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Derby day is always one that is keenly anticipated, and this Sunday will be no different in Manchester. With City playing host to United and with both teams needing a win for varying reasons, it is not just local bragging rights that are up for grabs.
For City, it will be a case of adding more points to the Premier League board and if they get a maximum haul at the Etihad, it will only place more pressure on rivals Liverpool. While for United, it will be a case of keeping their Champions League charge alive in the race for fourth.
With Manchester City having won 15 of their last 17 Premier League outings and Manchester United unbeaten in their last eight offerings, something will have to give when the two teams meet on Sunday.
Something that unfortunately for the Red Devils, will be given to the blue half of Manchester and although backing Pep Guardiola’s men to win is a solid shout, the best betting sites are not offering much in the way of value.
However, adding a total of 2.5 goals to a home win at the Etihad certainly does and if you also think that it will be a rather cagey derby affair, you can back that and a City win at odds of 3/1 with SportNation.
Points on the board or games in hand. A debate that will continue for as long as the sport of football exists and for those who prefer the former, that is exactly the position that Manchester City find themselves in right now.
Because after edging past Everton last Saturday, the Etihad outfit now find themselves with a six-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the table and although the Reds do have a game in hand, it is one that they still have to win.
While that win over Everton, was one that saw City return to winning ways and after suffering a blip at home to Tottenham seven days before, it was the perfect outcome on Merseyside but not perhaps the perfect performance.
With that said, it now becomes clear that earning points is more important than how they are earned and with draws almost being the equivalent to losses at the very top of the Premier League table, manager Pep Guardiola knows that there can be no more slip ups
Something that raises the stakes even higher before this weekend’s visit of United and if the current league leaders can get the better of their neighbours, it could be a substantial step towards another title at the end of the season.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the visit of Manchester United, there is nothing for Pep Guardiola to worry about and this means Manchester City will be at full strength come Sunday afternoon.
Although Manchester United currently find themselves lying fourth in the Premier League table, there is a sense that they will eventually have to give that up and the more they stutter, the more the closing pack are ready to chase them down.
A closing pack that involves both West Ham and Arsenal and with both these teams just two points behind the Red Devils, either could find themselves usurping United by the end of this weekend.
Which is why a win at the Etihad this Sunday is almost imperative for Ralf Rangnick’s men and after playing out a bore draw at home to Watford last weekend, there is a sense that two massive points were dropped at Old Trafford.
Admittedly United are the form team in the division right now and this comes courtesy of an eight-game unbeaten run. However, one wonders if too many of those encounters have ended as draws instead of wins.
Because of this, there is also a sense of one step forward and two steps back at Old Trafford right now and although they are capable of great results, they are just as capable of slipping up at the same time.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the trip to Manchester City, Edinson Cavani is once again a doubt after suffering a groin strain last month and the same status is attached to Scott McTominay, as the Scottish midfielder is currently suffering from illness.
When it comes to the rivalry of these two clubs, the dynamic has certainly changed over the past few years and although Manchester United were previously the dominant force, that is no longer the case.
In terms of their overall head-to-head record, Manchester City have won on 56 occasions, Manchester United 77 and there have been 53 draws
When it comes to this footballing cathedral, it is a venue that plays hosts to sporting saints and although the Etihad can be quiet from time to time, you can guarantee that there will be plenty of noise being generated on Sunday.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in England, it means there is no longer the need to show a Vaccine Passport before attending the ground. Which means, match tickets are the only item that is required to be produced at the time of writing.
When looking at the Premier League outright odds right now, Manchester City find themselves as favourites to win the title and with their win over Everton last Saturday, those odds would have shortened further.
While when it comes to the race to finish fourth, Manchester United’s odds would have lengthened after the 0-0 home draw with Watford and if they suffer defeat to City on Sunday, such a price will only lengthen further.