Thursday, February 20, 2020

Prediction: Manchester City vs Manchester United

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions 29 Jan 2020

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Verdict: Manchester City -1 goal handicap

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

Picking up a 3-1 win at Old Trafford in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final a fortnight ago, Manchester City will look to finish the job when they welcome their bitter rivals to the Etihad on Wednesday night.

Manchester City

Starting with the hosts, while Manchester City might find themselves sat 16 points adrift of Liverpool and reclaiming their Premier League crown, Pep Guardiola’s men are enjoying another free-scoring run since opening the New Year. Bouncing back from their shock 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace earlier in the month, the former Barcelona boss saw his side hit Championship outfit Fulham for four in the FA Cup over the weekend. Simply with their sights set on extending their Champions League status this year, the Sky Blues are unbeaten in their last eight appearances, including a thumping 3-1 win at Old Trafford a fortnight ago. One man who has continued to shine of late and is enjoying an extended purple patch is the red-hot, Sergio Aguero. Bagging the winner at Bramall Lane last week, Guardiola’s attacking talisman has found the net in each of his last five matchups on the bounce, scoring eight goals on that run.

Team News

City’s main concern is over defender Aymeric Laporte, who returned from a long-term injury in their Premier League win at Sheffield United on 21 January.

Claudio Bravo is set to start in goal for the Blues, having played in all their domestic cup matches this season.

Manchester United

As for the visitors, while Manchester United may have managed to put six past League One scrappers Tranmere on Sunday afternoon, it does not cover what has been a worrying rut for the former champions. Booed off by what remained of the Old Trafford faithful after their shock 2-0 defeat at home against Burnley last week, the pressure is still firmly on Head Coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Now hit with back-to-back Premier League defeats against the Clarets and Liverpool, Manchester United have lost three of their last four matches against top-flight opposition and sit six points adrift of the top-four. With the mood in his camp remaining incredibly fragile, there is no doubt that Solskjaer will be most concerned by his side’s recent showings in the final third. Although they may have breezed past a Tranmere side sat 21st in the third-tier on Sunday, the Reds have failed to find the net in each of their last three Premier League defeats.

Team News

United will be missing several key players on Wednesday night, including forward Marcus Rashford and midfielder Scott McTominay.

Paul Pogba will also be absent at Etihad Stadium and fellow United midfielder Nemanja Matic is also doubtful after picking up a knock in Sunday’s 6-0 win over Tranmere.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides faced off at Old Trafford in the first-leg of their EFL Cup semi-final, Manchester City picked up a 3-1 victory.
  • Sergio Aguero has scored in his last five appearances on the bounce, bagging eight strikes on that run.
  • Manchester United have lost three of their last four matches against Premier League opposition.
  • The Reds have also failed to find the net in each of those three defeats.
  • City have scored at least a pair of goals in their last six matches at the Etihad.

Conclusion

On paper, it is hard to see anything other than a routine night for Pep Guardiola’s men. Putting in what was a rampant display in their 3-1 victory at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, City should be relishing United’s trip across Manchester on Wednesday night. With the mood in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s camp remaining incredibly fragile and continuing to show some rather glaring issues, we’re backing the midweek hosts to come out on top at the Etihad in convincing fashion.

Verdict: Manchester City -1 goal handicap

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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