Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be looking for a reaction from his players as Man United look to halt City's title charge. George Pitts looks at the betting.
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Man United v Man City
- Old Trafford, 2000 BST kick-off on Sky Sports Main Event
There are so many sub plots surrounding Wednesday's match, on top of the fact alone that it is the Manchester derby.
After such a smooth start to his Man United tenure, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is experiencing the other side of management after losing six of their last eight in all competitions. The most recent of those came on Sunday as they were thrashed 4-0 by Everton at Goodison Park and the criticism has been heavy since, with the Norwegian boss having to defend himself and insist he is the right person for the job.
Not only was the defeat done in a manner far below the standards of Man United and Solskjaer, it was a big blow to their top four hopes in a weekend which saw Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea all drop points.
They will be hoping for a reaction here and what better fixture to get them fired up. Not only will they have half the city behind them, Liverpool fans will also be hoping United win for once, which would see the Premier League title race fall back in their favour. There is not really a better outcome for United fans if they are looking at the title race.
The task in hand for the Red Devils is certainly a tough one though. City bounced back from their Champions League heartbreak by beating Spurs at the Etihad to make it 10 wins in a row in the league. With no more European involvement and the FA Cup out of their minds until the end of the campaign, City will have full focus.
They are title favourites - win this and they are a point ahead of Liverpool with three games to go.
With Burnley, Leicester and Brighton to follow, this match will surely be the one that decides whether they can make it back-to-back title triumphs.
Prediction: Man United 2-2 Man City (Sky Bet odds: 14/1)
A result that would hand Liverpool the advantage, but derbies can produce these shock results. Solskjaer will be demanding a reaction from his side and they will look to be positive in front of their own fans. These big matches can often be a low-scoring disappointment, but with the predicted approach of each side in mind, the feeling is there will be goals with the points being shared.
Best bet: Bernardo Silva to score anytime at 3/1
The Portuguese midfielder has become increasingly more important to the Citizens after impressive displays and, should he start, he can rise to the occasion here. The 24-year-old, shortlisted for both PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year for his displays this season, seems to have improved as the season has gone on. With Kevin De Bruyne absent, he could play in a midfield three rather than the front three, but he is so good in the final third that he is worth backing at this price. He has 12 goals and eight assists to his name for City in all competitions this term and averages nearly two shots per game in the league. Given his threat and level of influence, 3/1 is too good to pass up.
Granted, this match does have a reputation for being a little fiery, but these two are low on discipline this term and both more technical than aggressive in their approach, so the odds-against price on less than five yellow cards has particular appeal. The Red Devils average two bookings per home game in the league in 2018/19 while City average one per away game. The reverse fixture saw just one yellow card apiece - 20 booking points in total. Even if frustrations get the better of players on one outfit, this margin for booking points gives you a bit of leeway and is worth a small play - and if you are feeling brave then under 40 points is at just over 2/1.
A great price considering the Red Devils are the home team and up against their rivals. City will have more possession, no doubt, but United will be keen to make amends for Sunday's disappointment and could be direct and look to test Ederson in the City goal. They average seven shots on target per home game in the league this term and with the likes of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford often trying their luck, these odds are great for a match they should really be fired up for.
Luke Shaw, who has missed United's last three games with domestic and European bans, will come back into contention.
Phil Jones is a doubt after hobbling off in Sunday's defeat at Everton but Ander Herrera, Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia are pushing to be available.
Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, Grant, Dalot, Darmian, Bailly, Valencia, Young, Jones, Shaw, Lindelof, Rojo, Smalling, Herrera, Fred, Matic, McTominay, Pereira, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Martial, Sanchez, Lukaku, Rashford.
Manchester City are without midfielder Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgium playmaker suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday's victory over Tottenham.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (Achilles) remains a long-term casualty but City have no other fitness concerns.
Provisional squad: Ederson, Danilo, Stones, Otamendi, Kompany, Laporte, Mendy, Zinchenko, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundogan, D Silva, B Silva, Mahrez, Foden, Sterling, Sane, Aguero, Jesus.
- This will be the 160th league meeting between Manchester United and Manchester City; the Red Devils have won 62, drawn 51 and lost 46 of the previous such games.
- Manchester City have only lost one of their last seven league visits to Old Trafford (W5 D1), with current boss Pep Guardiola winning both of his Premier League games there by a 2-1 scoreline.
- There have been just six previous Premier League meetings between Man Utd and Man City outside of Saturday or Sunday. Man Utd won the first in November 1994 (5-0) but are winless in the subsequent five (D2 L3).
- No side has won more Premier League away games at Old Trafford than Manchester City (6, level with Chelsea).
- Manchester United have won fewer points than any other side in meetings between the ‘big six’ this season (6), failing to win any of their three home games so far (D2 L1).
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 14 home league games (W9 D5). However, the Red Devils have kept just two clean sheets at Old Trafford in the league this season – no side has kept fewer (also Fulham).
- Manchester City have scored 155 goals in all competitions this season – the record for an English Football League side in a single campaign is currently 156, held by City themselves in 2013-14.
- No visiting manager in Premier League history has won three consecutive trips to Old Trafford, with Man City manager Pep Guardiola one of just three to win both of his first two (also Sam Allardyce and Ronald Koeman).
- Each of Manchester United’s last three permanent managers has lost their first league meeting with Manchester City in charge of the club (David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho), with Alex Ferguson the last to win his first such contest, 2-0 in March 1987.
- No player has scored more goals in Premier League meetings between Manchester United and Manchester City than Man City striker Sergio Aguero (8, level with Wayne Rooney). In fact, only Alan Shearer (10) has scored more Premier League goals against Man Utd than the Argentinian (8).
- Phil Foden scored his first Premier League goal for Man City last time out against Tottenham, aged 18 years and 327 days. Kelechi Iheanacho and Gabriel Jesus are the only teenagers to score in consecutive Premier League games for the Citizens.
- Man Utd’s Paul Pogba has been involved in nine goals in his last eight Premier League games at Old Trafford, scoring eight and assisting one. The Frenchman scored twice in his last league match against Man City, in a 3-2 win at the Etihad last term.