It will be the clash of the top two in the Premier League this weekend as leaders Manchester City host second-placed Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City will be aiming to take another major step closer towards lifting the Premier League title this season when they lock horns with neighbours Manchester United in the derby in match-week 27 on Sunday. The Citizens have already opened up a 14-point lead over the second-placed Red Devils and can further stretch it with a win.
Having had a dodgy start to the campaign, Manchester City have made a fine recovery and look primed to win the title while talks of a quadruple are also doing the rounds given their current form. Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s side have won each of their last 21 matches in all competitions, most recently beating Wolves 4-1 and will be intent on adding the scalp of their neighbours as well.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have seen their title challenge tail off in recent weeks, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side drawing four of their last five Premier League matches, the last two of those being goalless stalemates against Chelsea and Crystal Palace. However, the opportunity to break their local rivals’ streak should provide them with extra motivation ahead of the derby.
The reverse fixture played at Old Trafford had ended in a 0-0 draw while Manchester City beat Manchester United 2-0 in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup earlier this year.
Form Guide: Manchester City
We continue to ask the question: Can anyone stop Manchester City right now? Man City continued their staggering run of form with a 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday night, with Gabriel Jesus netting twice and Riyad Mahrez also registering in the latter stages of the contest.
Guardiola’s team have now been victorious in each of their last 21 matches in all competitions, including 15 in the Premier League, which has left them in a very comfortable position at the top of the division.
Mathematically, the title race is far from over, but Man City have a 14-point advantage over second-placed Man United and would take another huge step towards the trophy with a victory in the Manchester derby.
The Citizens have not actually lost in the league since November 21, while they have won every match since back-to-back draws in the middle of December, which included a 0-0 at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture.
Injuries have been a problem for a number of clubs this term but Man City currently have a fully-fit squad. Meaning that Guardiola will have the luxury of making wholesale changes if he wishes, while still selecting a side capable of beating any team on the planet.
Form Guide: Manchester United
Man United, meanwhile, will enter this weekend’s contest off the back of a disappointing goalless draw against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night; the Red Devils have managed to hold onto second position but are only five points clear of fifth-placed Everton, who have a game in hand on each of the top four.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have actually drawn each of their last three matches 0-0, while they have shared the points in four of their last five in England’s top flight, which has seen their title hopes evaporate.
Like Man City, the 20-time English champions will have their eyes elsewhere as they prepare to tackle AC Milan in a two-legged Europa League last-16 affair over the next couple of weeks. In addition to that, they face Leicester City in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on March 21.
The Red Devils simply cannot afford to let their league form drift, though, as a key period will see them take on Man City, West Ham United and Tottenham in three of their next four encounters.
How the Match Could Go
Don’t expect too much fireworks going into this game. If it was any other side but City, it’ll have been safe to expect another bore 0-0 draw. However, City’s attacking style of play could open up the game a bit in terms of goals and maybe provide United with a slim chance to stun their neighbors as well. However, if United take the same approach of their recent games, they’ll be destined to lose this one.
Tip: Manchester City to Win
We know the common saying ‘form goes out of the way in these kind of games’. The saying is true but it’s more than likely not going to happen this time around. How do you win games if you don’t score goals? That’s the curious case of Manchester United at the moment. Except they’ve suddenly found a solution to that, we expect City to win their rivals for the second time this year as well as ending their away record. Going with stats, the Citizens also have the best home form in the league this season, picking up 35 points from 14 matches. The Red Devils are more than capable of making it a difficult afternoon for Guardiola’s side, but we are struggling to back anything other than a home win here. Bet365 have 1.45 odds, 1xbet have 1.51 and Bet9ja have 1.52.
Both Teams to Score: NO
This is another bold call but the reason isn’t so far-fetched. Manchester United are struggling to score goals at the moment. Their last goal came against Real Sociedad in their first leg Europa League encounter, and it was a penalty. To go with, Manchester City’s defence has been the highlight of their winning streak so far. City have conceded just nine times at the Etihad Stadium in England’s top flight this term, with John Stones and Ruben Dias forming an impressive partnership in the middle of their defence. 1xbet have 1.85 odds, Bet365 have 1.90 and 1xbet have 1.92.
Over 1.5 Goals
Except the 1-0 victory over Arsenal, Manchester City have scored at least two goals alone in four out of their last five games, including 3-0 and 3-1 wins over Tottenham and Everton respectively and a recent 4-1 victory over Wolves. Regardless of how this game might be, we expect to see at least two goals after 90 minutes. Bet9ja and Bet365 have 1.22 odds while 1xbet have 1.23.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Manchester City)
The Brazilian has been in decent form of late, including a brace last time out against Wolves. He is expected to lead the line against Manchester City and his pace could cause problems for the United defence. Bet365 have 2.10 odds while Bet9ja have 2.65.
Sterling remains City’s top scorer in all competitions and continues to perform at consistent levels in recent games. He has not scored against United in a while and that could serve as extra motivation to see him get in on the goals against a fierce rival. Bet365 have 2.40 odds while Bet9ja have theirs at 2.75.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Manchester United)
Bruno Fernandes netted 60% of United’s competitive away goals in February. His 15 goals accounts for almost 30% of Manchester United’s total Premier League goals this season. Either from a set piece or a moment of brilliance, he is the likely man to produce the goods for Manchester United if they stand a chance at getting something from the game. There is immense value with the Portuguese as both Bet9ja and Bet365 have 4.00 odds for him to score.
With Martial out injured, Cavani is likely expected to lead the line for United. He has outdone expectations this season and a goal against City would see him get even more respect than he already has. You wouldn’t find many more experienced strikers than the Uruguayan and he’ll be eager to prove that today with a goal perhaps. For some reason, the bookies don’t see Manchester United scoring and the duo of Bet9ja and Bet365 once again have 4.00 odds for him to score.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.