Back City to win the 171st Manchester derby on Sunday
City’s title hopes are looking all but over now, but a win against their arch rivals is crucial in order to keep them in the running for the top spot. They currently sit fourth in the league on 51 points, 12 behind leaders Leicester City, but with a game in hand. However, their recent form has been far below the level required for a Premier League title, with only two wins in their last nine outings in all competitions, and just one win in their last five in the league.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men managed to secure a Champions League quarter-final spot during the week after a 3-1 aggregate win over Dinamo Kiev, however Paris Saint German will prove difficult opposition after already knocking Chelsea out of the competition. The Citizens’ 0-0 draw with Kiev on Wednesday was their second successive stalemate after failing to find the net against struggling Norwich City last weekend, and they’ll need to improve on their finishing to break down the league’s second-best defence. With only three wins in their last seven home games, and more worryingly no wins against other sides in the top six all season, City will have to work hard to take all three points on Sunday, but I’m backing them to defeat a demoralised United side.
After a four-match winning streak towards the end of February looked to have put Manchester United’s season back on track, a run of four games without a win brought them right back down to reality. A 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in their Europa League first leg meant that a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Thursday wasn’t enough to see them through to the quarter-finals, with the FA Cup now their only chance of picking up silverware this season. Since the turn of the year the Red Devils have won just one of their ten league games, and currently sit sixth in the table on 47 points, four off their local rivals.
Despite an impressive 3-2 win over Arsenal three weeks ago, recent league defeats to West Brom and Sunderland have left Louis van Gaal’s side well off the pace in the Premier League, and they now require a strong run of games to stand a chance of securing Champions League football next season. A win over City would be the perfect start. However, United have only found the net three times in their last five games, and currently have the lowest number of goals scored out of all the teams in the top eight (37). Their recent performances have looked lethargic and have lacked desire, and I think they’ll find it difficult to get a result at the Etihad on Sunday.
United are unbeaten in their last two meetings with City, after holding their local rivals to a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture back in October. Prior to last season’s 4-2 win at Old Trafford, United had lost the previous four meetings. City have scored in 11 of the last 13 encounters, winning seven, and will be confident knowing that United have failed to win at the Etihad in the league since December 2012.
To score – Sergio Aguero 17/20
Manchester City’s talisman has had another fantastic season, despite suffering from numerous injuries, with 21 goals to his name in all competitions. The Argentine has seven career goals against Manchester United, including four in his last five appearances, and I would recommend backing this very likely bet with odds of 17/20.
Both teams to score – No 39/40
The number of goals can very unpredictable when it comes to this fixture, with 4-2 and 0-0 being the two most recent scorelines, but right now Manchester United don’t look as if they have enough bravery to push forward in search of goals, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pellegrini’s men hold on for a clean sheet. They’ve done so in three of the last four meetings. Back odds of 39/40 for NO.
Match odds – Manchester City 17/20
Manchester City are odds on favourites to win the tie priced at 17/20, and I would recommend backing Pellegrini’s men to take all three points. An away victory for United is priced at 18/5, and you can get odds of 11/4 for the draw.
Writer’s prediction: Manchester City 2 – 0 Manchester United
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.