Can Manchester United pull off an unlikely double against Manchester City?
Odds, preview and betting tips for this afternoon’s Manchester derby
There are still doubts surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s suitability as Manchester United manager.
But he’ll go a long way to silencing his critics – at least temporarily – if he can guide his side to a third win over rivals Manchester City in as many months.
United have won twice at the Etihad since December, in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, and today they welcome their neighbours to Old Trafford, where they’ve lost just once in the league since August.
Ostensibly, City have little to play for, with the title virtually in Liverpool’s hands and a top-four place all but guaranteed. But with bragging rights at stake, Pep Guardiola will be desperate to put a dent in United’s march towards Champions League qualification.
Manchester United v Manchester City Match Odds
Despite home advantage, United go into the clash as outsiders at 21/5, while City are expected to extend their winning run to six matches in all competitions at 8/13. But for those who can’t separate them the draw is going at 3/1.
Sergio Aguero has netted nine times against United and our traders have him at 5/6 to score anytime or 13/5 to open the scoring.
Meanwhile, the hosts have been revitalised by January signing Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese has scored in his last two Premier League games and he’s priced at 14/5 to bag again.
United were left shell-shocked when they were thrashed 6-1 in this fixture in 2011 and City are 125/1 to repeat that scoreline.
United have turned their season around despite losing Marcus Rashford to injury, with Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood chipping in with their share of goals.
Meanwhile, the emergence of Odion Ighalo will have given Solskjaer something to think about. The former Watford striker joined United on loan in January and he’ll be pushing for a start after following up his goal against Club Brugge with a brace in Thursday’s FA Cup win over Derby.
A decision must also be made about who plays in goal. David De Gea has had an uncharacteristically poor season, with his most recent mistake handing Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin a goal in his last outing.
There have been suggestions that Sergio Romero could be called upon. The Argentine has kept five clean sheets in his six appearances this season.
For City, Guardiola is sweating over the fitness of talisman Kevin De Bruyne. United will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a City side without the Belgian after he missed their midweek FA Cup win with a back problem.
They’ll also be without Aymeric Laporte, whose comeback from injury was short-lived after he was ruled out for a month with a hamstring problem. The Frenchman’s return coincided with three clean sheets in four games.
Despite trailing table-toppers Liverpool by 22 points, City won’t have completely ruled out a late title charge, particularly amid Jurgen Klopp’s side’s recent blip.
And with a game in hand to play, a win over United could prove pivotal in the season’s run-in.
Solskjaer’s side sit fifth in the table, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, but with Wolves, Tottenham and Sheffield United on their tail, completing the league double over their rivals would be a huge boost.
All odds and markets are correct as of date of publication