Manch­ Cham­pi­ons City on short­est ever odds for brag­ging rights

Manchester Evening News - - THE 177TH DERBY -

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

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