As Manchester City continue to dominate the Premier League table, a big game against Manchester United looms on the horizon. Pep Guardiola's side may be on an impressive roll right now, leading second-place United by 14 points in the table, but as far as the Manchester derby is concerned, sometimes history trumps form. Our very own Micah Richards remembers too well when the city was undoubtedly red.
"A lot of the new Man City fans and a lot of the new players don't know what it's like to be living in the shadows of Man United for so many years," says Richards, who came through the City academy, made 179 appearances for the club and was part of the Premier League title-winning squad back in 2011-2012. "So when we used to win [against] them, it used to mean so much more. It's always nice going into this game with a little bit of a cushion because you can go and play your football. Nevertheless, it's still a massive fixture and both teams will want to win."
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City, might be the dominant club now, but that wasn't always the case and Richards remembers how United, during the Alex Ferguson years, hardly gave City a thought. "From United's point of view, they always looked at us...I wouldn't say look down on us….but they always thought we were an easy ride," says Richards. "So over the years to see us competing with them, it's been difficult for them because of the size of Man United and the amount of trophies they won, but now it's a genuine contest for both sides, so I am looking forward to it."
Out of all the games Richards has been a part of, including his debut for England at the ripe age of 18 (the youngest Three Lions defender to be called up, passing United legend Rio Ferdinand) the Manchester derby is the one that really got him nervous. "This was the only game I used to get nervous for," says Richards, who is also a CBS Sports analyst as part of CBS Sports Champions League coverage on Paramount Plus. "I've said it so many times. I never really got nervous before games because I was always more excited to go out there and show people what I could do. But the derby games, I just got this little thing in my stomach - every time - it could be like a week before and I still get it. It's the one fixture you always look for, as soon as you get the fixture list - the United game - and I played a lot of my best games in the United game. I don't know if it was because I was more focused or just wanted to win."
Hopefully, for Richards and every City fan, that's exactly what will happen this Sunday but Manchester United have done recently well in this exact fixture. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side is looking for a third consecutive away victory (in all competitions) against the Cityzens, but the home side - unbeaten in 28 matches in all comps - could make another club record for games without defeat.
"In the form that Man City are in, I expect Man City to win, If I am being totally honest," says Richards, speaking on ¡Qué Golazo!, "The way they are creating spaces now, I think it would be a difficult team for Man United to break down....and it's always nice to win the derby."
Richards chats about a lot more on the show, including the genius of Kevin De Bruyne, his admiration for Jack Grealish (who Richards played with during his time with Aston Villa) and why, to him, Bayern Munich remain the favorite to win the Champions League.
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