The center of attention will without doubt be on Manchester this weekend as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho renew their rivalry in the Manchester Derby. Manchester City might be top of the table and doing the business in Europe, however United appear to have turned a corner and come into the game of the back of a confidence boosting win over Juventus midweek. Have a look at our betting preview to the game and take advantage of our enhanced odds for the game here.
Manchester City v Manchester United
Man City have shifted into another gear since the last international break, winning each of their five games across all competitions by an aggregate score of 17-1 prior to hosting Shakhtar. They could have even won some of these by a wider margin and what’s more they’ve been quick off the mark too. Not only did they net the opener on all five occasions within half an hour, but the first goal came as early as the 6th, 6th, 17th and 18th minutes in four of these. Even the exception saw them miss chances to establish the lead earlier as they utterly dominated in the 3-0 victory away in Shakhtar.
Man Utd have endured attacking problems with Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford all off the pace, though Anthony Martial has stepped up to the plate admirably and delivered five goals in four league outings. However, all but one of these came during the second period and that’s typically been United’s problem of late, with eight of their last 10 goals overall coming during the second half. Indeed, they’ve made the first concession in five of six matches where there was at least one goal prior to a trip to Turin. That includes goals as early as the 5th, 7th, 17th and 18th minutes, and so we fancy City to take an early lead at the Etihad.
Man City v Man United First Goalscorer Odds
While Sergio Aguero will get you goals against just about anybody, he’s particularly enjoyed derby day with eight in the 12 times he’s featured in this fixture across all competitions. That’s despite completing the full 90 minutes in just half of these games and only playing a minimum of 80 minutes in two thirds of them, with three of these appearances clocking in at under 20 minutes. He’s scored five times in his last seven appearances across all competitions, and though only two of these were the first of the game, four came within the opening 32 minutes while three were inside the first 17.
Man City v Man United Head-To-Head
United are the only team to beat City in their last 26 league matches (W21-D4-L1), and also the only side to beat Pep’s charges in their last 37 at the Etihad (W30-D6-L1). However, that win away at their rivals last term is just one of two Utd have managed on the road to ‘Big Six’ outfits since Mourinho pitched up in Manchester. The Red Devils are W2-D4-L5 over this period as they failed to find the net in seven of these and shipped at least two goals in six. By contrast, City are W10-D1-L2 against ‘Big Six’ sides since the start of last season, winning four from five on home turf.
Guardiola v Mourinho Head-To-Head
Guardiola also wins the head-to-head count between the two managers (W10-D6-L5). Some would argue that these fixtures were always in his favour with his exceptional Barca side featuring Xavi, Iniesta and Messi in harmony, while his City team has strengthened considerably each transfer window. However, when considering just over half of those were El Clasico fixtures, that’s still not too shabby a record for Mourinho, while the ‘Special One’ is W2-D3-L1 against Guardiola when his team have been the visitors since May 2011.
Guardiola and Mourinho both arrived in Manchester ahead of the 2016/17 season, facing off five times across all competitions since then as they’ve both won two, lost two and drawn the other. None of these games were settled by more than a single goal one way or the other, and you would sense that a point would suit both teams. Indeed, a defeat would send Man Utd reeling into crisis as the gap between themselves and the top four grows, let alone to gulf to the leaders. Meanwhile, a stalemate would be enough for City to retain their position at the head of the summit, no matter other results, owing to their superior goal difference. Given we expect City to take an early lead, Man City/Draw HT/FT is worth a small, but cheeky punt at the prices. However, for those looking at the straight match outcome, City are too short at 1.35 and the draw holds greater appeal.
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*odds subject to change.