Manchester City vs. Manchester United Preview
Louis Van Gaal passed his first big test as a Manchester United manager as the team played some of its best football of the season when a point was salvaged at home against Chelsea last week. Van Gaals’ countryman Robin Van Persie delivered the equalizing strike in overtime, and that’s now the second game in a row the Red Devils have managed to secure a point by making a last minute comeback.
Manchester City at the Etihad is an even trickier game than Chelsea at Old Trafford though. The hosts have showed some weakness this season however, coming off two consecutive losses as they came up short in a 2-1 defeat at West Ham last weekend followed up by getting knocked out of the Carling Cup by Newcastle at home. Quite surprising to say the least, as City was a -500 favorite coming into the game and were fielding most of their big shots from start such as Yaya Toure, David Silva and Edin Dzeko with Sergio Aguero coming off the bench.
Expect Aguero to back in the starting XI for this encounter though, and keep an eye on him and Manchester United’s own Argentinian Angel Di Maria as they are two players who can deliver the magic touches. Another player likely to have an impact is the United captain Wayne Rooney who is coming back from a suspension, and will walk in the team as Radamel Falcao has been ruled out due to an injury.
Manchester City have dominated their red neighbors over the past two seasons, winning three consecutive meetings by a combined 9-2 goal differential. This is a much improved United team though, especially in the midfield where Danny Blind is playing the deep midfielder role perfectly sitting in front of the back four breaking up play. He will most certainly have his hands full with Yaya Toure who is one of the very best players in the world of transporting the ball through the middle, almost unplayable at times.
If City’s midfield are allowed to deliver some decent balls to their strikers United are in big big trouble as we all know how deadly Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero are up top. The pair can create chances out of nothing, and United’s back four have conceded a bunch of nothing goals this season. David De Gea has saved his team numerous times already, and he could be the key if United are to get anything out of this game.
Last season Manchester City came into this meeting as a +135 favorite and proved to be well worth the price delivering a convincing 4-1 win. They are entering this derby as an even bigger favorite, paying only about -110. The price on a Manchester United win is roughly +333 while a draw pays out at +210. Goals are to be expected considering the offensive firepower available at both teams and the books have over 2.5 goals as a big favorite at -166.