Premier League Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Can Manchester United Beat Manchester City Minus Cristiano Ronaldo in Latest Derby?
Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester City players celebrate a goal.
- Manchester City welcomes Manchester United to Etihad Stadium for Sunday's Premie League showdown.
- Manager Pep Guardiola and the Cityzens, who are three points clear atop the EPL table, look to end a recent skid against Cristiano Ronaldo and the Red Devils.
- Soccer analyst Jeremy Pond breaks down the matchup below and delivers his top pick tied to the latest Manchester derby.
Manchester Derby Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-185 / +130)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||USA Network | fuboTV|
|Odds updated as of Sunday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
One of global soccer’s longest, most storied rivalries rekindles Sunday when Manchester City welcomes Manchester United to Etihad Stadium for a crucial top-four Premier League showdown.
Manager Pep Guardiola and the Cityzens sit atop the table on 66 points, but just three points clear of a lurking Liverpool side that has won 11 of its last 12 fixtures across all competitions. Liverpool’s lone draw came in a 1-1 stalemate in last weekend’s EFL Cup final, which it wound up winning in a wild, 11-10 penalty kick shootout against Chelsea.
City earned a 2-0 win against its rival back on Nov. 6 at Old Trafford, thanks to an Eric Bailly own goal seven minutes in and Bernando Silva’s strike at the end of the opening half. However, United has actually gotten the best of its intracity foe, winning the last three fixtures at the Etihad.
So, can Cristiano Ronaldo and the Red Devils continue their fine run of form away from home in this rivalry or will the Cityzens deliver a repeat effort from the last time they met?
Let’s see where we can find some betting value in this match.
Powerful City Must Keep Foot on Pedal
While Liverpool has kept pressure on City in the EPL title race, Guardiola’s side has answered the call throughout. The reigning league champions have won a stunning 15 of their last 16 matches overall, with the lone blemish on their résumé coming two weeks back in a 3-2 road loss at Tottenham.
Other than that defeat, which came via a Harry Kane goal deep in stoppage time, it has been smooth sailing on the domestic and European fronts. City routed Portuguese side Sporting, 5-0, in the first leg of its Champions League Round of 16 tie on Feb. 15 in Lisbon. The sides play the reverse fixture Wednesday, with the Cityzens essentially locked into a quarterfinal berth.
Rúben Dias in the Premier League for Manchester City this season:
◉ Most clearances completed (56)
◉ Most passes completed (1,864)
◉ Most offside trap successful (23)
◉ Most blocked shots (12)
Not the time to lose your rock at the back. 😬 https://t.co/F2lvz5KtSM
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 4, 2022
City has remained relatively healthy this season, but will have to fill two huge holes in the defensive third of the pitch with stalwart defender Rúben Dias (hamstring) and Nathan Aké (unspecified injury) unavailable for the derby. Both center backs were forced off in a midweek FA Cup match at Peterborough United. Dias’ injury will keep him sidelined north of a month.
That likely means John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will likely slot into those vacancies for City, which only conceded 0.6 expected goals against United in their first meeting.
Riyad Mahrez continues to power the Cityzens’ offense, putting together arguably the finest run of his decorated career from a statistical standpoint. The Algerian international has 19 goals and seven assists though 31 matches across all competitions, with his goal haul sitting at one better than the 18 he scored during Leicester City’s 2015-16 historic championship season.
Solid Run for United Doesn’t Mask Woes
While City continues to dominate in the English top flight, United has been putting in some work of its own. Manager Ralf Rangnick has seen his Red Devils go unbeaten in their last seven fixtures overall, parking them in fourth place. That would be good enough for the final UCL spot at the moment.
Yet, despite the unblemished mark of late, the Red Devils have been short on winning performances. Five of their last seven games across all competitions have ended in a draw, including ugly one-point efforts against bottom feeders Burnley and Watford.
The biggest issue for United in those fixtures was its lack of finishing scoring opportunities. Ronaldo and his teammates mustered 2.1 xG in the 1-1 draw with the Clarets, but it got even worse last time out against Hornets. The Red Devils racked up 2.9 xG in a scoreless stalemate at Old Trafford, marking the fifth time they’ve accumulated at least 2.0 xG in five of their last six contests.
United’s lone creation struggles came in its UCL Round of 16 match against Spanish giant Atlético Madrid. The La Liga hosts locked down the visitors, limiting them to a paltry 0.4 xG in the 1-1 tie. So, the fact the Red Devils will now face arguably the world’s best defense doesn’t bode well for a team with so many scoring woes.
City vs. United Statistical Comparisons
*Information via fbref.com
|Goals For | Goals Against||64 | 17||44 | 34|
Betting Analysis & Pick
Obviously, City backers might have some slight concerns due to the defensive absences and recent history favoring United. However, the hosts are playing at such a better, different level that I can’t see anything happening outside a victory for Guardiola’s men.
From a data standpoint, the Cityzens dominated the last meeting, limiting the Red Devils to just 0.6 xG (per fbref.com) or 0.78 xG, according to xGPhilosophy metrics. So, if you take the average of the numbers, you wind up with 0.69 xG from that match. And that’s simply not going to cut it for United when it’s facing an opponent averaging 2.29 xG per game though 27 EPL fixtures.
That said, I’m going to the well one more time with my favorite wager — the Single Game Parlay — and pairing City on the ML with the total staying under 4.5 combined goals at -125 odds via BetMGM as my top selection.
The total hasn’t cleared 2.5 goals in the last seven tilts between these sides. So, when you add that with the fact there have been two goals or less in five of United’s last six EPL games, I like my chances this game not hitting five goals.
Pick: Single Game Parlay — Manchester City ML & Total Under 4.5 Goals (-125 at BetMGM)