Pep’s Manchester City face Erik ten Hag and his revitalised Manchester United this Sunday; a lot is at stake for both sides. It should be a great spectacle; the Red Devils have recovered well, beating Liverpool and Arsenal after their horrible start to the season, and City are still unbeaten and just one point off Arsenal at the top of the standings.
The scene is set for a blockbuster event. Will Erling Haaland and his sky blues throw a spanner in the works for Erik ten Hag, or will United again have what it takes to rise to the occasion?
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Premier League form: W – D – W – W – D
The reigning Champions always make for an ominous sight whenever a team goes up against them, and that is a credit to the players and coaching staff who made Manchester City a feared team in the country, and some might say even the world. Recruitment over the summer made them an even more formidable team, adding Erling Haaland, Alvarez and Akanji to their ranks which would strengthen any team in the world. Haaland started off the season in fine form, but lately, he just can’t stop scoring – 11 goals already, elapsing the record Kun Aguero had with the same City. We are pricing the big Norwegian to score anytime during his first Manchester Derby at 7/15 (1.47)
The two games in which the Sky Blues failed to win were against Newcastle and, more recently, Aston Villa. Up against the Magpies, it was an iconic Premier League game with a lot of attacking from both sides, but the defence lacked conviction. Against Aston Villa, Gerrard’s side accepted that they are not going to compete and try and win possession and elected to sit deep, absorb the pressure and hit on the counterattack and try to sustain this pressure. Now that is not the only way to get a result against City, but as we have seen in previous results, Manchester United are well equipped to do just that.
Looking back at the previous season’s results at the Etihad, City secured a convincing win of 4-1, dominating the second half. Back then, things at United were a bit more erratic, with not much stability within the camp, in terms of players and manager.
With the odds stacked heavily in favour of Manchester City, some complacency could potentially set in, but surely Pep Guardiola will push his side to give it their all in order to keep up with Arsenal.
Injuries and/or suspensions:
John Stones – Tight Injury
Aymeric Laporte – Knee Injury (Could be available for selection for the Derby)
Kalvin Phillips – Shoulder Injury
Premier League form: W – W – W – W – L
Confidence in the United camp is improving after a string of great results and holding on to a couple of clean sheets in the process. Facing their rivals City will be the biggest challenge to this young team, and should they get something out of this game, it would be a testament to the impact of new coach Ten Hag and also the new signings brought in. A correct score result of 1-1 is priced at 9/1 (10.00).
The coaching staff at Manchester United have had a lot of time to prepare for this game as the games against Leeds and Crystal Palace were postponed. The last game played was at Old Trafford on the 4th of September, which will be almost a month from the date of the City game.
The big wins against Arsenal and Liverpool were just what United wanted to get their confidence levels up again after the defeats to Brentford and Brighton, which brought back the sinking feeling that was present in the closing stages of last season. Changes made by the manager, dropping both Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo, were vindicated, as results were positive after these changes. Martial, who is still doubtful for the game, might be an essential factor this Sunday, as well as Marcus Rashford, who will provide that extra pace up top.
Some very interesting battles might emerge on the field with Erling Haaland against Lisandro Martinez; as good as he had played in previous games, the Argentinian will need to have one of the games of his life if he is to keep Haaland away from goal. Another interesting battle will be Malacia up against Foden; Malacia has impressed since his debut and has already cemented his position as the starting left back; this will be his biggest challenge since.
Injuries and/or suspensions:
Anthony Martial – Calf/Shin/Heel injury
Harry Maguire – Tight Injury
Martin Dubravka – Muscular Injury
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing