The stage is all set for history to be created, as both the Manchester clubs face off against each other for the first time outside England, in a pre season friendly game at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in the capital Beijing, at 8 p.m. local time.
The game will also be special for both clubs as managers Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola face each other for the first time since the UEFA Super Cup at the start of the 2013-14 season, which Guardiola’s Bayern Munich won on penalties against a 10-man Chelsea, after requiring a last minute equalizer from Javi Martinez. “The best team clearly lost”, was what Mourinho had to say after the game. In 16 games head to head, Guardiola has won eight times, while Mourinho has only managed three wins.
With both the Manchester clubs looking to increase their fan following in the most populous country of the world, the game, although a friendly, is still an important one for both the sides. Manchester, which is renowned for its music and football all over the globe, is now beginning to find its feet in the Asian market, with an ever increasing fan base from South East Asian nations as well.
Questions had already been raised on whether the game should be played or not, owing to the massive rains that meant the final training session had to be switched, but the game will be played in the stadium originally built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Manchester United will look to have a better performance than what they presented against Borussia Dortmund last week, losing out 1-4, with new recruit Henrikh Mkhitaryan the only scorer for the team. The team will also miss the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin, as they are yet to return from vacation.
Manchester City will also hope to have an overseas winning record against arch rivals, although the game that matters shall be played in September, when the two teams face each other in the Premier League at Old Trafford.