Football fans are counting down the days until Saturday, and not just because it brings an official end to the international break.
The Premier League returns, and it returns with a bang. It’s the big one, ladies and gents: Manchester United versus Manchester City, GiveMeSport reports.
Which, these days, is known as Jose versus Pep, of course.
Football’s biggest rivals will meet for the first time since both landed at England’s big two in the summer, rekindling a rivalry that stretches back to when they managed Barcelona and Real Madrid.
United and City have made perfect starts to the season and look ready to go head-to-head right until the death. Sergio Aguero’s suspension takes some of the shine off Saturday’s clash but it certainly won’t prevent millions around the world from tuning in.
A game of this magnitude will require diligent policing – more so than perhaps at any other English game besides United vs. Liverpool – and it is reported that 400 police officers will be on duty for the 12.30pm kick-off.
That is according to the Daily Mail, who also claim that each and every officer will be informed of Jose Mourinho’s rivalry with Pep Guardiola and how the feud could impact the their operation.
The biggest concern for police is fighting between both sets of fans after the match. In recent years, trouble has taken place around Greater Manchester’s pubs and bars, hence the reason extra officers will be deployed in the city centre and on the outskirts of Manchester.
A source told the Mail:
“There is no intelligence to suggest that there will be mass disorder. And while it does not necessarily affect the risk element, police are aware of the Jose Mourinho/Pep Guardiola rivalry and that the arrival of the new managers and their own rivalry could bring heightened tension.”
Ten players have been sent off in matches when Guardiola and Mourinho have come face to face, and who can forget when the Portuguese poked Tito Vilanova in the eye in 2011?
The odds on a sending off on Saturday must be pretty short.
Chief Inspector Dean Howard, who is Saturday’s match commander, said:
“This is arguably the biggest game of the season so far and no doubt will have the eyes of the world watching.”
“We have a lot of experience policing high-profile fixtures such as this and we work closely with officials and fan groups from both clubs.”
“The vast majority of supporters are law-abiding members of the public and we hope all those in attendance enjoy the game in a competitive but safe atmosphere, allowing Manchester to once again showcase its football.”