Manchester United vs. Manchester City, Saturday, September 10, 2016, 9.30pm AEST.
Manchester United: 3rd
Manchester City: 1st
Manchester United: 3-0-0
Manchester City: 3-0-0
Manchester United: $2.25 with Sportsbet.com.au
Draw: $3.20 with Sportsbet.com.au
Manchester City: $3.30 with Sportsbet.com.au
EVERY body stop what you’re doing and pen this one in on Saturday night.
It’s an early game and it’s between two classic English Premier League titans who are yet to drop a point this season.
The script could not have been written better.
Two powerhouse clubs from the same city, Manchester United and Manchester City, going head to head in the early game, giving us prime time to watch and punt on it.
It’s every soccer head’s dream.
But we can’t help but feel a little robbed by the FA.
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, when it is all said and done, will probably have a claim to be among the best strikers to ever grace the Premier League.
And, had he not suffered so many injuries that reduced his remarkable dominance, he might already be the best.
But he won’t be playing in this game because of a retrospective three-match ban that was handed down to him in CIty’s last game for violent conduct.
You see, the little master elbowed West Ham defender Winston Reid in the face in the side’s 3-1 win last match day.
Aguero has started the season on an absolute mission with six goals to his name in just three games.
But the FA has no sense of theatre. Couldn’t they have suspended him after this weekend?
The international break last week did not help.
It appears likely Nigerian teen Kelechi Iheanacho will lead the line – and, nothing against him, but he is a far less daunting prospect than Aguero.
It leaves City looking for a hero up front.
And we think that hero can be the talented Manuel Nolito.
The gun winger has added a new dimension to the City line-up this season, providing plenty of attack and firing in a pair of goals in City’s 4-1 win over Stoke City and then setting up team mate Raheem Sterling for one of his two goals against the Hammers.
Sterling is in form and you could do worse than him at double figure odds.
With Aguero out, it leaves the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the main event in this game.
And he is living up to the top billing, already sending a message to new City keeper Claudio Bravo, Pep Guardiola’s replacement for much-loved, but also maligned – Joe Hart.
The great man posted a video on social media yesterday of him packing some training gear with a message for Bravo.
“Welcome to Manchester! Here’s some training gear, you’re gonna need it. See you Saturday. #MUFC #ManchesterDerby”
We’d be mighty worried if we were Bravo.
Ibrahimovic has scored three goals in three games this season, including a double against Southampton and will be hungry to prove himself against the Red Devils’ first real challengers this season.
The Red Devils have a young star – fresh of a hat trick at England U21 level – waiting in the wings and learning off Ibrahimovic in Marcus Rashford and he could be an option if he gets a gig.
Of course, United have record signing Paul Pogba, fresh off a best on ground performance in his debut a fortnight ago, to throw at their cross-town rivals.
Three of the last four meetings between these two sides have been dour affairs.
If you take out the 4-2 thriller Manchester United won back in April 2015, there have only been two goals scored in the past three encounters, with a draw and 1-0 wins to each club the results.
But both these sides are flying, so we are expecting more goals than that.
First goal scorer predictions
Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($5 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Marcus Rashford ($8 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Manuel Nolito ($7 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Raheem Sterling ($11 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Manchester United: David DE GEA, Antonio VALENCIA, Eric BAILLY, Daley BLIND, Luke SHAW, Marouane FELLAINI, Paul POGBA, Juan MATA, Wayne ROONEY, Anthony MARTIAL, Zlatan IBRAHIMOVIC
Manchester City: Claudio BRAVO, Pablo ZABALETA, Nicolas OTAMENDI, John STONES, Aleksandar KOLAROV, FERNANDINHO, Raheem STERLING, Kevin DE BRUYNE, David SILVA, Manuel NOLITO, Kelechi IHEANACHO
Match result: Manchester United ($2.25 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Correct match score: Manchester United 3-2 ($26 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Total match goals: Over 2.5 goals ($1.99 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Don’t expect this one to be a repeat of the recent dour affairs between these new clubs. New managers at each club have brought new attacking ethos’ and these two are among the highest scoring in the Premier League. Goals, goals and more goals is what we are after and we’re expecting the two Manchester clubs to deliver in spades. The $3.20 about City, we have to admit, is mighty tempting. But we’re going to stick fat with United at Old Trafford. They stunk last season, but we’re going to believe the hype and tip them to win a high scoring thriller, 3-2. We might have tipped the reverse result, had Aguero been playing.
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