City and United battle for top-four
Frank Monkhouse | 27 April 2017
Champions League place up for grabs
In-form Manchester United face a season-defining derby with City on Thursday evening, in one of the most-competitive renewals of this fixture in years. There’s much more than three points and the usual bragging rights on the line here.
With just one point between the warring neighbours going in to the week, in fourth and fifth, the race is on for a top-four place, and the Champions League football that comes with it. City win and they’ll secure one of the money spots, while the away day would see the reds leapfrog them in the rankings.
City target a double
The Citizens saw their last chance at a trophy turn to dust on Sunday when knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal at Wembley, at the semi-final stage. The blues had dominated the outright betting for much of the competition, and were deserved favourites to win the match too, but goals from Monreal and Sanchez saw The Gunners upset the odds in extra-time, winning 2-1.
City were left thinking what could’ve been, as they had a perfectly good goal chalked off by the linesman – you can see a replay of that here, and make up your own mind – but must put it behind them and focus on getting the job done vs United.
Our traders certainly fancy the locals in this one, and trade Pep’s boys to take the spoils as 20/23 favourites. Victory on Thursday would see them do the double over their city rivals, having already claimed a 2-1 league win at Old Trafford back in September. Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring that day, and the Belgian is a tempting 8/1 to do the same here, or 13/5 in the anytime market.
Man Utd the form side
Followers of the form will fancy the away win here. United have paid the price for too many draws this season, ending all-square in four of their last 10, and 12 of their 32 this term. Another share of the spoils, which would leave the race for the top-four wide-open, is a 13/5 go, and that is certain to be popular with punters.
Jose’s troops can take plenty of heart from recent efforts though, winning each of their last three, not least that 2-0 triumph over Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on their penultimate start. Marcus Rashford was a real standout that day, scoring the opener and inspiring his men to the points.
Upset looks the value play
United also came out on top when these sides last met, courtesy of a 1-0 win in the EFL Cup late last year. Mata was the hero that day, and another win to nil will see you bank all the 7/1 you can carry. That is a chunky price, but there’s plenty to like about United to win the match, regardless of how they achieve it, with our boys giving 3/1.
Value-hunters will be more than willing to take the bigger price here. For your stake you get the form side of the two, who won when these sides last faced-off. United have the momentum, and will fancy their chances of smashing their way into the top-four, banking Champions League football next season without having to win the Europa League.