When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >
Back Manchester City to win and both teams to score. Manchester United can find the back of the net here, but avoiding defeat will be tough.
🔥 Claimed by 161 people this week!
Great payment and customer support
Access to fantasy sports with one account
Bet $5, Get $150 + a No Sweat SGP
21+ | T&Cs apply
For the first time this season, Manchester United are heading into a competitive fixture having won three games on the bounce in all competitions. Stretching back to before the October international break, Erik ten Hag’s team has overcome Brentford, Sheffield United and Copenhagen.
That would suggest United appear to finally be getting things together after a poor start to the campaign. Dig a little deeper, though, and it is clear that the Red Devils still have a huge amount of work to do.
Witness how each of those three victories (over teams they would expect to beat) was by a one-goal margin. Two strikes in second-half stoppage time saw off Brentford. Sheffield United were undone by a wonderful finish from Diogo Dalot, hardly a likely goalscorer.
And against Copenhagen in the Champions League on Tuesday, United needed a last-gasp penalty save from Andre Onana to pick up all three points and keep their qualification hopes alive.
Of course, the ability to win games when you are not playing well is an asset. Better that than losing. Yet the worry is that United’s sub-par showings could catch up with them. They need to get better at both ends of the pitch if they are to achieve their objectives this term.
That set of objectives initially included getting closer to the Premier League title, but it is already difficult to imagine United doing that. Even a top-four finish could be beyond them - note that they are not among the four favorites with the best online sportsbooks.
For further evidence of how far United have to go, take a look at the expected goals table. United sit only 11th right now, lower even than relegation-threatened Everton. Ten Hag has plenty of work to do.
Manchester City lost back-to-back Premier League games prior to the pause for international soccer—a rare occurrence indeed. But the defending champions got back on track last weekend, beating Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
They followed that up with another triumph in midweek, as City saw off Young Boys 3-1. That result puts them on the brink of securing a place in the knockout phase already, which is a boost for Guardiola as early qualification would potentially allow him to rest and rotate in the final two matchdays.
For now, City’s full focus is on the derby. Assuming Tottenham Hotspur beat Crystal Palace on Friday, a win here would keep Guardiola’s team within two points of the top spot after 10 rounds of fixtures.
That is a decent position for them to be in. Of course, City would rather be at the summit of the standings. But their players will remember last season, when Arsenal led the way into the final few weeks, when they were overtaken by the eventual champions.
City are content to bide their time. No prizes are handed out for being at the top of the table in the fall. They have the experience and know how to time their run, although City’s rivals will be worried if and when they do move into first place, since they will be very hard to dislodge from there.
City have delivered several controlled performances this season. They have often held opponents at arm’s length when ahead, rather than run up the score. That is probably a deliberate tactic from Guardiola, who will be taking a long-term view as he seeks to manage a relatively small squad.
Manchester United’s record in this fixture in recent years is better than you might expect. The last eight clashes between the rivals in the Premier League have produced one tie, three City wins and four victories for the Red Devils.
That is one source of optimism for their supporters ahead of Sunday’s showdown, but City are rightly the favorites for this game. They have more quality in every area of the pitch and will not be fazed by the Old Trafford crowd.
However, there may well be goals at both ends. United have scored in each of their last four matches, and although they are still not firing on all cylinders in attack, they should give City one or two things to think about.
With all that in mind, the best bet for this weekend’s standout Premier League fixture is a Manchester City win and both teams to score.
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2023 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.
WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.