Manchester City vs. Manchester United: Paul Scholes Is Key to United Success
While much of last week's focus was on the UEFA Champions League semifinals, the Barclays Premier League storms back with a Manchester Derby for the ages.
The defending league champions Manchester United travel to Eastlands today to take on rivals City in an epic showdown likely to decide the 2011-2012 Premier League title.
Who would have thought that the match's most important player would be a guy who was retired at the start of the season?
That's simply how important Paul Scholes is to the Red Devils of United.
The 37-year-old midfielder helped Sir Alex Ferguson's squad immensely upon his return to the pitch. City had put on an impressive scoring display early in the campaign, including a total 6-1 dismantling of United at Old Trafford.
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On January 8th, Scholes appeared in the United side for the first time and helped the Red Devils to a 3-2 win over City at the Etihad in FA Cup play—United has lost only one league game since his return.
Unfortunately they fell short in the Champions League, Europa League, Carling Cup and FA Cup, but with the help of Scholes, they can still defend their Premier League title.
We can expect a packed midfield today and Scholes' matchup with Yaya Toure could decide the outcome of the match. The two star midfielders will set the pace for their respective sides and how they handle their individual matchup will play a huge role in a who breaks through to the other side.
One thing we know for certain is that Scholes was far from done in this league despite his brief retirement. He's shown tremendous resiliency and controls this team with his phenomenal poise, leadership and vision.
Who Wins the Title?
The Red Devils can certainly get hot under the collar quickly, but with Scholesy around, Sir Alex knows he basically has a coach on the pitch. He'll lean on him today to help set the tempo offensively and act as the first line of defense when Toure starts making his runs.
If he can contain the Ivorian and United doesn't squander opportunities and stays calm, they'll have one hell of a chance to repeat as Premier League champions.
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