Will the Manchester Derby decide the title race?

Last updated: December 7, 2017 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 16:30
Venue: Old Trafford
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Team Form: LWWWW
Away Team Form: WWWWW
Last Meeting: Man City 0 – 0 Man U
Competition: Premier League

The world turns to Manchester this weekend for a make-or-break game at the top of the league. Can United slow down City, or is the season already over? The competitive days of Chelsea winning by ‘only’ seven points or Leicester somehow surprising everyone seem a distant memory. We said last week that Manchester United had to win against Arsenal – now they face their biggest test against a side that other teams seem to just give up against. They really have to win this one.

City’s game against West Ham last weekend was a case in point. The Hammers did very well to get an early goal just before half time, but after that they decided to stop playing and merely waited to lose. The exact thing happened with Southampton the week before and Huddersfield before that. Manchester United have to do better than the Hammers, Southampton and Huddersfield and take the match to City. This will require everyone to be on top of their game. Lukaku, who has forgotten where the goal is, needs to be sharper and stronger in the top half of the field. Likewise, Young has to carry on with his recent resurgence of form. De Gea’s form will be crucial. After equalling a Premier League record with a whopping 14 saves against Arsenal last weekend, he can be the difference between 1-0 and 1-1. Now is the time to prove he is the best goalkeeper in the world.

Man City have created their own myth over their absurd 13 game winning streak, but as we have stated before, they aren’t completely infallible. They may have won the most games, but they don’t have the best defence, with 10 goals conceded in comparison to United’s 9. Additionally, they have conceded in their past three games alone; if anyone can get ahead and defend their lead, it has to be United. Otherwise we may as well be in Scotland.

Team News

Pogba will not be playing at this game, after picking up a red card whilst playing against Arsenal.

Manchester United can create a new club record of 41 games unbeaten at home in all competitions if they don’t lose here.

Thierry Henry has been particularly impressed with Agüero, recently stating that he has been underrated: “We keep forgetting about him sometimes. I don’t understand why he never won player of the season.”

Mancunian hero Noel Gallagher will join Neville and Carragher on Sky Sports to provide the analysis of this weekend’s game.

Expected Line-Ups:

Man United (4-3-3): de Gea; A Valencia, Lindelöf, Smalling, Young; Pogba, Matic, Mata; Rashford, Ibrahimović, Lukaku
Subs: Rojo, Rashford, Romero, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, McTominay
Injured: Bailly, Carrick
Doubtful: Fellaini
Not available: Pogba
Man City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Subs: Bravo, Danilo, Gündogan, Mangala, Jesus, Touré, Zinchenko
Injured: Stones, Mendy
Doubtful: Silva
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Manchester United So Far This Season Manchester City So Far This Season
2nd League Position 1st
11 (4) Wins (away) 14 (7)
4 – 0 vs. Crystal Palace Biggest Win 6 – 0 vs. Watford
2 (2) Draws (away) 1 (0)
2 – 1 vs Huddersfield Biggest Defeat
Lukaku (8) Top Goal Scorer Agüero (9)
Y21, R1 Discipline Y27, R2
2 Failures to Score 0
9 Clean Sheets 7
33% Both Teams to Score Games 53%
60% Over 2.5 Goals 73%
40% Under 2.5 Goals 27%
  • Both teams feature in games over 2.5 goals a joint 67% of the time, making it highly likely we will see a goalfest this weekend.
  • Remarkably, City haven’t failed to score all season. One doubts this game will be any different.
  • Agüero (9) and Lukaku (8) are vying for the top goal scorer spot, but have some chasing to do. Mohamed Salah is on 12.
  • Both teams feature in games over 2.5 goals a joint 67% of the time, making it highly likely we will see a goalfest this weekend.

Head to Head

Last Five Competitive Meetings Between The Sides
Date Game Result Round First Goal-scorer
27/04/2017 Manchester City 0 – 0 Manchester United Premier League
26/10/2016 Manchester United 1 – 0 Manchester City League Cup Mata 54′
10/09/2016 Manchester United 1 – 2 Manchester City Premier League De Bruyne 15′
20/03/2016 Manchester City 0 – 1 Manchester United Premier League Rashford 16′
25/10/2015 Manchester United 0 – 0 Manchester City Premier League

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Despite being away from home (although hardly a long journey!) Manchester City are the favourites to win this game at odds of 21/20 at William Hill. Manchester United, on the other hand, are very decently poised for an outright bet of 12/5. Given Manchester City’s recent run of form it does make a lot of sense to bet on them to win, but United’s home form speaks for itself. Based on how tight the game will be and recent past results, we highly fancy under 2.5 goals.