Manchester City v Manchester United, Monday 20:00
So, the ‘derby to end all derbies’ is upon us in what promises to be a colossally climactic match at the Etihad Stadium on Monday, as Paddy Power report free bets and support for Roberto Mancini’s men at 5/4 to prove victorious over bitter rivals Manchester United.
Should one of the two clubs bag all three points in the midweek fixture, they will undoubtedly be considered favourites to go all the way to either retain or claim the Premier League title.
As things stand, the Red Devils remain the dominant side in Manchester and sit just three points above their only rivals for the crown.
However, Roberto Mancini’s men have managed a more consistent scoring record this term and are currently six goals better off in terms of goal difference; a vital factor in the title hunt.
Should Mancini’s side draw level on points with United this Monday, it would mean only positives for that goal difference while United’s would suffer, putting the Citizens back in pole position.
City have the home advantage this time around and are yet to fail to score in a match on their home turf this season, recording a hefty average of three goals per game.
They also have the sternest defence in the league and have conceded just 0.59 goals per game on average, keeping clean sheets in almost 60% of their encounters.
Micah Richards looks likely to return to fitness for the match while Mario Balotelli is also available after serving a three-match suspension.
The hosts will most likely continue with an Argentine pairing up top with the explosive form of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero proving devastating in recent weeks.
Tevez’s return has heralded mixed reviews but the pint-sized attacker’s value will have gone nowhere but up in recent weeks and the 28 year-old will be keener than ever to net against his former club.
Manchester United are fresh from a disappointing 4-4 draw against Everton last weekend and were hit with the news that Nani and Jonny Evans had picked up knocks during the week.
Although the pair could still feature, Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting XI could see a surprise or two following last weekend’s result.
The last time Manchester City completed a league double over their fiercest rivals came in the 2007-08 campaign. The club has only grown since then and after coming out on the better side of a 6-1 drubbing at Old Trafford, have ample reason to finish the job this week with the Premier League crown in their sights.
That being said, the Citizens have failed to net against United in their last three home league matches against the club, making for a grand occasion on Monday where the Premier League trophy will take a considerable sway in whether it ends up at the Etihad or remains in Old Trafford.