Man City v Man Utd Betting Predictions – Backing a Draw at 18/5 with Betfair
As recently as four years ago, the Manchester Derby was more or less the Premier League title decider. If the two sides met in April, usually it would mean the winner would be celebrating by May. This meeting, though, is little more than a formality in the race for Champions League football.
City have Pep Guardiola in charge, United have Jose Mourinho, so it is not too harsh to say both clubs have underachieved this season. Guardiola’s men have been exposed in defence at times this season, while the Red Devils have not been able to score enough goals to convert draws into wins.
Manchester United are on the longest unbeaten run (22) in Europe's top 5 leagues [Squawka] #MUFC— Manchester United (@ManUtdUpdates_) April 16, 2017
When Manchester City were winning titles, as recently as 2014, their home form was the base for their success. By those standards, they have not been at their best this season, winning just eight of their 15 games at the Etihad Stadium, giving them the sixth best home record in the division.
Manchester United have the best home record, winning nine of their 14 games. They also have the third best attack and the best defence on the road. But they come into this game off the back of a real injury crisis. Marcos Rojo has added to Mourinho’s defensive woes by suffering a serious knee injury, while Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are out. Crucially, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has 28 goals to his name this season, has also suffered knee trouble and will miss the rest of the season.
The Swedish striker has been something of a talismanic figure this season, but perhaps his absence could actually help his side. United have looked much better as a cohesive unit without Zlatan, because their main issue this season has been they’re too easy to contain. A lack of pace in the build up makes it easy for opposition defenders, and they are not as effective with getting in behind defences when he plays.
Against Middlesbrough last month, for example, they were able to breach a deep defensive and midfield line with ease because of the pace of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard. With City’s high line being their achilles heel at times and their fondness of playing one holding midfielder, the absence of Zlatan may make Guardiola think twice. It caught Chelsea’s Antonio Conte out last week.
The injuries may make City slight favourites, but the stats make this a close call. United are shaping up under Mourinho and they will be no pushovers here.