Billy Weir

Meanwhile in Manchester there was another derby that had been hyped even more and at one stage some players were even mentioned.

"So many ingredients, so many sub-plots, put it all together and you've got the biggest game in England and beyond," hinted Sky presenter Simon Thomas, but unless you'd just arrived in your spaceship from beyond, then you knew this one was about two men - Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.

So what better place to start in this battle of Manchester than in Munich with a Scouser and a Spaniard as Jamie Carragher travelled to meet former Liverpool team-mate Xabi Alonso, now at Bayern and who played under both bosses.

It was difficult to watch, a man struggling with the basics of English and very difficult to understand. But enough of Jamie, Alonso was great and very enlightening as, with the build-up over, we travelled back from Europe and headed west with commentator Martin 'and it's live' Tyler.

"It is a duel worthy of a good western, two big-shot managers, is Manchester big enough for both of them?" mused Sheriff Tyler, who was to be joined by able deputy Gary Neville for this clash of the 'immovable object against the irresistible force'.

Two flesh wounds were quickly landed on the Reds by the Blues as they raced into a 2-0 lead in no time and, for Deputy Nev, it was not ok at the United corral and he didn't miss and hit the wall.

"It's brilliant from Manchester City, Manchester United are like mannequins, dismantled, pulled apart. If there's one word to sum up this first-half it's authority, complete authority," he said, which is technically more than one word, but I'm not going near him in that mood.

"This is straight out of the Barcelona manual," added Tyler, as we all wondered was he still a waiter in a Torquay hotel, before United were literally handed a lifeline by new City keeper Claudio Bravo, who came out more like Juliet Bravo and handed Zlatan Ibrahimovic with some criminal goalkeeping.

"I wonder if Joe Hart is smiling in Turin?" asked a mischievous Neville, in a slightly better mood now, although despite chances galore there were to be no more goals at the end of a pulsating game.

Talk turned to penalties, or the lack of, after Bravo's four-footed challenge on Wayne Rooney. A Wayne hasn't been treated as badly since Sean Thornton was being clobbered in Connemara, but Graeme Souness, who had been a quiet man until that point, suddenly found his voice.

"He's caught him with six studs, that was a sending off even when I played," he said, and we believed him as he would typically show eight studs in the pre-match handshake.

But, after the handshakes and all the hype, it was time to get on our horses and mosey out of town. This derby duel was at an end, the Reds bloodied and the Blues over the moon.

Belfast Telegraph


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