Sunday 10th December. 4:30PM. Sky Sports
On a day that also produces the Merseyside derby, the top two sides England renew their local rivalry at Old Trafford as Jose Mourinho and Pep Gurdiola lock horns once more in what is set to be the game of the season so far.
Will Manchester be red or blue come Sunday night? Whatever happens, it should be explosive from start to finish. Do not miss it.
Pogba Absence A Blow For Mourinho
While a return of 35 points from 15 games signals very strong form, the Red Devils will need to do better if they’re going to beat their local rivals to the title. A derby day win would work wonders as, in addition to cutting the gap to five points, it would show that the Citizens are beatable.
If Mourinho’s men are to fire a warning shot to their rivals, though, they’ll have to do it without their main man in the middle following a needless red card against Arsenal last week. In Pogba’s absence, the likes of Ander Herrera will need to step up.
United do face a long list of injuries too with Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, and Marouane Fellaini just three of the players set to miss out. However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return could give them an extra spark from the bench while a return of seven straight wins and just one goal conceded at Old Trafford should inspire confidence.
Even at home, Mourinho will want to stay compact at the back. But with key personnel missing, keeping City at bay won’t be easy.
Can Pep Keep Unbeaten League Run Going?
Guardiola’s Citizens may have suffered their first defeat of the season as a weakened side lost to Shakhtar Donetsk, but the first string has already produced some of the best football the English game has ever seen during the early parts of this season. A win against their rivals would underline their credentials for being the real deal, and they’ll certainly fancy their chances.
The visitors have dropped just two points from the first 15 matches, scoring an incredible 46 goals and conceding just 10 in the process. Given that Benjamin Mendy remains their only absence, Guardiola will make no excuses in the derby. Expectations will be set to win.
Huddersfield and West Ham both showed that even this City side isn’t perfect. Still, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jess, and David Silva all playing with supreme confidence, the Citizens could potentially blow any team out of the water with even 20 minutes of dominance.
This rivalry has taken on far greater importance for the neutral in recent years, and the managerial battle is just another ingredient. Given that the Premier League crown will almost certainly be heading to Manchester, this game will be a pivotal moment. Prepare yourselves for a classic.
Manchester United v Manchester City Betting
Even at Old Trafford, it’s Pep’s incredible Manchester City that are considered favourites with the bookies at 6/5 with Unibet while Manchester United are 27/11. The draw can be backed at 28/11.
As good as United have been, it could be easily argued that City win out in every area of the pitch should they play to their full potential. With basically a full week’s preparation following wholesale changes in midweek, the Citizens should be well up for this one.
We’re probably not going to see another 6-1, particularly as the visitors can probably settle for a point in they need to. However, they’re due a big performance after a couple of scares against lesser teams. Back them to win in style.
With City playing such scintillating football at times, it’s difficult to pick a stand out performer in their side. Nonetheless, De Bruyne has often been the man to produce the magic and, while better known for assists, he has scored big goals at big moments.
Can the brilliant Belgian do it again? At 43/10, it’s certainly worth a punt.