Manchester betting: United to avoid defeat and Rooney to score?
All eyes will be focused on the Etihad Stadium (8pm KO, Live on Sky Sports 1) when City take on arch rivals United in what is ultimately the title decider.
Sir Alex summed up the importance of game when he called it “a derby of amazing proportions… probably the most important in my time”.
The Red Devils go into the game three points clear of their arch rivals having thrown them a lifeline after blowing a 4-2 lead against Everton through some uncharacteristically shoddy defending.
If they had beaten the Toffees the title would be firmly within their grasp.
Now they have to raise their game again and try and extend the gap at the top once more.
Never has so much hinged on a meeting between the two clubs, and bookmakers make City favourites to come out on top.
Roberto Mancini’s men are a top priced 2.25 with Paddy Power, with the draw a 3.5 chance with Boylesports, and a United win rated a 3.5 shot – also with Boylesports.
It’s a pressure game and United have proven track record of being able to raise their game and get the desired result when the chips are down.
That it is major asset in a game in which two of the three possible outcomes heavily favour United:
*If City win it’s all level with two games to go, but their goal difference significantly better and they are in the driving street having at one point trailed by 8 points.
*A draw would mean that United would need four points from their last two games to win the title, regardless of what City do. A victory against Swansea in their next match would clinch it if City fail to win at Newcastle.
*A win for United and the title is all but in the bag, with just 1 point needed to seal it.
So in effect it is a game which ideally United would love to win, but more importantly cannot afford to lose.
It will therefore be interesting to see what tactics Sir Alex employs, but there is little doubt that he will aim to keep things as tight as possible and if they do get an early goal that will make it very difficult for City.
That throws up an interesting punt, as I can’t see United not getting something out of the game.
They are 2.37 shots with bet365, Betfred and Paddy Power in the draw/no bet market, and that looks outstanding value.
As far as head-to-heads are concerned United have won 67 of the 161 matches between the clubs since they first met in the old Division Two in 1894. City have 44 victories, with 50 draws.
City have also failed to score in their last three Premier League games at home to United. They drew 0-0 last term, having lost 1-0 the previous two seasons.
There is little doubt that the striker in form going into this is United’s Wayne Rooney and he makes plenty of appeal in the goalscorer markets.
He has scored 16 times in his last 14 appearances and netted 8 times in 16 Manchester derbies.
So given that he he is also the penalty taker the 7.5 on offer with bet365 to net first looks a decent price as does the 2.88 with Paddy Power for him to score anytime.
*bet365 have a special free bet offer for the game. If you place a pre-match bet they will give you a free In-Play bet to the same stake.
To qualify you simply place a bet before kick-off, then once the game starts place another bet on any In-Play market. If your FIRST In-Play bet loses they will refund this stake, up to the same value as your largest pre-match bet (max £50).