It’s derby day in Manchester, where feuding neighbours United and City will rekindle their rivalry in front of a packed Old Trafford in an eagerly-anticipated lunchtime kickoff.
Man City butchered United 6-3 earlier in the campaign, however, the Red Devils have won 15 and lost just one of their 18 competitive fixtures since that annihilation at The Etihad Stadium and today’s derby clash should provide the acid test of their progress under Erik ten Hag.
I’ve got everything you need to fill your Manchester Derby bet builders with savvy selections below, including several statistical angles from the teams’ Premier League campaigns to date. If you want to learn more about how to extract the most value from the info, give my Stats Pack Guide a read here.
Jadon Sancho is still following an individual training programme and won’t be available this weekend. Diogo Dalot came off on Tuesday evening with what looked like a hamstring tweak, so Aaron Wan Bissaka could continue at right back.
Bruno Fernandes is free to play again following a suspension, while United are trying to rush through the transfer of Wout Weghorst to allow the giant Dutchman to join the matchday squad. Erik ten Hag must choose whether to play Luke Shaw at left or centre-back today.
Ruben Dias is still sidelined with a hamstring injury, though Pep Guardiola has few personnel issues beyond the stricken Portuguese defender.
Promising youngster Rico Lewis could be handed another start at right back, particularly after Kyle Walker’s poor showing, albeit as a central defender, against Southampton in the Carabao Cup in midweek. Earlier this week, Pep Guardiola suggested he had some “ridiculous ideas” for today’s derby, so it will be interesting to see if he does anything unorthodox from a tactical perspective.
Both Manchester United’s results and their underlying stats have much more of a positive slant these days. United have scored three times in five of their last six assignments in league and cup, while their return of nine clean sheets from their last 11 tests at Old Trafford is impressive.
Only three clubs have a lower xG per 90 in the top flight, though United have been walking the disciplinary tightrope at times, and they have collected more yellow cards than any other team in the division so far. The Red Devils are priced at 10/11 to amass over 2.5 cards in today’s derby.
Defending champions Man City remain top dogs in England across a number of metrics including goals, xG and shots for along with xG, shots and shots on target against per 90, however, Pep Guardiola’s troops are still five points behind Arsenal at the summit of the table.
City mustered just seven attempts at Southampton in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening, however, and the nine and 12 they racked up in two meetings with Chelsea before that were also modest totals by their own high standards.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Alejandro Garnacho has been making waves when called upon to feature, though the talented Argentinean is almost certain to be relegated to the bench today, leaving Marcus Rashford to reclaim his favoured spot on the left.
Rashford has clocked two or more attempts and at least one shot on target in each of his last six appearances for United and the winger can be backed at 1/2 to hit at least one accurate attempt against City today.
Antony – who is never shy about letting loose – is available at 4/6 in the same market. The Brazilian lodged three attempts against Charlton in midweek and five when he last featured in the Premier League against Wolves.
Erling Haaland remains City’s star performer for both shots and shots on target per 90 this season, and though the bookmakers are usually pretty stingy with the odds they attach to the Norwegian in most markets, Haaland is generous-looking 8/11 to have two or more shots on target at Old Trafford today.
Riyad Mahrez didn’t start City’s 6-3 win over United earlier in the campaign, though the Algerian flanksman mustered an incredible eight attempts when he last started against the Red Devils in March last year, four of which hit the target. The 31-year-old might be worth more of your attention if he starts this afternoon.
Player Goals and Assists
Marcus Rashford notched twice late on from the bench against Charlton on Tuesday evening and subsequently became the first United player since Wayne Rooney (2012) to score in eight successive matches at Old Trafford.
Rashford (11/4 to score anytime) is deep in a purple patch and he will back himself to trouble City youngster Rico Lewis if the latter is chucked into the deep end today.
Bruno Fernandes claimed assists in each of his last two league appearances and the Portuguese schemer is the metric leader at United for shot-creating-actions (79) this season). Christian Eriksen meanwhile, has three assists in four league outings despite playing almost half the number of SCAs as Fernandes. Both players are priced equally at 13/5 to create a goal today, however.
Talk of an over-reliance on his finishing skills is still simmering, however, Erling Haaland seems happy to shoulder much of the goal-scoring burden for City and he has failed to score in only four of his 16 Premier League appearances since joining from Dortmund.
Haaland is a smidgin off evens (4/5) to score anytime again at Old Trafford, and after his stunning hattrick against the Red Devils in October, that price seems too good to turn down.
Kevin de Bruyne (13/10 to get an assist) needs just one more assist to hit double figures for the season in the Premier League, though he hasn’t laid on a goal in the division since October 8th. The Belgian did claim two assists when City battered United six days before that, however.
Man Utd have been more composed in possession under Erik ten Hag, though they will expect to see less of the ball than usual against serial ball hogs, Man City, today.
Not even a single Man Utd player played 70 or more passes against City in October, so we’ll need to lower our expectations a little here. Both of United’s wingers (Antony & Jadon Sancho) played over 30 passes in United’s 6-3 loss at The Etihad, and Marcus Rashford – who should be deployed on the flank this afternoon – looks a plumb price at even money to beat the same passes target.
Rashford, who is in such excellent form, should see as much of the ball as his teammates can offer, especially if he is up against the inexperienced Rico Lewis.
Unsurprisingly, Man City have enjoyed more possession per game than any other Premier League side in 2022/23 and the Cityzens will expect to control at least 60% of the play again today.
Rodri’s distribution figures this season have been consistently high and the Spanish anchorman has played at least 90 passes in four of his last five Premier League appearances. The 26-year-old has also been a passing centurion (100+ passes) in five separate outings for City and Rodri should tempt plenty of punters today with odds of 11/10 to play 90+ passes at Old Trafford.
Manchester United Cards
Card magnet Scott McTominay is unlikely to feature from the start today, though his midfield compatriots, Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro, should both be in the wars.
Bruno (23/10) and Casemiro (17/10) differ in that they tackle with petulance and purpose respectively, however, both players look like strong card candidates today against a possession-hungry City team. Fernandes was cautioned when United lost 6-3 to City in October.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s (3/1) appearances have been fleeting this season, which is why he doesn’t feature on the list of United’s most potent card collectors, though the ex-Palace man could fill in at right back for the injured Diogo Dalot again this afternoon, where he could come face-to-face with the serially-fouled, Jack Grealish.
Only a handful of players have been fouled more often than Jack Grealish in the Premier League this season and the 27-year-old’s tight close control could tempt Aaron Wan Bissaka – who’s fond of a lunge – into some mistimed challenges.
Joao Cancelo could feel the wrath of compatriot Bruno Fernandes when the latter drifts right to offer support, while City’s key creator, Kevin de Bruyne, should have Casemiro to contend with in the midfield battleground.
Match-Ups to watch
Bruno Fernandes vs Joao Cancelo
Casemiro vs Kevin de Bruyne
Aaron Wan-Bissaka vs Jack Grealish
Manchester City Cards
Manchester City didn’t pick up a single booking and committed just three fouls when they tore United apart in October, however, they should face a stiffer test of their mettle at Old Trafford today.
Rodri is usually an expert at conceding the sort of fouls that simultaneously stop counters and avoid cards, however, the Spaniard could be one to watch today against a fast-breaking United outfit.
Elsewhere, full-backs Joao Cancelo and Rico Lewis could have their cages rattled on the flanks by Antony and Marcus Rashford. Both United wingers have the potential to stretch their markers in one-on-one situations.
In terms of total fouls, only Bruno Fernandes and Casemiro have been on the receiving end more than Marcus Rashford this season, and the in-form Manchester-born forward will relish putting the inexperienced Rico Lewis through his paces on derby day.
On the opposite side, Brazilian Antony has enough tricks in his locker to confuse and frustrate the hot-headed Joao Cancelo, while Bruno Fernandes’ eye for a defence-splitting pass should ensure he has Rodri for close company.
Match-Ups to watch
Joao Cancelo vs Antony
Rodri vs Bruno Fernandes
Rico Lewis vs Marcus Rashford