When two Premier League giants meet Monday at 3PM ET at Old Trafford, the cathedral of English football will shake. It is comparable to two U.S. cites such as New York and Boston times a factor of three. It is the Ultimate Rivalry Game. But why does this game loom even larger than the others?
For starters, this match will be Red Devils new manager, David Moyes, first major test as coach of a mega-club. United has won two game against bottom-feeders, but Monday’s game will be a real test. One goal could be the difference. Moyes will have to be on his toes. 75,000 earsplitting fans will expect nothing less.
This game also will feature a match within the match: centre-back John Terry of Chelsea and centre-back Rio Ferdinand for Manchester United. John Terry racially abused Anto Ferdinand, Rio’s brother, during a match. One can’t help but imagine that Rio is holding a grudge. We will find out how big that chip is when the teams take the pitch Monday evening in Manchester.
The last key element of this rivalry is the essential differences between the cities. Manchester, north of London, is a gritty industrial town. London is a giant, gleaming global city. It is not just the capital of England. It is one of the capitals of the world.
It would be foolish to predict who emerges Monday night with the victory. It would be even more foolish to think that this game is simply about points in the Premiership.