Champions Manchester City will host their arch-nemesis neighbours Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The first Manchester derby of the season is significant for both sides, and we expect a pulsating showdown. Both sides were involved in midweek Champions League action, and both registered important wins in their respective fixtures.
City scored six goals for their second-consecutive game as they thumped Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 at home. The win ensured that they will qualify into the next round as group winners. Last weekend, City had picked up a 6-1 home win against Southampton in Premier League.
The Citizens have made an almost-perfect start in their title defence, and they currently occupy the pole position with 29 points from their 11 games. They are unbeaten in the league so far, and they are scoring at the rate of three goals/game. Thus, they would be huge favourites against their neighbours, who are yet to hit the top gear this season.
United have picked up three consecutive wins in all competitions with the identical scoreline of 2-1. During the midweek, United registered a crucial 2-1 win at Juventus. However, the Red Devils were outplayed by Juventus for most of the game, and they benefitted from the Italians’ wastefulness in the game.
Pep Guardiola’s men wouldn’t be so forgiving, and United would need to raise their game by several notches if they hope to get something from the game. United have been defensively poor this season, and they have managed only one clean sheet in the league. City, who have scored at least two goals in their last seven home games in the league, would look to exploit United’s vulnerabilities at the back.
The Red Devils have picked up ten points from their last four league games and things are looking up for them. This run also includes a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Anthony Martial deserves a lot of credit for the upturn in United’s form. The French striker has scored five goals in his last four league appearances, and he would be the main threat for the Citizens on Sunday.
Over last four league meetings, City currently lead their opponents 2 to 1. However, the Citizens have failed to register a win in last three Manchester derbies at the Etihad Stadium.
Last season, both Manchester derbies in Premier League ended in away wins. United managed to win the corresponding fixture 2-3, but this game was late in the season and City had already secured the league title by then.
Manchester City Team News
Kevin de Bruyne would be a huge miss for the hosts. Sergio Aguero was rested against Donetsk, and he should return to the starting eleven.
Manchester United Team News
Romelu Lukaku could return from his injury, but it’s hard to see him in the starting eleven now. Diogo Dalot is certain to miss the short trip.
United might have picked up some decent results of late, but it’s hard to bet against City. We believe the Citizens will benefit from United’s brittle defence, and hence, we are backing:
City win – 1.43 with Smarkets
Over 2.5 goals – 1.51 with Smarkets
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