One of the most-anticipated fixtures of the football calendar year will be light up Etihad Stadium this weekend when Manchester United make the cross-city trip to face Manchester City in the Premier League.
The Red devils will carry fond memories from their last trip to the Etihad last season, ahead of what is quite assuredly one of the biggest football rivalries in Europe.
Jose Mourinho’s charges put up a spirited fight during their midweek Champions League encounter against Juventus; putting up a remarkable comeback to register a famous 2-1 win in Turin on Wednesday night. Yet the result was anything but easy for the Red devils.
Churning out a point could have been a decent outcome, and the visitors- thanks to lady luck- seemed to have contained the Serie A champions for slightly more than an hour; up until Cristiano Ronaldo punished his former side with a brilliant strike.
Having made his way right inside United’s half, veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci floated in an excellent long pass to Ronaldo who watched it over his shoulder before striking a stunning first time finish.
The goal, Ronaldo’s first in the Champions League since joining the Serie A side from Real Madrid during the last English summer, not only ended his drought of 453 minutes without a goal in Europe, but further extended his fine run against David De Gea which won’t make a good reading for the Spanish number one.
Paul Pogba, on his first return to the Allianz Stadium, won a foul twenty yards out in the 86th minute; one that substitute Juan Mata brilliantly curled over the wall and into the back of the net after a decoy run over the ball by Ashley Young.
You’d be forgiven to think that Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United would close shop and cling on for the vital point, but their sheer adventurous spirit paid massive dividends, as the Red devils forced in an own goal by Alex Sandro.
Juventus proved yet again that they couldn’t handle United from a set piece just three minutes after the equalizer, as Young’s free-kick delivery into the area was followed by a goalmouth melee before Alex Sandro inadvertently directed the ball past his own goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
For a team that has been hailed as the one to abdicate Real Madrid of their European crown, Massimiliano Allegri’s side proved quite susceptible in the closing moments of the game, as they were erringly close to losing 3-1 had Marcus Rashford not spurned a glorious one-on-one chance from a counter attack.
Despite the late heroics that left the travelling supporters in raptures, not to mention Mourinho’s cheeky goading at the final whistle, it wasn’t so much that United had the best chances, but rather took their chances seeing as they were only limited to three shots on target the entire match. It was the sort of result that will undoubtedly galvanize the side ahead of their trip to the Etihad.
Manchester City equally had a historic night in Europe, but with a 6-0 annihilation of Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night. David Silva put the hosts ahead in the opening thirteen minutes, while Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez scored a goal apiece right at the start of the second half and towards the tail end of the encounter respectively.
It was Gabriel Jesus however that stole the show, as the Brazilian netted a hat-trick in between, as City brilliantly warmed up for the derby.
Pep Guardiola will continue to be without goalkeeper Claudio Bravo who has a long term Achilles tendon injury, whereas Ilkay Gundogan and Nicolas Otamendi will only be available if they pass a late fitness test.
The miss of the bunch will however be Kevin De Bruyne. The midfielder, already sidelined for two months this season, is poised to miss the next six weeks after his latest knee injury.
Manchester United welcomed the return of midfielder Marouane Fellaini whose appearance from the bench proved integral during their win over Juventus. Jose could however see forward Romelu Lukaku miss yet another game due to injury.
Manchester City vs. Manchester United betting predictions
Both teams lost at home to one another last season; City beating United 2-1 at Old Trafford in December, whereas United recorded an emphatic comeback to win 3-2 at the Etihad back in April.
The Citizens have scored an atrocious 12 goals in their last two games in all competitions, whereas Jose Mourinho went full pantomime villain during their midweek triumph in Turin.
This Manchester derby is certainly one not to be missed.
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Both teams score, no draw||+120 at William Hill||Place Bet|
|Total match goals over 2.5||-227.27 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Man City vs. Man United recent results
Man City 2-3 Man United (April 7, 2018)
Vincent Kompany 25’
Ilkay Gundogan 30’
Paul Pogba 53’, 55’
Chris Smalling 69’
Man United 1-2 Man City (December 10, 2017)
Marcus Rashford 45’+2
David Silva 43’
Nicolas Otamendi 54’
Man City 0-0 Man United (April 27, 2017)
Man United 1-2 Man City (September 10, 2016)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 42’
Kevin De Bruyne 15’
Kelechi Iheanacho 36’
Man City 0-1 Man United (March 20, 2016)
Marcus Rashford 16’
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