The final league game before the next international break sees features an intriguing clash of polar opposites – Guardiola’s progressive, attack minded Manchester City against Mourinho’s defensive minded, substance-over-style poised Manchester United.
Manchester City v Manchester United Preview and Prediction
The defending champions’ form is once again imperious with 11 league matches unbeaten, 3 league wins in a row, 6 wins in a row in all competitions, and winning 10 of their last 11 in all competitions. Not to be dismissed, despite their difficult trip to Turin in the Champions League in midweek, Man United are unbeaten in 4 league matches, including a 3 match win streak in all competitions.
Fact of Interest:
- Man City haven’t won at home in the league against Man United since November 2014. The last three matches have featured two Man United wins either side of the goalless draw in April 2017.
- Man United were one of only two teams to beat Man City in last season’s record breaking league campaign, the other being Liverpool.
- Man United (league), Liverpool and Basel (both Champions League) were the only sides to beat Man City in a single match at the Etihad last season.
- Free scoring Manchester City’s goals are spread fairly evenly in matches, with a slight preference (52%) of their goals this season coming in the second half of matches.
- Nearly 60% of Man United’s goals this season have come in final 15 minutes before both halftime and fulltime of their matches. Their least prolific period is in the first 15 minutes of matches, representing just 5% of their goals.
- Southampton’s consolation goal in their 6-1 defeat to Man City was the first goal the Citizens conceded in 7 league matches.
- Conversely, Man United last kept a league clean sheet away to Burnley in September.
- Man City’s home record is perfect thus far, with 6 wins from 6, averaging 4 goals scored per home match.
- Sergio Aguero has scored 8 goals in 12 appearances against Man United, but hasn’t scored against them in his last 3 league matches.
- Raheem Sterling has never scored against Man United, having featured in 14 matches against them across his spells for Liverpool and Man City.
- Riyad Mahrez has never scored against Man United, having featured in 7 matches against them across his spells for Leicester and Man City.
- In Man City’s most recent matches against Man United, one of their midfielders have scored at least one of the goals in every match (Gundogan, Silva, De Bruyne).
- Romelu Lukaku has scored 5 goals in 14 appearances against Man City, but none have come while playing in a Man United shirt.
- Paul Pogba has scored 2 goals in 5 appearances against Man City, both coming in last seasons 3-2 away win at the Etihad.
- Anthony Martial has never scored against Man City.
- Pep Guardiola has faced Jose Mourinho 21 times, the most times he has faced any other manager in his career. The Spaniard has won 10 times against the Portuguese, but is yet to celebrate a win over Mourinho at the Etihad.
- Jose Mourinho has faced Pep Guardiola 21 times, the most times he has faced any other manager in his career. The Portuguese has won 5 times against the Spaniard, but Mourinho is yet to lose at the Etihad as Man United boss.
Match Facts & Summary
|Head to Head||Manchester City||Manchester United|
|Current League Record||Played 11, Won 9, Drawn 2||Played 11, Won 6, Lost 3|
|Current League Top Scorers||Aguero (7), Sterling (6)||Martial (5), Lukaku (4)|
|Last 10 Head to Head Matches||Man City 4 Wins, 2 Draws, Man United 4 Wins|
|Last 10 Head to Head Matches at Etihad||Man City 4 Wins, 2 Draws, Man United 4 Wins|
|Last Season’s Result||Man City 2-3 Man United|
|Odds of Interest (as at 7 Nov)||Manchester City||Manchester United|
|Odds – Result (Draw = 4.49)||0.36||8.03|
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Both sides enter the game after midweek Champions League commitments with Man City enjoying their 4th consecutive home match following matches against Fulham, Southampton and Shakhtar respectively. Man United come in on their 3rd consecutive away match having travelled to Juventus after their trip to Bournemouth.
Both teams are sustaining various injury concerns. Man City are without Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo. Man United are without Antonio Valencia, Diogo Dalot, and Marouane Fellaini, while Romelu Lukaku is still a doubt.
Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:
Jose Mourinho abandoned the 4231 applied against Juventus and Chelsea, and has since reverted back to the 433 configuration in the last three matches. The team is still struggling for form, though Frenchmen Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba have both produced good showings in recent matches to aid the Red Devils to their quietly improving record.
Against Man City of course, the issue will be containment and its unclear if Mourinho will be tempted to repeat his initial 4231 Chelsea and Juventus experiments. Assuming he instead retains the 433, the lineup should be fairly predictable; De Gea, Shaw, Lindelof, Smalling and Young are all expected to start again as they’ve done in the last few matches consecutively. In midfield, Pogba and Matic should keep their starting streak, with an tricky choice for Mourinho between Herrera and Fred for the final slot, though the Spaniard’s experiment is likely to get the nod. The frontline should feature yet another start for Martial and Alexis Sanchez, with Marcus Rashford being rotated back in following Jesse Lingard’s start in Turin.
Man City meanwhile continue to dominate the league in most respects. In addition to the most points, they lead the league in average possession (63%), shots per game (20), total goals scored (33), least goals conceded (4), goal difference (+29), and individual player assists (both Raheem Sterling and Benjamin Mendy with 5 each).
Despite having a wealth of options to rotate with, Guardiola isn’t expected to deviate from his template too much, especially given recent selections. Ederson, Mendy, Laporte, Stones and Walker are expected to stay untouched in defence. Midfield should feature the trio of Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva and David Silva who like the players behind them, have maintained consistent selection in the last few matches. Up front, despite some small recent rotation, Pep should revert to his in-form forward line of Sterling, Aguero and Mahrez.
Regardless of the injuries, Man City’s form has both stabilized and improved into some impressive levels. Even though the lead is only two points, the performances have been both reliable and effective reflections of their tactical approaches and sheer talent. Several clean sheets speak volumes to the team’s refined consistency in defence. In attack, the team has shown both efficacy and game control through solid wins like the 1-0 victory away to Spurs as well as ruthlessness and style (the 6 goal wins over Southampton and Shakhtar). Beating them in their current form feels impossible, let alone improbable.
That’s not to say Man United don’t have the stepping stones in place to cause the upset. Their defensive and strangling style has the capacity to frustrate the Man City creativity, and the record speaks volumes to this tendency, given that Guardiola and Man City haven’t won against the old enemy at home in some time.
But this ultimately may yet be a game of little sentiment and more substance. And most of the substance is with the hosts, their exciting attack minded football, and a midfield capable of playing through any constraining protection Man United arranges. The recent record at the Etihad is indeed favourable to Man United and Mourinho, but all records tend to either find themselves stopped or broken.
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Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.