The Manchester Derby has served football fans some tantalizing and iconic moments in recent times. From Mario Balotelli’s “Why Always Me?” shirt reveal, to Robin Van Persie’s stunner of a freekick goal in a 3-2 win, it is evident the derby is never a dull affair. On the 7th of December, the two rivals lock horns again at the Etihad Stadium looking for who will take three points and perhaps, more importantly, bragging rights.
To say Manchester City have been disappointing this season would be an understatement. They haven’t been able to hit last season’s form, and have already lost thrice this season to Norwich, Wolves, and Liverpool. The champions find themselves 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool, and currently occupy third place. The Citizens have triumphed in three of their last four matches against the Red Devils, winning the last one at Old Trafford, thanks to two second-half goals from Bernado Silva and Leroy Sane.
The Citizens, however, have many players on the injured list, including the prolific striker Kun Aguero. In Gabriel Jesus, the team has a more than capable deputy. Jesus scored a brace against Burnley and should be high on confidence. Manchester City has won only two out of their last six matches, drawing three and losing one.
At some point this season, it almost felt as if “Ole at the Wheels” was heading for a catastrophic crash, but the Red Devils have done much to alleviate the pressure on the head coach. The team has performed substantially better in the last few games, and could be occupying the fifth or sixth spot on the table as they face the reigning champions. The team would also be buoyed by the win over a Mourinho-coached Tottenham at Old Trafford in their last match. Speaking of form, Manchester United have won three out of their last six matches. Having said that, the Red Devils’ away form has been dire, with their only win away from home this season taking place at Norwich.
Paul Pogba is still missing from Man United due to injury. It is most likely he will also miss this fixture. Martial also picked up an injury and could be left out too.
Having won mid-week against Spurs with a respectable and praiseworthy performance, it is very likely that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will field the same team that played Spurs, hoping to use the pace of Rashford and James on the counter. On the other side, Manchester City would definitely be without Aguero, Sane, and Laporte. The team news could look like this:
You can also expect Guardiola to throw in the odd curve-ball, perhaps choosing to initiate Sterling in a false-nine role with Mahrez starting on the flanks.
Manchester United will come into this match buoyed by their win over Tottenham, and will prove a stern test for a Manchester City team that has struggled to hit the consistency, form and fluidity of the past two seasons. Based on the aforementioned, we reckon Manchester United can pull off an upset or get a draw at the Etihad. For more betting tips take click here.
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