Manchestereveningnews.co.uk Champions City on shortest ever odds for bragging rights
TOMORROW’S showdown is more important to United than City – that’s what I have convinced myself anyway!
Frankly, an up and at ‘em showing from a more committed Reds desperate to kick-start their stopstart season is our only chance of an against-the-odds win at the Etihad.
Try to take on table-topping City at their own slick passing game and United could well be in for a hiding.
To lose heavily is the big fear for us Reds, who should take heart from the fact that anything can happen in a one-off high-profile game, particularly when nerves are jangling with so much more than local bragging rights at stake.
A repeat of the Paul Pogba-inspired 3-2 win for United last season is a 50/1 shot at Betfred this time around, with a 3-1 home win the most popular full-time result bet at 10/1.
Champions City, who are doing so brilliantly even without Kevin de Bruyne, are the shortest ever odds to win a derby at 4/11.
We’ve had plenty of superconfident Blues backing City at 80/1 to win 6-1 in the game that will be played 137 years almost to the day since the first derby between Newton Heath and St Mark’s from West Gorton. Newton Heath, who went on to become United, won 3-0 against the church side that became City.
The history books show United have had the edge over the years, but times are changing with City in the ascendency of late – although Wayne Rooney remains up there as the top Manchester derby goalscorer with 11.
Sergio Aguero, who keeps breaking goalscoring records of his own, is on eight derby goals and is 5/2 to score first, which he often does and consequently empties my pockets more than any other player worldwide. It’s times like this, on the eve of a derby, I try to evaluate the strength of the various teams by selecting a dream Manchester line-up. Usually it is close, with say five United players in and six City, or vice-versa, but certainly not this time. I hate to admit but only two Reds would definitely be in – Paul Pogba and keeper David de Gea. Possibly Luke Shaw at left-back and Anthony Martial would make the cut, but I’m sad to record Pep Guardiola’s midfield, forwards and defence are far superior than Jose Mourinho’s lot. My head says a 2-0 win for City. And as for my heart, well, a 3-1 triumph for the Reds would do very nicely.
Paul Pogba celebrates United’s win at the Etihad last season