Bet of the Day: City to win Manchester derbyPublished on: April 24, 2019Author: Antonia Kelly
At the best of times, the Manchester sides don’t really get along – while Liverpool and Everton have developed a reputation for the “friendly derby”, a short trip along the M62 brings you to a city where the local rivals share decidedly more sour relations. City fans claim that United aren’t a true Manchester club, and that there are more fans of their club in the city itself. Supporters of the Red Devils fire back that, until the “noisy neighbours” were bought out by oil billionaires, City fans were hard to find anywhere in the world – including in the club’s home city.
So even if little of note rested on tonight’s Manchester derby, there’s every chance it would be played in a febrile atmosphere. When you throw into the mix the fact that City can take a huge step towards retaining their league title – and all but end United’s hopes of Champions League qualification into the bargain – it becomes all the more certain that this game will be a heated battle. City are certainly the club in form, but complicating their title run-in would be plenty of incentive for the Old Trafford side to pull out the kind of performance that has been conspicuous by its absence recently. This is a huge game, however you look at it – so what’s in it for the bettor?
Goals galore under the Manchester sky?
Derby matches have a tendency to turn into attritional battles, often settled by one scrappy goal and remembered more for the disciplinary flashpoints than any exciting football that may be played. However, this truism doesn’t necessarily hold for Manchester derbies. The total goals scored in the last three league meetings between these sides is 12. Within the last decade, league derbies at Old Trafford alone have ended 4-2, 1-6, and 4-3.
Also, when these sides met during the title run-in last season, City ran out to a 2-0 lead in a game that could have guaranteed them the Premier League trophy. Keen to deny them the chance for ultimate bragging rights, a Mourinho-coached United side actually produced a stirring attacking performance in response, emerging with a 3-2 win. One thing we can predict with relative confidence is a high-scoring contest tonight. There are odds of 8/5 on offer from 888Sport that this game will see more than 3.5 goals scored. We would take those odds with both hands.
A passing fancy for City?
The list of names that have made Manchester City the best side in England currently is a long one, and the players on it depend on who you ask – but Sterling, Aguero, and Silvas (both Bernardo and David) would feature on most people’s shortlists. However, these are the men who are scoring goals, laying on assists and producing moments of skill that fit well into highlight reels. Anyone who watches their matches closely will recognise that City are a much better, and more productive, side when Fernandinho plays at the base of their midfield.
To beat Manchester City, you have to keep the ball off them; they have a tendency to get ragged when they can’t dictate play. Fundamental to their ability to dominate games is Fernandinho’s metronomic passing, and if they are to get the three points tonight he will be pivotal again. It’s well worth looking to Paddy Power, who have odds of 4/7 that the Brazilian will play more than 68.5 passes tonight. If his side are on their game, he’ll have reached that total by the hour mark.
Hard to see United halting the City charge
This week, Liverpool’s Leeds-born midfielder James Milner stated that, for one night only, he will become a Manchester United fan. The versatile Reds stalwart will break with the habits of a lifetime because, if United can prevent their local rivals from winning this game, Liverpool will have the advantage in the title race. Even a draw here for the underdog hosts could be enough to hand the Premier League to Liverpool – and you must spare a thought for the home fans who, while they really don’t want City to win the league, won’t be enthralled at the idea of handing it to Liverpool.
We’re going to go out on a limb and say they needn’t worry about that. At the heels of the hunt, we can only see this match ending in a win for the side that didn’t go to Everton and lose 4-0 at the weekend. United have lost their last two games, conceding seven goals in the process, and we don’t expect them to suddenly find their mojo here. While we think that they’ll grab a goal at some point across the 90 minutes, we’re going for City to win and both teams to score – 15/8 with Dafabet. James Milner will then need to become a fan of Burnley, Leicester and Brighton in the weeks to come, but we don’t think he’ll get what he wants tonight.
Bets of the Day
More than 3.5 goals (888sport, 8/5); Fernandinho to play more than 68.5 passes (Paddy Power, 4/7); City win and BTTS (Dafabet, 15/8)
Manchester United to score in both halves