Manchester United fans have long since given up on looking at the top few places in the table considering just which teams are up there. The reigning champions will surely return to such heady heights one day, it just won’t be this season.
Yet having spectacularly failed to put a dent in the title challenge of one of their fiercest rivals when Liverpool were allowed to stroll around Old Trafford nine days ago, United now possess the chance to harm the other when Manchester City come calling on Tuesday.
It isn’t clear just when the mere mention of this fixture will stop immediately conjuring up images of October 23rd 2011, a sea of disbelieving home fans and a scoreboard which read 1-6, but it certainly isn’t any time soon.
Yet despite the fact that United ended that 2011/12 season just a last gasp Sergio Aguero goal away from being better than their rivals, and now they are 12 points worse (18 if City win their games in hand), they really should make life a lot more difficult for their visitors here that they did on that fateful day. Football’s weird like that.
Five goals – one of them remarkable – have been scored without reply since Luis Suarez wrapped up Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Old Trafford last Sunday, and although they’ve lost Robin van Persie in the meantime United suddenly look somewhat dangerous again.
Is that enough to beat City? No, but at least they’ll put up a fight this time.
Ultimately the visitors have too much power, pace and crucially for United, quality in midfield to lose a match which is so important to their title chances.
Instead of the often freakish nature of matches and scorelines that we tend to see whenever the big clubs collide in the Premier League, this should be more old-fashioned, with any win for City likely to have to be earned through a mixture of hard graft and even harder tackles.
The draw at half-time at 2.25 appeals here, as does United to score in the first half at 2.04.
Both teams should score eventually, something reflected in the price of 1.53, whilst ultimately the 3-Way Handicap Draw starting a 1-0 to United (i.e. City to win by exactly one goal) at 4.20 could be the way to go if you’re feeling brave, with City over 1.5 goals at 1.85 on offer if you’re not.
Correct score betting
From the options highlighted above it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that we’re hinting towards a 2-1 win for City for the second season in a row at Old Trafford here, a possibility which is available at 8.50.
However if you do fancy the visitors to make things a little more comfortable then they are 11.00 for a 2-0 win and 18.00 for 3-0.
A recurring theme from United’s defeats at Old Trafford this season have been their concession of goals to opposition midfielders, and so the sight of Yaya Toure ominously clicking into goalscoring form against Fulham at the weekend would have been met with dread by David Moyes.
The Ivorian is 3.20 to net at any time, whilst Samir Nasri has gone three games without a goal since scoring three in five, and he’s a tempting 5.00.
In the red corner the only player who looks like scoring is Wayne Rooney, and he’s 6.50 to net first.
Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2 – 8.50
City to score over 1.5 goals – 1.85
Draw at half-time – 2.25