Manchester United v Manchester City Preview – Saturday 10th Sept 12:30 KO (BST)
A thoroughly uninspiring international break will be but a distant memory by the time the first Premier League clash between the two Manchester clubs comes around.
There are plenty of similarities between the clubs besides the obvious geographical one. Both have broken the bank for blockbuster managers and their signings this summer and boast 100% winning records in the Premier League thus far. This one is certainly set up to be a mouthwatering clash for punters.
Paddy Power don’t seem keen to take on the home side, with the Irish firm going 5/4 (2.25) on United, a couple of ticks shorter than the best price of 11/8 (2.38) at the time of writing. The same firm are 23/10 (3.30) on both the draw and a City win in what, according to the odds at least, looks a well balanced game.
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The odds compilers are certainly not expecting a high scoring match with under 2.5 goals on offer at 8/11 (1.73) while it’s Even money (2.0) that we see three or more. Both teams to score is also an 8/11 (1.73) chance at Old Trafford.
One key factor here could be in the way Jose Mourinho has approached big games in the past. The former Chelsea boss won three top flight titles in two spells at Stamford Bridge but has never been afraid to shut down top class opposition instead of being too forthright and risking a defeat.
In 2014/15 the Blues won the Premier League title, losing only twice across the 38 game season but drew half of their games against the sides who finished in the top seven (7/14), six of those ended 1-1.
United have been defensively impressive thus far, conceding just one in their opening three matches and it would be no great surprise to see the emphasis on defence from Mou’s men.
Given how early it is in the season and the fact that City’s most potent attacking threat, Sergio Aguero, misses the game through suspension, a draw would certainly not be a disaster for Pep Guardiola either. With that in mind the 23/10 (3.30) holds plenty of appeal in a tight game while the 1-1 scoreline is on offer at 11/2 (6.50) with Paddy Power for those searching for greater returns.
The anytime goalscorer market is understandably led by one Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swede has retired from international duty which should only aid his career at Manchester United. The 34-year-old is 4/1 (5.0) to open the scoring and 11/10 (2.10) to net anytime.
Marcus Rashford is 12/5 (3.40) in the same market after a midweek hat-trick for England’s Under 21’s although it seems wise to wait until the teams are announced before placing any wagers on the promising youngster.
One man who could prove a danger to the hosts is Raheem Sterling. The former Liverpool man looks rejuvenated since the arrival of Guardiola, perhaps benefiting from the sort of personal coaching he received at Anfield courtesy of Brendan Rodgers but felt he was missing when under the stewardship of Manuel Pellegrini.
Rodgers sometimes deployed Sterling in a more central role which could be a potential option for this game although he offers plenty of threat from out wide given his pace and direct style. Having struck twice in the 3-1 win over West Ham last time out and in the absence of Aguero he could offer an interesting goalscorer angle at 7/2 (4.50) to net anytime or 10/1 (11.0) to strike first.
Paddy Power have a Money Back Special available for this game. Simply place a pre-match wager on either side to win the game and get a free bet of up to £25 if they are losing at half time. T&Cs apply so please check you are eligible prior to placing any bets. Click Here