Manchester United vs Manchester City preview, betting tips and prediction: City to keep United at arm’s length in title race

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Score draw @ 7/2 with Betfair

Draw HT/Manchester City FT @ 9/2 with Betfair

Gabriel Jesus to score first and Manchester City to win @ 5/1 with Betfair

Manchester United are facing a last chance saloon in the Premier League when they welcome Manchester City to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. The neighbours are first and second in the table but, crucially, eight points apart in City’s favour. Jose Mourinho is a man who likes to frustrate his rivals in big games, but the interesting thing about this game is that frustrating City and holding them to a draw, as he did Liverpool, will only make them stand still, rather than close the gap at a crucial time in the season. This is such a tough game for Mourinho to approach.

It is also the latest instalment in the Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry. Once friends working together at Barcelona, they became locked in competition in LaLiga when Mourinho took charge of Real Madrid. Things may not be as heated and personal nowadays, but both would love to get one over on each other again. We think this one will be tight, but we are backing City if there is to be a winner.

Form

Currently on a 13-match winning streak in all competitions, dating back to late August, Manchester City have shown different sides to themselves this season. Having steamrolled a number of teams, including Liverpool and Stoke City, they have faced different challenges lately. Games are going the distance, with late goals needed to win their last three games 2-1 at Huddersfield and against Southampton and West Ham. Raheem Sterling has shone brightest this season, scoring winners in the former two games and taking his league goals total to nine. He has already surpassed his previous best for a full season.

While Manchester United have struggled on the road with recent losses at Huddersfield, Chelsea and Basel in the Champions League, they are still in great shape at Old Trafford. Mourinho’s men are yet to lose on their own patch, and they certainly won’t be pushovers for City, whom they matched early on in the campaign in an attacking sense. Romelu Lukaku scored seven goals in 11 games, but he has only scored one since, against Newcastle in a victory at Old Trafford last month.

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Team News

A big reason for Lukaku’s drop in form has been the inconsistency of Paul Pogba’s appearances. He spent weeks out with hamstring trouble and he will miss the City game through suspension after picking up a red card for a challenge on Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin. Phil Jones and Eric Bailly also look set to miss out again.

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City will be missing John Stones at the heart of their defence once again, while Benjamin Mendy and Ilkay Gundogan are months away from returning. Fernandinho will replace Fabian Delph in the middle of the park, while Gabriel Jesus could be in line for a starting birth up front and that is why he is our tip as FGS.

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