Manchester City vs. Manchester United Betting Preview & Prediction: Bet the Home Side in the Manchester Derby

Manchester City vs. Manchester United Betting Preview & Prediction: Bet the Home Side in the Manchester Derby article feature image

Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images. Pictured: Erling Haaland of Manchester City.

  • Manchester City are heavy home favorites against Manchester United on Sunday.
  • After dominating both meetings last season, is there any value left on Man City in this clash?
  • Brad Cunningham breaks down the matchup below and shares his best bet.

Man City vs. Man United Odds

Man City Odds-300
Man United Odds+650
Over/Under3.5 (+115 / -135)
Day | TimeSunday | 9 a.m. ET
How To WatchPeacock
Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

One of the best rivalries in all of European soccer commences on Sunday as Manchester City hosts Manchester United at the Etihad.

Manchester City is off to another roaring start with five wins in their first seven matches, but this will be the first time the Cityzens have faced a "Big Six" side. They've completely dominated this rivalry over the past few years, so we'll see if they can keep that going on Saturday.

Manchester United have not played a Premier League match since Sept. 4, but they come in riding a four match win streak with wins over Liverpool and Arsenal.

However, Manchester City is a whole different type of opponent, one they haven't had good history against. So, we'll see if Erik Ten Hag can out duel Pep Guardiola.

How Will Manchester City

Manchester City completely dominated both meetings last season, combined xG was 4.6 to 1.1, box entries were 45 to 7, shots were 40 to 10, and Man City held over 65% possession in both matches, just complete domination by Pep Guardiola’s side. 

We were all like @PepTeam back in March! 😅

Relive the No.187 Manchester Derby celebrations with Pep Cam 💥

— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 27, 2022

Now, Manchester City has not faced a Big Six side in the Premier League yet this season, so we can sit here and rave about Erling Haaland’s goal count and City’s +12.2 xGD, but they have not been tested yet. The strongest competition they’ve played was in the Champions League against Dortmund and they kind of struggled to create chances, only 0.9 xG off of 14 shots, 24 shot creating actions, and 33 touches in the Dortmund penalty area.

City are also holding 70.7% possession on average and averaging close to 500 touches per 90 minutes in the middle third of the pitch. Now, the reason for that is because they’ve played a lot of teams that set up in very compact low blocks.

In five matches against Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, and Wolves, Manchester City have allowed a total of 1.5 xG, 22 shots, and 44 touches in their penalty area. Manchester City have two styles of play now, one when they have to break down a low block and one when they are playing a more open, pressing team.

When they have to break down a low block, the shape in possession almost becomes a 2-3-5 where Kevin DeBruyne & David Silva push up with the front three with Kyle Walker and João Concelo pushing inward, so when City do lose the ball, they are able to quickly counter press, win the ball and try to catch the low block out of position.

#mancity attack vs #crystalpalace low block

– Good compactness and neutralizing players between the lines#city
– inverted full backs with flexible movements
– wingers inverting creating space in wide areas
#Haaland movement in the box

— Modern Football Analyst (@VideosModern) August 27, 2022

Manchester United

Erik Ten Hag is playing a very different style at Manchester United than he did for a number of years at Ajax. Ten Hag's Ajax's teams were very possession dominant, always playing a high line, piling a ton of bodies forward in attack, and always looking to counter press when they lost the ball in the opponent's final third.

Now, Manchester United has become a low block counter attacking team that hardly does any pressing comparatively to his Ajax teams. Manchester United currently has the lowest defensive line, which is defensive actions’ average distance from the own goal (in meters), in the Premier League at 37.62. per

The Red Devils are only averaging 49.6% possession and are allowing a ton of chances on net, but still somehow won the expected goals battle against Liverpool and Arsenal because of a few high quality chances. With that being said, the underlying numbers for the season are not looking good for Manchester United.

As you can see, they are still in the bottom half of the Premier League defensively, they're allowing a lot of big scoring chances, and they're struggling to play through pressure. Not what you want to see if you are going up against Manchester City.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

As you can see in the stats above, teams that play low blocks have not been able to threaten City on the counter whatsoever.

So, now the question is can Manchester United play a low block successfully and find a couple of high quality chances on the counter like they did against Liverpool and Arsenal? I say no.

I have Manchester City's spread projected at -2.03, so I like the value on them -1.5 at -106 odds (BetRivers).

The Pick: Manchester City -1.5 (-106)

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