What a difference a week makes. Last weekend’s draws are forgotten, usurped from the memory by both Manchester City and Manchester United’s midweek wins.
A win wasn’t enough for City to close the gap on the top two but stopped the 11-point gap to Liverpool from growing. I doubt that is even scant consolation for Pep Guardiola.
Across the City, the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eased with the 2 – 1 win over The Special One. Or as Peter Schmeichel put it, “until the next game he loses.”
All eyes are on City but United have their own battles. Up to sixth with the win over Tottenham, another three points would help them stay ahead in the Europa League mix.
But for a club of United’s stature, one that has won every club honour they can, it’s not good enough.
Nor for City and their motivation for three points carries a greater intensity!
Manchester City vs Manchester United Predictions
Rarely have the two participants of the Mancunian derby have been so far adrift in the title race at such an early stage of the season.
We’re heading to the halfway point of the 2019/20 Premier League season and there’s a relative certainty is not looking to Manchester for the destination of the trophy.
City are the more likely to spring one of the great surprise title wins. More likely because United are 22 points behind the league leaders. Even so, at eleven points behind even the hardiest Cityzen is finding it hard to believe in miracles.
However, Pep has his team playing sexy football once again. Burnley paid the price for City’s recent woes as they were overwhelmed at Turf Moor. Mixed in with the precise passing and exquisite Gabriel Jesus, was the brute force of Rodri. A stunning goal and as good as any of the other 42 City have scored in the league this campaign.
Guardiola’s team ended what was a mini-crisis by their standards. One win in five across all competitions? The only disastrous outcome is the Premier League and even that is retrievable, albeit extremely unlikely.
At home, it’s business as usual. Wolves threw in the obligatory shock win at the Etihad but it’s five wins and a draw otherwise.
While Virgil Van Dijk mocked concerns over Liverpool’s failure to keep clean sheets, City have no such worries. Three in seven at home with all games bar Wolves seeing over 2.5 goals. The last three each saw three goals.
Scoring goals is rarely an issue for Guardiola’s team. This season has seen them become even more durable, scoring 24 second-half goals with 11 coming in the final 15 minutes of matches.
United offer teams a different take on the problem, splitting their 23 goals almost equally between the halves. However, away from home, the Red Devils pose less threat; just eight goals in seven games.
The pattern becomes more troubling when six of those goals came in two games. Three times United have failed to score in an away Premier League fixture this season.
So far this season, United have fallen behind four times on the road, recovering to take just one point in the 3 – 3 draw at Sheffield United recently (D1, L3).
The defensive vulnerability shown by Solskjaer’s team that day is disconcerting; the Norwegian will be grateful that the derby requires a different level of intensity from his players. They were shockingly lax in the first half at Bramall Lane.
By sheer firepower alone, City ought to win this game. That and United’s vulnerability at the back away from home are the potent ingredients which leave our Manchester City vs Manchester United predictions looking at a home win.
Manchester City vs Manchester United Head to Head
History gives Manchester United a significant advantage in the previous 178 Mancunian derbies. The Red Devils have 73 wins while City won on 53 occasions with 52 drawn. In the Premier League era, United edge it 21 to 15 with 18 drawn.
It’s never been a game short of goals; United have 257 against City’s 245. Can they hit the five they need at the Etihad to reach 250 and more importantly, get their title chase back into gear?
Such is the contrary nature of this fixture – the form book may not be thrown out the window but it’s certainly propping the door open – that three of the last four Manchester derbies finished with the away side winning (City 2, United 1). At the Etihad, both sides have won four of the last ten with two drawn.
Last season saw City complete the Premier League double over United, including a comfortable 3 – 1 win in this corresponding fixture.
It’s not the first time the two sides have met on the 7th December. Back in 1895, City beat Newton Heath 2 – 1 at Hyde Road.
Manchester City Team News
No early Christmas presents for Pep. Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, he knew, were definitely missing. But it’s unlikely that Sergio Aguero is going to be fit to start.
Aleksandr Zinchenko is expected to be fit for a place on the bench.
Manchester United Team News
Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Diogo Dalot and Marcos Rojo are all out.
Nemanja Matic is close to fitness but needs a late fitness test to decide and Paul Pogba is in the same boat.
Manchester City vs Manchester United Betting Tips
Manchester City are clear favourites in the Novibet matchday odds at 7/20 with the draw 87/20 and Manchester United at 8/1.
City won comfortably at Turf Moor with Gabriel Jesus grabbing a sumptuous opening goal. The Brazilian is 18/5 to repeat that trick. Marcus Rashford, United’s midweek hero, is an astonishing 41/4 to break the deadlock at the Etihad.
Referee Anthony Taylor loves to brandish a yellow card or two. 105 so far this season with four red cards, all in 20 games. His last eight games all saw 5+ yellow cards with seven of the eight seeing 6+. In a local derby where the tinder needs a small spark, 5 yellow cards at 7/2 is worth looking at.