Premier League: Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019
While Leicester City and Liverpool continue to win games and streak away at the top of the table, the two Manchester clubs sit with City in third place on 32 points from 15 games and United in sixth with 21 points from their first 15 outings.
The season so far for City hasn’t exactly been a disaster, but the team are performing below the level that we are used to seeing from pep Guardiola’s bunch. Their last five games have shown how their form has been up and down, with the Citizens picking up 10 points from three wins, one draw, and one defeat over that span.
The Red Devils current form is even worse as pressure continues to slowly bubble away around club legend – but not necessarily Premier League level management material – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Solskjaer has led United to eight points from the last 15 possible, with a pair of wins and a pair of draws and a defeat in that mix.
Manchester City were dominant in their 4-1 defeat of Burnley in Lancashire in midweek and their squad will be bolstered by the return of Ilkay Gundogan for this match. Gundogan was suspended from the Burnley win, but his ban was just for one game and it is expected that he will slot straight back into the starting side against the cross-city rivals.
The return of Gundogan is big news given that City are again going to be without talismanic striker Sergio Aguero as he continues to recover from a thigh injury. Aguero will be on the sidelines alongside long-term absentees Leroy Sane and key centre-back Aymeric Laporte.
United’s biggest doubt for the game is French attacker Anthony Martial who is still recovering from a muscle injury he picked up against Aston Villa last weekend. The injury meant that Martial missed the midweek win over Spurs – perhaps the best result of Solskjaer’s Premier League reign and he faces a race against time to be fit for the 179th Manchester Derby.
If Martial is unable to play, look for Mason Greenwood to again be the player that the United boss turns to as a replacement. United are short on attacking options given the summer departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku and the lack of form of Jesse Lingard. Greenwood would form part of a pacy trio up top with Daniel James and the rejuvenated Marcus Rashford.
City are the heavy favourites in this match, which shows how little United are thought of at the current time as they go from match to match while looking like a shadow of their former selves. We think there will be goals in this one, with BetXchange offering a market on both teams to score and the home team to win that is tempting. Another bet we like is for Rashford to be a scorer for United, with BetXChange offering the young English forward at 2.47 to score at any time.