Manchester City versus Manchester United; Pep Guardiola versus Jose Mourinho; fourth versus fifth in the race for a Champions League spot – this game has it all.
United travel to the Etihad Stadium tonight lying just one point below their cross-city rivals in the race for the final qualifying spot for Europe’s elite tournament.
They arrive with a few injury issues, missing leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, their most expensive player Paul Pogba and a number of defensive players. But they are in good form. The Red Devils are looking to equal a club record run of 24 league games without defeat. And they possess the Premier League’s best away record.
That said, City will be confident as they have won five of the last eight meetings between the two sides, even though they did lose the corresponding fixture last season. City have only lost one game at home out of 18 since that derby defeat last year.
City’s leading striker Sergio Aguero has scored in five successive Premier League appearances, and eight in the last 10 games versus United – but not in the last two.
With so much at stake, we expect a tight game with few scoring opportunities. It will likely take a touch of magic to open the visitor’s defence, and we look to Kevin de Bruyne to do so, thus winning the man of the match award.
Recommendation: De Bruyne to win man of the match at 7/1, Paddy Power
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