Manchester United V Manchester City
Sunday 12th April. 4PM. Sky Sports 1
The headline event from this week’s Super Sunday offering is an absolutely massive Manchester derby and millions will be tuned in to watch these two titans battle it out at Old Trafford.
It might not be the title-decider of two to three years ago, but both Manchester United and Manchester City remain at the forefront of English football and this is one of the most mouth-watering fixtures of the entire sporting calendar.
Expect 90 minutes of passion-fuelled exhilaration.
Van Gaal Determined For First Derby Win
It has been a roller coaster maiden campaign for Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, but the Red Devils are now odds-on to secure a return to Champions League football after missing out on Europe for the first time in 23 years just 12 months ago under David Moyes.
Manchester United’s success has been largely based on their fantastic home form, where they’ve won an incredible 13 from 16 league outings. Meanwhile, the resurgence of skipper Wayne Rooney in his preferred attacking role has also increased the level of performance whilst the likes of Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera are also starting to fire on all cylinders.
The Red Devils have often found it difficult against the top sides, though, losing to Arsenal here in the FA Cup as well as suffering defeats to fellow top eight sides Southampton and Swansea. Fans will also remember November’s 1-0 loss at the Etihad. Whilst the overall feeling is positive, there certainly isn’t any time for complacency.
Van Gaal’s men have conceded just 11 times at Old Trafford. The battle between City’s misfiring attackers and United’s injury hit back-line, who are missing Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, could be key.
Pellegrini Fighting For Job
Monday’s disappointing loss at Selhurst Park has certainly turned up the heat on City boss Manuel Pellegrini and speculation over a summer departure has now reached top gear. If he’s lucky, the owners may forgive a trophy-less season. What we do know, however, is that the Blue half of Manchester simply cannot afford to miss out on Champions League football.
Winning at Old Trafford would pretty much secure a top four finish so there is far more than local bragging rights at stake. Fortunately for the visitors, a magnificent recent head-to-head record should counteract any fears derived from their recent form. Pellegrini has won all three of his Manchester derbies; overall, City enter Sunday’s showdown on the back of four consecutive triumphs.
There is a general consensus that City are struggling on the road but only leaders Chelsea have picked up more points and the experienced backbone of Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero will be eager to capitalise on any weaknesses shown by the hosts – especially in the final third as the Red Devils are without a number of players.
City’s chances have been dismissed by lots of people in the build up to this one but the champions still possess the talent to make their arch rivals pay. If they perform to their best then it could be a vital victory for Pellegrini’s men.
Manchester United V Manchester City Betting
If recent history has taught us anything it’s that anything can happen in a Manchester derby. That sentiment has been echoed to perfection as the bookmakers struggle to establish a clear favourite. Home side United are priced 6/5 with Bet365, whilst City are 15/8 and the draw is 23/10.
One of the main problems for City in recent weeks has been a lack of urgency in the final third but that shouldn’t be an issue at Old Trafford and we can expect a much better performance from the visitors.
This in turn, could allow Sergio Aguero to finally end his drought. The mercurial Argentinian hasn’t scored since the first-leg loss to Barcelona in February, but we’re backing him to get back amongst the goals here.
Sergio Aguero to score anytime @ 9/5 with Ladbrokes
Whilst the recent form would point towards the contrary, we also think this could be the day that City cement their position as a top four club. It has been a difficult few weeks for Pellegrini’s men but winning against their arch rivals would almost certainly guarantee Champions League football next term.
City have faced real scrutiny in recent weeks but this is their chance to respond to those criticisms and we think they’ll do so in fitting fashion.
HT:FT/ Manchester City/Manchester City @ 19/5 with BetVictor