The Manchester derby is the Premier League’s biggest game of the week. Man Utd will carry a 3-0 victory over Everton into Sunday afternoon’s encounter, while Man City were able to thrash Bournemouth 5-1. Both sides are fresh off important league victories and are fully aware of the title implications for this game.
Louis van Gaal made the smartest decision of the season thus far to stop playing with Wayne Rooney as a number 10. Instead, the Dutchman started forgotten man Ander Herrera, who made every effort to drop back and support Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger. This allowed for the Reds to outnumber Everton in central midfield and control the game.
Such a strategy could work again, given that Man City will likely use Fernandinho and the attack-minded Yaya Touré as the holding midfielders in their 4-2-3-1. Man Utd have to avoid giving away an early goal, as using three in midfield will enable them to gradually wear City down by holding on to the ball to make them run for it.
Man City are equipped to win in a blow-for-blow encounter. Although David Silva and Sergio Agüero are both absent to injury, Man City can now depend on the quality of summer signings Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne, both of whom have been excellent in recent weeks.
The optimum game-plan for Manuel Pellegrini would be for his side to go for the jugular and score an early goal, thus drawing the Reds out and enabling the Citizens to use their speed to exploit the space. Man City are much better than the team that lost 4-2 at Old Trafford last spring.
Tip one: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.80 with Betfair
Tip two: Draw or Man City @ 1.50 with Betfair
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Man City currently have a stronger first XI and have been in better form than Man Utd. After energy-sapping trips to Everton and CSKA Moscow, Man Utd could perform sluggishly when faced by City’s pacey attackers. There is solid value in backing draw or Man City at 1.50 with Betfair.