The Manchester derby is the headliner of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures. After another packed midweek schedule, attention turns to the third meeting of the season between Manchester City and Manchester United.
This is the sixth Manchester derby since the start of 2020. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has an impressive recent record against Pep Guardiola, winning three of their last six meetings. Premier League results have been poor of late for United, however, they come into this one as underdogs.
Man City have ended the prospect of a tense title race. Guardiola’s side has built a significant lead atop the Premier League standings. Their 14-point gap to second-placed Manchester United leaves City within touching distance of a third title in four seasons. Solskjaer, meanwhile, is looking over his shoulder with United’s top four status far from secure.
Leicester could have overtaken Manchester United by the time the Manchester derby kicks off. Liverpool might be breathing down their necks. Draws with Chelsea and Everton can be accepted, but dropping points to Crystal Palace and West Brom has held this Manchester United team back.
This isn’t ideal preparation for facing a Manchester City side that is breaking records. Guardiola’s team have won their last 21 in all competitions, and they haven’t dropped a Premier League point since mid-December.
City cruised to a 4-1 victory over Wolves on Tuesday. Just 24 hours later, Manchester United registered less than 0.6 expected goals against Crystal Palace. It would be an understatement to say these teams are in contrasting form ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday.
No Pogba, Martial Doubtful
Paul Pogba remains sidelined for the Manchester derby. His compatriot Anthony Martial is a doubt with a knee issue.
Guardiola has no such problems. With almost a full squad to choose from, Guardiola has been able to rotate frequently in this hectic period. John Stones and Raheem Sterling should return to the XI after a midweek rest. Phil Foden has been given a bit of a break – the England international is expected to start at the weekend.
There is a chasm between these two squads. That advantage is exaggerated by the absence of Pogba and potentially Martial, two of United’s true match-winners. Daniel James could start, and he’s a threat on the break, but he’s incomparable to the talent at Guardiola’s disposal all over the field.
Manchester City’s class shone through when the teams met in the League Cup earlier this year. The balance of power has shifted in Manchester over the last decade, and the Manchester derby is a checkpoint every few months to measure the gap between the two teams.
The last few weeks from both teams suggest this could be a one-sided affair once again.
Impact of Manchester derby defeat
The Manchester derby might not be a big moment in the title race as many neutrals had hoped a few weeks ago, but this is still a significant outing for both clubs. This is one of English football’s greatest rivalries.
Manchester United’s underwhelming recent Premier League scores will be almost forgotten with a victory. Being outclassed as they have been previously, though, will see questions asked of Solskjaer once again. The former super sub has done an okay job this season, but there’s still understandable scepticism of his managerial ability.
A Manchester derby defeat could pull Manchester United into the pack, and their top-four status will be far from secure. A positive result is more important for Solskjaer than it is for Guardiola on Sunday.
Man City vs Man United Prediction
It going to be tough for Man United to turn over Man City at home while they are on their streak. As you know derby days can bring a few surprises but with united missing some key players we have this as a Man City Win.
Man City vs Man United Odds and betting tips
Tipsters are forecasting a 2-1 win for Manchester City in this game. Previous results between the two teams stand at:-
City Wins: 15
United Wins: 23
Last Meeting: Man United 0-0 Man City (12/12/20)
See all the latest odds from our recommended bookies Here