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Has The Biggest Sheffield Derby In Years Just Got Smaller?

Tuesday 21st February 2012
The question I posed in the title is maybe a little miss leading. I consider every game we play against Sheffield Wednesday as the biggest in any given season. The intensity and the passion between the two sides are as big as any game in the world. So, is this the biggest derby in years? I have to say it's going to go a long way to deciding who will win automatic promotion from League 1. Going into the game, United have a five point cushion with two games in hand. For this reason I don't think that the game is as big as some in the local and national media will make out. If the gap was a point or so, with the chance for either side to jump above one another, then yes the game would be massive (oh no not the M word). With the gap that United have, it's taken a little bit of the pressure off them, and placed it firmly on the Owls who are going through their usual pre-derby bad form. This usually leads the casual United fan into a false sense of security and the game ends up being a lot closer than they think it's going to be. The pressure is firmly on the Owls to get the three points. They need to close the gap, and defeat would almost certainly mean they face the lottery of the play-offs.

United could affectively afford to lose it and still be in prime position to claim that converted 2nd place. That is very dangerous though, as the physiological advantage might be handed over to our blue and white neighbours. The Boxing Day massacre of 1979 is a stark reminder of what can happen if your closest rival beats you. United at the time were flying high top of the table, ironically in the old third division, and Wednesday were 4th when they beat United 4-0 that fateful day. The season imploded for United, and surged for Wednesday. The Owls ultimately finished 3rd and won promotion, while United faded into mid-table. These are two very different teams, playing in very different times, but you can't help but feel that defeat for either team on Sunday will lead to one or two bad results afterwards. Could history maybe repeat itself? Unlikely, but superstitious United fans won't want to think about what will happen if the Owls claim the three points next Sunday.

So, is this biggest derby in years, there all big if you ask me!
Matthew Wright

Total articles: 6

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