EPL: Manchester City v Manchester United Preview


Our football scribe previews Thursday night's Manchester Derby, which is being played at the Etihad Stadium.

It is very hard to imagine a more critical Manchester derby in recent memory. Both of these huge clubs are gunning for a Champions League spot and a defeat for either club will be a huge blow to their respective European ambitions. Pep Guardiola will experience the bitter pain of a trophy-less season this year. With all the intense scrutiny levelled at their FA Cup conquerors Arsenal, what would it mean if City were to slip outside the top four? One shudders to think of that prospect.   United barely scrapped past Anderlecht in a Europa League quarterfinal that tested every inch of their resolve. An injury crisis beckons as Mourinho attempts to invade Europe on multiple fronts.

Manchester City v Manchester United | The Etihad Stadium | Thursday 27 April | 21:00

To Win (90 Mins)
Man City 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Man United 3/1 

Manchester City
Guardiola was clearly trying to send a message to their owners on Sunday by starting Jesus Navas at right wingback. There is an urgent need to reinforce this side, with Pablo Zabaleta essentially ignored. I think prudence may get the best of Guardiola this week as Zabaleta is likely to be drafted into the side. There were also a number of injury scares for the Citizens on Sunday. Sergio Aguero walked off very gingerly and is unlikely to feature in the starting line-up this week. Iheanacho will likely come in while doubts remain over David Silva and Fernandinho.

My guess is that the combative Fernandinho will shake off any injury and feature, while Yaya Toure enjoys what is surely set to be the closing salvo of a decorated career at the club.

I have concerns over this City side. They have the attacking virtues of De Bruyne and Sane, etc, but there seems to be a slight big-game naivety to this side this year. As if Guardiola’s steadfast attacking principles perhaps don’t correlate as well with the tools at his disposal. John Stones will make a welcome return to the starting line-up and will have a tough afternoon ahead, containing the speed and power of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

Manchester United
Victory at Burnley - impressive as it was - has come at a huge cost for a United side deeply embroiled in both domestic and European action. Marcos Rojo will miss the rest of the season, which has seen Mourinho come out and implore Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to find ways to play through the pain. Paul Pogba also seems to have done a hamstring and is unlikely to feature. This is compounded by the loss of Zlatan for the entirety of the season.This may come as something of a surprise considering the season he has had, but Zlatan’s injury may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the club.

Yes, the iconic Swede has been totemic for the club and has been responsible for a huge amount of their goals. But perhaps he has also been a factor in the general lack of penetration throughout the side. With Zlatan in the side, everything is slower and more deliberate. Defences have time to adjust and the side seems to flagrantly flaunt their dependency on Zlatan. Martial, Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan give the side that dynamism that is necessary to break any side down.

Verdict: Both Teams to Score 7/10
This one almost seems impossible to call. But one thing’s for sure, neither one of these sides are at their best defensively. City have conceded goals liberally the entire season while United’s injury woes should make them vulnerable this week.

Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets

Bet on this match now at Hollywoodbets.net! Haven’t got an account? Open one here!