Man City v Man Utd
Sky Sports Premier League
City can’t stop winning
It’s now necessary to find the exact stats on how many successive games Manchester City have won. Just looking at their results it’s easy to miscount the string of W’s.
To save you the bother, it’s 21 victories in a row, 15 of those coming in the Premier League. When will this ever stop?! It’s quite extraordinary.
Perhaps to add an even further layer of excellence, 12 of those wins have come on the road.
This derby marks the second game of a four-match run at home. They were actually pushed in the first two but came up with latish goals to beat West Ham 2-1 and then Wolves 4-1. City just keep finding a way.
Pep keeps rotating and the results keep coming. Sunday’s match represents a relatively big gap given that they last played on Tuesday night but perhaps at some point they’ll go to the well and find it empty.
But, for now, City are turning this title race into a procession. They go into the weekend 14 points clear of second-placed United and with third-placed Leicester stuttering, that lead could be 17 by the end of Sunday night.
United losing some focus
There was a brief moment in time not so long back when it seemed the footballing gods were giving Manchester United an opportunity to pull off title glory.
Liverpool were at the start of their fall and it looked as if City could be hurt by the injury to Kevin de Bruyne. United kept pulling out results; could this be it?
Obviously not but there’s perhaps a sense that City’s domination has had a knock-on effect. United haven’t given up but there must be a sense of deflation that City simply aren’t stopping.
Like a marathon runner reaching 15 miles and then watching the pre-race favourite show a different gear, United now have to take stock a little. They can’t possibly reel them in but obviously want to keep a podium place.
The slight feeling of flatness has manifested in a trio of 0-0 draws – at home to Real Sociedad in the Europa League and away at Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
The clean sheets show some resilience but the spark has rather gone up front.
Manchester City are the very clear favourites at 1.528/15 and so they should be having won 21 on the spin.
But let’s not forget this pretty remarkable stat. United are unbeaten in their last 21 Premier League away matches.
In addition, if we view the game through the prism of head-to-heads then there is further scope to look at both The Draw at 4.67/2 and a Manchester United win at 7.413/2.
City have lost three of their last five Premier League home games to United and the Red Devils did the double over them last season. United also won 1-0 in the League Cup there in 2019/20 although, to be fair, City were already 3-1 up from the first leg so were happy enough to absorb the loss.
Of course, all this isn’t some quirk based on local derby dynamics. Quite simply, it’s down to styles. United, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have had excellent results against the biggest teams because they’re very good at countering and hurting teams on the break.
City have the best defensive record in the top flight but they’re not watertight and United could easily emulate West Ham and Wolves and find an away goal. Perhaps it could be more than that.
The last three Premier League games between the pair at the Etihad have produced goals and I’m going for that outcome again.
It’s a pick ’em in the BTTS markets so I’m going to play ‘Yes‘ at 1.9520/21.
That bet has landed in three of City’s last four Premier League encounters so perhaps the juggling around of the starting XI is making them a little bit more vulnerable.
As for Over 2.5 Goals, Overs is the clear favourite at 1.84/5, with Unders at 2.226/5. I think it should be closer than that and recent United games would back that idea up although it’s not a market I’ll get involved in.
Bruno Fernandes may have looked a little flat recently but he’s still the second top scorer in the Premier League with 15 goals.
It suggests the 10/3 for an anytime goal is on the big side. United have a won a few penalties in this fixture in recent seasons and the Portuguese would be the man to step up.
Fernandes to score in a Draw is approximately 15.5 on the Same Game Multi and that’s appealing enough to warrant a bet.
If you really want to push the boat out and back the visitors, it’s worth noting that a Fernandes goal in a Man Utd win is actually a couple of points shorter.
But, looking at the match overall, there is scope for a stalemate. City’s run must end soon, United are incredibly resilient on the road and Fernandes is their main goal-getter.
You could just back the draw but the Same Game Multi allows more ambition.
Manchester City are unbeaten in 28 games in all competitions – if they avoid defeat here they will set a new club record for games without defeat. The Citizens have also won each of their last 21 matches, the third ever longest run in all competitions among teams in the big five European leagues.