Prediction: Manchester United vs Manchester City

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Verdict: Manchester United to score over 0.5 goals

Best Odds: 2/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

In what looks set to be a crucial Premier League affair on Saturday lunchtime, Manchester United will welcome the defending champions to Old Trafford.

Manchester United

Starting with the hosts, booking their EFL Cup semi-final ticket thanks to a routine 3-0 romp at home against Charlton earlier in the week, Manchester United are in the midst of a real purple patch. Heading into the World Cup’s winter break on November 13th with a last-gasp 2-1 victory away at Fulham, the Red Devils have only continued to shine since returning from the festive interval. Last seen on Premier League duties opening the New Year with another 3-0 win against Bournemouth at Old Trafford, Erik ten Hag’s high-flying squad have also won each of their six post-World Cup outings. With the mood in their camp appearing at a red-hot high, it also appears that United are sat in pole position to claim a much-needed top-four return this season. Shipping just a single strike on their six-match winning run over the past month, the former Ajax boss could be smelling the chance for his side to spring an upset on Saturday lunchtime.

Team News

Bagging an EFL Cup brace against Charlton earlier in the week and now mustering seven strikes in his six post-World Cup appearances, Marcus Rashford will spearhead United’s charge here.

Missing out in midweek after serving a one-match suspension, Bruno Fernandes will make a full return on Saturday lunchtime. However, the likes of Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek and Axel Tuanzebe will once again miss out this weekend.

Manchester City

As for the visitors, while Manchester City might have been handed a golden chance to book their own EFL Cup semi-final spot in midweek, Pep Guardiola’s side put in what was a dreadful display at St. Mary’s. Eventually suffering a remarkable 2-0 loss at the hands of Premier League strugglers Southampton, the former Barcelona boss will know that he needs an immediate response from his squad this weekend. Currently sat five points adrift of a high-flying Arsenal and finding a route back to the top of the table, Saturday’s guests should at least be boosted by their rampant record in the Manchester derby. Storming their way to that action-packed 6-3 romp when they welcomed United to the Etihad back on October 2nd, it should be noted that City have now won four of their previous five meetings – a run that stems back to December 2020. Facing what looks set to be a real title battle in 2023, Guardiola will be more than aware that his side faces a must-win battle here.

Team News

Having to settle for a spot on the bench in Wednesday’s 2-0 loss away at Southampton, Erling Haaland will undoubtedly make a full return at Old Trafford. The Norwegian ace will be joined in attack by Kevin De Bruyne.

However, still dealing with a thigh injury that he picked up at last month’s World Cup, Guardiola will once again be without central defender Ruben Dias this weekend. Manuel Akanji could once again partner Aymeric Laporte.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides last met back on October 2nd, Manchester City picked up an action-packed 6-3 victory at the Etihad.
  • The defending Premier League champions have won four of their previous five meetings against their local rivals.
  • However, Manchester United have won each of their six post-World Cup appearances across all formats.
  • Likewise, Saturday’s hosts have conceded just a single strike on that six-match winning run over the past month.
  • Manchester City have managed to score more than a single strike in just one of their last seven matchups away from the Etihad.

Conclusion

While Manchester United might open Saturday’s derby showdown tipped as a real underdog with the bookmakers, ten Hag’s high-flying squad should be smelling the chance to spring an upset. Now winning each of their six post-World Cup matchups and sitting in pole position to claim a Champions League return, the Red Devils are riding what has been quite the wave of momentum. Despite suffering that action-packed 6-3 loss when they travelled to the Etihad on October 2nd, United will be looking to cash in on a City squad who could still be reeling from their south coast collapse in midweek. With United bagging a trio of strikes in each of their previous three consecutive domestic wins, we’re backing them to test Guardiola’s fragile defence here.

Verdict: Manchester United to score over 0.5 goals

Best Odds: 2/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

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