Fri, Feb 11, 6:59am by Kevin Pitstock
There’s plenty at stake in this local derby to go with the parochial, but not unimportant, matter of local bragging rights. City sit five points behind their rivals in third place, having played a game more. Cut that down to two points and you can say a title race is certainly on. United have to try and re-assert themselves after their unbeaten start to the Premier League season was ended by bottom club Wolves. All in all, it makes for plenty of good ingredients to add to an already nicely boiling pot.
MANCHESTER UNITED PREVIEW
Home form has been the bedrock of United’s title challenge this season. They’ve won 12 from 13 home games so far, only dropping points to West Bromwich Albion – unlikely as that sounds. That was back in October, and they have been ahead before the break in their last nine home matches. Those are frightening stats, even for City. Injury worries over Rio Ferdinand don’t help though, Jonny Evans should be ready to deputise when required. They also edged the last home derby, that dramatic Carling Cup semi-final last year as they recovered from a first leg deficit. Their record against City is fair to middling, but even under Sven-Goran Eriksson, City gave them some trouble.
MANCHESTER CITY PREVIEW
City ended a slightly unhealthy run of three games without a win by cruising past West Bromwich Albion last weekend – a result that prompted the sacking of their manager Roberto di Matteo. That game doesn’t really give too much insight into the challenge they now face though. Carlos Tevez can expect a healthy volley of boos, but he insists that won’t bother him either. City drew 0-0 at Eastlands in the reverse fixture in what was a fairly dour fixture. The question is just how much Roberto Mancini will be prepared to let his side off the leash? His history in big games suggests an instinctively conservative approach.
MANCHESTER UNITED v MANCHESTER CITY BEST BET AND PREDICTION
With City like to come to be difficult to beat, the best bet here is the under 2.5 goals market at $1.75 with Sportingbet Australia – as for the match itself, a 1-0 United home win looks the most likely scoreline.
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