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Manchester City v Manchester UnitedEPL Match Preview
The second instalment of the Manchester derby takes place on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City, who still have title aspirations, host Manchester United, who still have hopes of Champions League qualification next season.
LAST CHANCE FOR CITY TO GET BACK IN TITLE HUNT
Manchester City still have a slender chance of winning the Premier League title, but they must win on Sunday and hope results elsewhere go their way. A safe passage into the last eight of the Champions League in mid-week (where they will now face PSG) has surely made this the club’s priority for the season and last weekend’s performance in the 0-0 draw at Norwich, had all the hallmarks of a side who know that English football’s top prize is beyond them. Coach Manuel Pellegrini will relish the chance however, to finish off any hopes their cross-town rivals have of reaching the top-four, by beating them on Sunday and with his own side still not guaranteed a place at club football’s top-table next season, will need to stress to his players that they must stay focused domestically before he bids them farewell in two months’ time.
A DIFFERENT WEEK BUT THE SAME OLD WOES FOR VAN GAAL AND CO
It was unlikely Manchester United were going to turnaround a two-goal deficit against Liverpool in their Europa League second-leg tie, and after Phillipe Coutinho has cancelled out Anthony Martial’s penalty on the stroke of half-time, thoughts could begin to focus on Sunday’s trip across the city. The Red Devils must win if they are to have any realistic ambitions of finishing in the top-four at the end of the current campaign. Many observers would suggest that they don’t deserve to be in the Champions League next season after a turgid eight months at footballs biggest club. Yet despite all that, and Jose Mourinho still being clear favourite on the best football betting sites to replace him in the summer, the Dutchman still has a chance of silverware in the FA Cup and a board that seems hell-bent on giving him their full backing.
Manchester City have lost captain Vincent Kompany for another month due to a recurrence of his calf injury, whilst Kevin De Bruyne, Fabian Delph and Samir Nasri continue their respective recuperation. Spanish defender Nicolas Otamendi also remains doubtful for Sunday after picking up a knock in the first-half of Wednesday’s Champions League game.
The visitors are still without skipper Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw, Ashley Young and Phil Jones. Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera is also a doubt for the weekend. Despite only just breaking into the first-team, young striker Marcus Rashford looks set to lead the line once again. He’s priced at *4.00 on the betting exchanges to be an anytime scorer.
THE ETIHAD SQUADS
Manchester City (from) Hart, Clichy, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Silva, Fernandinho, Fernando, Sterling, Yaya Toure, Aguero, Caballero, Kolarov, Celina, Iheanacho, Manu Garcia, Alex Garcia, Demichelis
Manchester United (from) De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Romero, Riley, Blind, Carrick, Varela, Schneiderlin, Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Schweinsteiger, Lindgard, Rojo, Pereira, Love, McNair, Castro, Depay, Mata, Martial, Rashford
HEAD TO HEAD
Manchester City have won three of their last four Premier League games at home to United, the Red Devils last success coming back in 2012. Last season’s corresponding fixture saw a narrow win for the hosts, thanks to a goal from Sergio Aguero. Neutrals will be hoping for more goalmouth action on Sunday than in the first meeting between the two this season, which resulted in a dire 0-0 draw last October.
Manchester City 1.83 Draw 3.75 Manchester United 4.75
*odds courtesy of bet365
By: Steve Mitchell