Gameweek 16 of the Premier League serves up a massive showdown as the red and blue halves of Manchester come head to head at the Etihad on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s team, in pursuit of a third straight title, are heavy favourites to win. But United will try to derail their title train and get their own hopes of finishing in the top four back on track.
*Please note that this article was written prior to these sides’ gameweek 15 fixtures.
Man City 3/10
Man United 8/1
Manchester City will be confident of putting United to the sword on Saturday, having completed a league double over their city rivals last season. The Citizens will have their sights on catching Liverpool and claiming a third straight league title, and Guardiola knows his team can’t afford to drop anymore points.
The Etihad Stadium is one of the toughest places to go to in world football and City will fancy their chances of victory over their rivals. The defending champions will be seeking a fourth consecutive home win following victories against Aston Villa, Southampton and Chelsea.
Guardiola will have to rely on Gabriel Jesus to spearhead City’s attack with star striker Sergio Aguero ruled out for a few weeks with a thigh injury. The loss of Aguero is obviously a blow, but Jesus doesn’t have a problem when it comes to scoring goals.
The Brazil international will relish the opportunity to inflict misery on his rivals and with top assist provider Kevin De Bruyne behind him, along with the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva, his job will be made much easier.
The betting suggests City are a certainty to win, but the Red Devils will be out to defy the odds. For all United’s struggles this season, they’ve done quite well in the big games, beating Chelsea and Leicester and drawing with Arsenal and Liverpool. However, it’s important to note that all of those results came at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows his side will need a near perfect performance against the champions if they are to come away with a point, let alone three. Last season under Jose Mourinho, United were beaten 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
The Red Devils have struggled on the road this season, winning just once from seven matches, at lowly Norwich, with three defeats and three draws. That certainly doesn’t bode well, but Solskjaer will be hopeful his side will step up a gear.
United have had some good results on their visits to City in recent seasons. Prior to their 3-1 loss away to Guardiola’s side last campaign, the Red Devils were unbeaten in three trips to the Etihad, winning twice.
Man City: 4-3-3
Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Fernandinho, Mendy; Rodri, Silva, De Bruyne; Bernardo, Sterling, Jesus.
Man United: 4-3-3
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pereira, Pogba, Fred; Rashford, Martial, James.
Prediction: Manchester City (-1) Handicap (8/10)
City are a formidable force at home and given the level of talent at Guardiola’s disposal, I’m confident they’ll beat United quite comfortably. With little value on the home win, I suggest backing the Citizens on the (-1) Handicap at 8/10.
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