Ole’s at the wheel but for how much longer?
The first Manchester Derby of the season this Saturday may provide us with the answer to the big question. Following a group stage exit from the Champions League in midweek, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is very much fighting for his job. Many feel he just isn’t up to the job (including this disheartened Red) and based on the evidence so far this season, it’s hard to dispute.
United for the most part play without any real shape, style or purpose – tactics are either sit deep and counter with their pace or give the ball to Bruno Fernandes and hope he can create something. This side looks lost and very badly coached.
A quick glance at the current league standings would suggest that both Manchester clubs have made a relatively good start to this campaign. One point separates the sides in sixth and seventh with both holding a game in hand which would put them within touching distance of top spot.
Saturday, 5.30pm: Manchester United v Manchester City
Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League
Further inspection, however, suggests the table is lying. Since losing to Arsenal at the start of November, United have won four on the bounce in the Premier League. Comebacks against West Ham and Southampton were results of individual brilliance and only served to paper over some worrying cracks. A desperate 1-0 win over West Brom in their last home outing was one of the worst performances in years, again highlighting the lack of direction in the side.
City also find themselves in mixed form. They made wholesale changes midweek and strolled to a 3-0 win over Marseille to finish top of their Champions League group. Domestically their last two outings have between routine home victories over Fulham and Burnley but in their most recent away outing they fell victim to a Jose Mourinho masterclass of old at Tottenham.
Pep Guardiola’s side have been a shadow of their former selves so far. While they have improved significantly at the back with the arrival of Ruben Dias, City seem incapable of the fearsome high press which they have become so reliant on. Without the relentless hustle to get the ball back we’ve become accustomed to in recent years, City seem too stale and sideways in possession, making it easy for opposing defences to sit in deep and nullify any threat.
Saturday night’s top tips:
- 9/1 Richarlison the creator in Everton and Chelsea goal-fest
- Our tasty 10/1 Same Game Multi for Saturday night’s Madrid derby
Looking at the betting, I’m not sure I trust either side enough to back here.
It should come as no surprise that United will look to sit deep and hit City on the break. They will look to Tottenham’s recent 2-0 victory as a blueprint for success. With the hosts happily giving up possession the onus will be on City to get on the ball and make things happen. I expect Pep’s men to proceed with caution having fell into Mourinho’s trap a couple weeks back.
While I do not expect many goals in the game, there is obviously plenty of talent on display. Both Bruno Fernandes and Riyad Mahrez have stood out for their respective sides so far, and although at short prices I like the look of both men registering a Shot on Target here. Both men have hit almost 1.5 Shots on Target per game so far in the league.
With so much resting on this game, expect to see an extra edge to an already intense rivalry. There are plenty of players I like the look of to pick up a booking, and when looking at this market it’s important to think about who the player will match up against during the game
At current prices, Rodri of Man City appeals the most. He will be tasked with shutting down Fernandes when Utd have the ball and will also be responsible for stopping the counter-attacks of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood by any means necessary. He’s picked up three yellows in his last three derbies. Rodri to be booked (and make it four from four) looks a great price.
*All odds in copy correct at time of publication and they’re always bang on with our clever betting banners.
Manchester Derby betting tips
- The above four selections in a Paddy Power Same Game Multi pays at around 28/1
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Top tips for Sunday
- Kane to hit the mark in our 3 best Crystal Palace v Tottenham bets
- Awesome Aubameyang can fire Arsenal to win over Burnley
- Our trader’s best bet for Leicester v Brighton
- Razor Ruddock: How the West Ham Christmas party got me banned from Romford
- Razor Ruddock: Eric Cantona wanted to fight me in the Old Trafford tunnel
- Razor Ruddock: I got drunk with Nelson Mandela – and he came back for a second night out!