The Manchester derby takes place this evening in a rare Thursday night Premier League fixture and a City win looks to be on the cards.
My gut feeling is United’s extensive injury list may ruin the spectacle although it may have made the result a little easier to predict.
Manager Jose Mourinho is without top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who may have played his last game for the club, record buy Paul Pogba and defensive trio Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, among others, for the short trip to the Etihad Stadium.
Counterpart Pep Guardiola has a few concerns of his own, with David Silva missing and Sergio Aguero rated as a doubt, but the Catalan coach has greater strength in depth at his disposal and home advantage should swing this in City’s favour.
Both sides are desperate to qualify for next season’s Champions League and United can still secure a place at Europe’s top table via the Europa League, but for City a top-four finish is their only option.
An FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal means Guardiola will end the season without silverware and should the hosts miss out on the Champions League, the campaign will have to go down as a disaster.
I expect Mourinho to adopt a defensive approach to try and make use of the counter-attack as much as possible.
That should keep the game tight although ultimately the home side will have enough quality to secure a narrow win – and the 31/4 on offer for a 2-1 City win appeals in the correct score market.
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