David Sadler column
CITY might be thinking they've caught United at the best time following that shocking and shattering FA Cup exit. But I am confident the Blues will discover in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg that it is the worst possible time to be facing Sir Alex Ferguson's side. Over the years, the Reds have proved very adept at bouncing back after a defeat. This season, though defeats have more often that we would like, the side have won the following match every time. The mood of both sides ahead of this cup derby opener couldn't be more contrasting. City are flying after the turmoil of Mark Hughes' exit and the appointment of Roberto Mancini. Battle Three wins under the Italian is a great response and they'll be relishing the battle with United. On the other hand we couldn't be facing them having suffered a more stunning result than Sunday's defeat against Leeds. United were poor, absolutely shocking and I am expecting a major response to that bruising setback. There has to be a vast improvement or else hopes of Wembley could be virtually over before City even come to Old Trafford. I don't expect the second leg to be a non-event however because I think this game on Wednesday night is perfect for United to get Sunday out of their system. I had gone into the New Year full of optimism after the 5-0 win against Wigan. Some of our football was exceptional and it promised much. But in truth, the Latics didn't put up any fight and, in marked contrast, the endeavour Leeds showed was excellent. We didn't match it and that has to be rectified at Eastlands because you can bet your life City will be smarting from that 4-3 league defeat at Old Trafford back in September. What do you think? Have your say.
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