- Venue: Etihad Stadium
- Saturday: December 7th, 17:30
- Referee: Anthony Taylor
It is normally the case that the Manchester Derby features two teams either competing for the Premier League title or with both challenging for a top-four position. For Manchester City, their aim of claiming a third successive title is facing serious problems given the current form of current leaders Liverpool, but it is a far different story for Manchester United. The Red Devils have been plagued by inconsistency this term especially on the road, but the 2-1 midweek defeat of Tottenham was encouraging as they moved ahead of their victims in the table. Can United now replicate their performance of April last year when winning at the Etihad?
Ahead of this home fixture with their city neighbours, Manchester City will have been boosted by a midweek 4-1 win at Burnley which followed a below-par effort at Newcastle where they could only draw 2-2. However, City have won their last three league matches at the Etihad which includes the 2-1 defeat of Chelsea, and an enterprising Wolves are the only team to win at the venue this term. The injury absence of Sergio Aguero will be a blow for Pep Guardiola, but Gabriel Jesus proved his worth in midweek by netting a brace, and despite no clean sheets registered since late October, City still possess much-attacking strength.
As for Manchester United, that 2-1 Wednesday evening victory was a second win in three league matches at Old Trafford but for moving closer to the top four Premier League positions, improving their away form is essential. A 3-1 triumph at Norwich is the only league victory earned on the road this season, and they failed to score a goal in losses at Newcastle, Bournemouth and West Ham. The Red Devils were also 2-0 adrift at Sheffield United recently before eventually earning a 3-3 draw, but those four opponents mentioned are unlikely to be challenging for the top six by May.
|24.04.19||Manchester United0:2Manchester City||EPL|
|11.11.18||Manchester City3:1Manchester United||EPL|
|07.04.18||Manchester City2:3Manchester United||EPL|
|10.12.17||Manchester United1:2Manchester City||EPL|
|27.04.17||Manchester City0:0Manchester United||EPL|
Aymeric Laporte (knee) and Leroy Sane (knee) are long term casualties at Manchester City while Sergio Aguero (thigh) is another expected absentee. Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee) is nearing a return to action but is unlikely to be available for this game.
Eric Bailly (knee), Timothy Fosu-Mensah (knee) and Diogo Dalot (groin) are sidelined at Manchester United. Anthony Martial incurred an unspecified injury on Sunday and is unlikely to feature whereas Nemanja Matic (groin), Marcos Rojo (leg muscle) and Paul Pogba (ankle) will also probably miss this fixture.
Although Manchester United have failed to find the net in three of their Premier League matches this season, there are signs of their form in front of goal improving. From mid-October onwards, three goals were netted at both Norwich and Sheffield United, and they have also scored at least twice in their last four league games. The Red Devils will also face an uncertain home defence but also an attack which consistently scores goals. Apart from the 2-0 home loss against Wolves, City have netted at least twice in each of their other league games at the Etihad this term, and so a good bet may be for Both Teams to Score priced at 4/5 with Bet365.
A second pick is for Manchester City to Win and Both Teams to Score offered at 13/8 by bet365. This selection is based on City winning their last four domestic matches on home soil and United proving inconsistent on their travels. The Red Devils have yet to face any of last season’s top five teams on the road yet have already lost three away games. Although both teams are currently proving reliable in front of goal, the winning mentality of the hosts on home soil may prove crucial.
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