Manchester Derby Preview

English Premier League | Sunday 2 November | Etihad Stadium | 15:30




Super Sunday sees Manchester United travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on local rivals Manchester City in an enthralling clash. Manuel Pellegrini’s side managed the double over the Red Devils last season winning 4-1 at the Etihad and 3-0 at Old Trafford. However, past matches will mean little to both sets of fans who will once again be desperate for the bragging rights.  

To Win (90mins)
Man City 8/10
Draw 26/10
Man Utd 33/10

MANCHESTER CITY


Manchester City’s title charge suffered a crushing blow last weekend as Manuel Pellegrini’s men were stunned 2-1 by West Ham at Upton Park. The defeat has seen the Sky Blues slip to third place on the table, but are only six points off leaders Chelsea after Robin van Persie's stoppage time equaliser earned Manchester United a 1-1 draw against them last Sunday. 

Pellegrini will be hoping his side get back to winning ways when they host their arch-rivals in this highly anticipated fixture. Manchester City have enjoyed a good record against United in recent seasons, winning four of their last five meetings including three consecutive victories and will be hoping to build on their impressive head-to-head history. 

The Sky Blues are yet to find their rhythm this season and should they fail to pick up maximum points against their bitter rivals and Chelsea beat Queens Park Rangers as expected, the title race could be all but over. However, should City win, spirits will surely be lifted in the camp and they would have the momentum to challenge Chelsea. 

There are a few areas that need tinkering and one of them is the Chilean persisting in playing a 4-4-2 formation this season. Pellegrini can no longer afford to use a two striker system if it's not working. It didn't work against Roma, it didn't hold the lead against CSKA and it didn't get the desired result against West Ham. The time is long overdue for Pellegrini to put his pet 4-4-2 into cold storage. He can use it in Capital One Cup matches and the odd home game against lesser sides. 

Defence is also a key area that Pellegrini needs to address as the champions are conceding goals too cheaply. The Sky Blues have managed to keep just two clean sheets in nine matches showing their defensive frailties and against United’s lethal strike force, City will need to be more disciplined at the back, especially the panicky Eliaquim Mangala. 

After missing a gifted opportunity against West Ham, Aguero will be eager to test United’s rocky defence and get back to scoring ways. The Argentine has netted nine goals for City in nine appearances and will be hoping to enter double figures on Sunday.  

MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United rolled back the years last weekend with the kind of performance that Sir Alex Ferguson would have been proud of. United reaped the benefits of fighting till the end and as a result claimed a point they rightfully deserved. 

United’s improvement as a defensive unit against the best side in the Premier League so far this season was a sign of good things to come. The Red Devils have shown defensive weaknesses on a weekly basis this season as they adapt to Louis van Gaal's plans for the side. Injuries, also, have been a setback. Yet, despite once again changing his back four—on this occasion in the absence of Phil Jones—United looked as solid as they have at any time in the campaign. 

The draw with Chelsea will be a major confidence boost ahead of coming challenges and will help restore belief at the club. Van Gaal will know that there is still some work to do in defensive areas, but last weekend’s showing was a significant step in the right direction for the Red Devils. 

Wayne Rooney will return to the squad after serving his three match suspension while Radamel Falcao will be fit after missing out on last weekend’s action. The duo will boost United’s attack and with Van Persie looking close to his best, United have got themselves a real chance to get some revenge against their city rivals who have had the bragging rights in recent seasons. 

Angel Di Maria’s lightning pace on the wings coupled with some great crossing and goalscoring has been a breath of fresh air for United. The Argentine who was far from his usual best against Chelsea will be looking to make amends by inspiring the Red Devils’ to victory.

Betting Verdict: MAN UNITED 33/10
Manchester City are favourites at 8/10 while Manchester United are valued at 33/10. Manchester United players are starting to buy into Louis van Gaal’s demanding approach and showed encouraging signs against Chelsea. The Red Devils will be full of confidence following City’s 2-1 loss to West Ham last weekend and with Rooney and Falcao returning to the fold, I’m backing them to go to the Etihad and put in another impressive display. City are not easy to beat at home but United will fancy their chances and so do I.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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