Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Prediction: Manchester City vs Manchester United

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 6 Dec 2019

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Verdict: Total goals over 3.5

Best odds: 5/4

Bookmaker: 888sport

The first Manchester Derby of the 2019/20 Premier League season will be played at the Etihad on Saturday evening, as defending champions City welcome their cross-town rivals United.

Manchester City

There has rarely been much to say that wouldn’t have been said in glowing tones when it comes to Manchester City and the football they play since Pep Guardiola took over in 2016. Having taken a season to adjust to the challenges of English football, the Catalan boss has led the team to two consecutive titles, both in an impressive manner.

However, this campaign hasn’t exactly been going that well from their perspective. They’ve had a few shocking defeats – away to Norwich City and at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, and they were unlucky not to beat Tottenham Hotspur at home. Some of the blame could be laid on injury woes, with several crucial players picking up various problems through the season.

Those results now mean they will enter the city derby from the third place, 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool, and three behind a very good Leicester City team. There is a long way to go yet, but they will certainly be hard pressed to defend their title again.

Team News

Guardiola hasn’t been able to count on Leroy Sane at all this season, ever since the winger picked up a knee problem in the Community Shield penalty triumph over Liverpool. Centre-back Aymeric Laporte is also out a long time with a knee injury and like Sane, he is not expected back before February. Striker Sergio Aguero will miss this game with a thigh problem.

Midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko, usually deployed at left-back, faces a late fitness test before a decision on his involvement is made.

Manchester United

If City haven’t exactly been having the season of their dreams, it probably goes even more for United. The results Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team has been getting seem rather strange. For example, they beat the likes of Chelsea, Leicester and most recently Spurs (all at home) following the appointment of their former boss Jose Mourinho at the North London club. On the other hand, they were defeated by Crystal Palace at home, by West Ham in London, by Newcastle on Tyneside, as well as by Bournemouth at the Vitality. They are the only team in the league so far to avoid defeat when facing Liverpool, but they also failed to beat Aston Villa at home or Southampton at St. Mary’s.

Though it appears Solskjaer still hasn’t managed to improve the team’s fortunes when compared to all three managers between him and the 26-year reign of Sir Alex Ferguson, the club’s hierarchy has recently once more reaffirmed their strong faith in the Norwegian being the right man for the job.

Team News

Solskjaer will be without defenders Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Diogo Dalot for the trip across town, as well as star midfielder Paul Pogba. All four players are close to returning to action but not quite yet ready.

Defender Marcos Rojo, midfielder Nemanja Matic and forward Anthony Martial are all doubts, facing late fitness tests ahead of the game.

Conclusion

Though United have shown a tendency to play much better against top opposition than against the rest this season, it’s hard to imagine them getting anything from this particular game. Their defence is known to make heavy mistakes, and against these City players, who can be like sharks when they smell blood, they don’t stand much chance.

If they concede early and are forced to open their game up, they could be in for a proper thrashing.

Verdict: Total goals over 3.5

Best odds: 5/4

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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