Hargreaves tipping fiery Manchester derby
By Football News
Owen Hargreaves believes there is still plenty at stake in the upcoming Manchester derby despite United enjoying a 15-point lead at the summit.
Defending champions City make the short trip to Old Trafford on Monday, knowing defeat would all but hand the title to their fierce rivals with seven games remaining.
Many pundits believe Monday's clash will be lacking the usual derby intensity and atmosphere after City manager Roberto Mancini conceded the club's Premier League defence was over following their 2-0 defeat to Everton last month.
But Hargreaves, who spent four injury-ravaged years at United and a season with City, insists there is never a dull match when the two sides meet in a Manchester derby.
"Every game's relevant," he said."You've got bragging rights, you've got people playing for jobs, you could argue, next season - players and potentially even coaches - so I think it's always going to be an exciting game.
"It's a Manchester derby, which is a pivotal fixture in the Barclays Premier League and the worldwide audience.
"And hopefully there'll be goals in it early on and it'll create quite a spectacle, because obviously, with United being 15 points clear has taken a tiny bit of sting out of the game."
The 32-year-old former England international believes United's 15-point advantage will be too big for City to overhaul.
"Well, there's a blue ribbon on it (the Premier League trophy) at the moment obviously at the moment with Man City winning it last season," said Hargreaves.
"But leading up to the Manchester derby - which is a massive game - I just think that United (are favourites).
"They're 15 points clear and I don't remember the last time that happened, especially with the league being as competitive as it is.
"It's United's without a doubt. If anything else were to change it would be a shock."
Hargreaves, who is without a club following his release from City at the end of last season, is now looking forward to the next stage of life and considering options in coaching or media, rather than prolonging his injury-hit playing career.
"I'd rather focus on chapter two rather than hang on to chapter one and play as long as I can until I can barely move," he said. "I don't think that's really that interesting.
"You've got a life to live after football - you're longer retired and not playing football, so I think it's important to realise there are other avenues and paths you can go down.
"Whether it be coaching or media, and all these things to give a little bit back to the game that has been so great to me, so I think I would rather do that than force myself to keep playing.
"I love the game and I miss the camaraderie and team-mates and coaching and competing, but change is inevitable for every football player.
"Every player is going to retire, probably everybody bar Ryan Giggs, so it's important to embrace that when it comes."