Sports Betting Weekly

Manchester United v Manchester City

When: Sunday, 12 April 2015 @ 22:00 (FINISHED)
Where: Old Trafford
Manchester City are currently proving just how quickly things can change at the top of the Premier League, having gone from being pre-season title favourites and in a good position to defend their trophy to falling way off the pace and into a battle to finish fourth.

City’s fall from grace has been nothing short of remarkable with the amount of talent manager Manuel Pellegrini has at his disposal, with the blue half of Manchester now on course to end the season without a trophy after exiting all three cup competitions they entered in embarrassing style, while the white flag has also seemingly been waved in regards to the defence of their title.

There is generally no shame in losing to a side as good as Barcelona in the Champions League, but when you do so in such a tactically inept manner – not once, but twice, seeing as the same thing happened in last year’s knock-out round – questions have to be asked.

Throw in awful 2-0 home defeats to both Newcastle in the Capital One Cup and Championship side Middlesbrough in the F.A. Cup and it’s clear something has gone drastically wrong inside the City dressing room, which normally leaves just one outcome at such a crucial stage of the season.

It is with no great shock, then, that Manuel Pellegrini is listed at 2/1 to be the next top flight manager to leave his post, with Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti favourite to take over at 6/5 and Pep Guardiola also 7/1 to step into the Etihad hotseat, which will surely be vacated in the summer.

While all this turmoil has occurred in the blue half of Manchester, the red half have silently crept up and overtaken their noisy neighbours, and it seems after months of tactical tinkering – some of which virtually bordered on the insane – Louis van Gaal has finally found the winning formula.

Since being outplayed by Arsenal in the F.A. Cup quarter-finals in a 2-1 defeat –which really could, and should, have been by a margin of victory far greater by Arsene Wenger’s side ultimately managed – United have been nothing short of excellent in the league.

A crushing 3-0 victory over Tottenham was then bettered in some ways as the Red Devils took on bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield, with van Gaal leaving Merseyside with all three points courtesy of a Juan Mata-inspired 2-1 win. United could now go second with a victory depending on Saturday’s result at Turf Moor, which would represent a remarkable turnaround for van Gaal’s side, who at one point seemed certain to miss out on Champions League qualification entirely.

That is now no longer the case, with Liverpool looking the most likely side to finish outside the top four – but with that said, if United can come out on top in this derby and Liverpool take three points against Newcastle on Monday, the gap between fourth and fifth would be cut to just four points.

The idea of City falling away in the title race was surprising enough, but for them to finish outside the top four places would be nothing short of a disaster for the club – and if there looks to be a genuine chance of that happening, Pellegrini may well get the bullet a bit sooner than May.

Unfortunately for him, things aren’t likely to get any better for the Citizens on Sunday, as this looks likely to be another United win against one of the better sides in the league. The bookies are tipping United as favourites at 13/8 for victory, with City available at 15/5 and the draw on hand at 12/5.

Wayne Rooney will forever be immortalised for the overhead kick he scored in a 2-1 win over City at Old Trafford in 2011 and is 6/1 to break the deadlock on Sunday or 2/1 to score anytime. City’s best chance of a goal, meanwhile, will lie at the feet of Sergio Aguero, who – like Rooney – is 6/1 to score first, but 9/5 to score at any point.