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Premier League football is back this weekend, and what a game we have in store for the lunchtime kick off on Saturday. The Manchester derby always fires the imagination, and with Mourinho and Guardiola bringing their own rivalry, it promises to be riveting.
United play host to this first meeting of the season, and Jose will know how crucial a derby win at this stage of the season will be. Pep has been dealt a bitter blow with the absence of Sergio Aguero, but still has enough talent at his disposal to cause United huge problems. The rivalry between the two managers was forged in Spain when in charge of Real Madrid and Barcelona, and this meeting at the summit of the Premier League will reinvigorate an intriguing battle. Both teams have 100% records so far in the Premier League – but that won’t be the case after 90 minutes at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Saturday’s other televised game on a cracking day of football sees Liverpool host last year’s Champions Leicester at Anfield. The Reds were one of only two teams to beat the Foxes in the Premier League last season – the other was Arsenal – and Jurgen Klopp’s side will look to take advantage if Leicester have one eye on their upcoming Champions League match.
Manchester United v Manchester City
The only place to start is in Manchester, and Coral‘s odds of 17/20 1.85 -118 0.85 -1.18 0.85 on both teams hitting the back of the net look very appealing.
City may miss Sergio Aguero but they have plenty of options in the forward line for Guardiola to tinker with. The obvious names that spring to mind are young starlet Iheanacho and Spanish forward Nolito. The former has always looked dangerous in his Citizen’s appearances, while the latter has performed very well on the left of the front three, but can also play centrally. Meanwhile the likes of Silva, Sterling and De Bruyne pose a significant goal threat.
Guardiola has brought his style to City already this season, and performances have begun to improve. His team have posted a 2-1 win over Sunderland, a 4-1 away win at Stoke, and a home victory against West Ham. They also decimated Steaua Bucharest 6-0 on aggregate in the Champions League. There is still an air of City being a work in progress at the moment, and it’s telling that they’ve conceded on each of their Premier League outings so far. Manchester United will pose a much more potent threat than the likes of Stoke and Sunderland, and the current City defence will have it’s work cut out at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho built success previously in the Premier League by beating title rivals in home matches, and playing much more conservatively in the return matches. If this game were at the Etihad we might see a more pragmatic strategy from United, but at home and with their own superstars in Pogba and Ibrahimovic, they should go for the kill. The absence of Aguero is another boost, and circumstances certainly favour the red half of Manchester.
The Red Devils have also won all three Premier League games this season – a 3-1 away win at Bournemouth, a 2-0 home victory over Southampton, and that last-gasp away win at Hull. Marcus Rashford came on to score the winner on that day, and he’s already won a Manchester derby with the only goal of the game at the Etihad in March. After a hat trick for the England under-21 side, the young striker must be starting to enter Mourinho’s thinking.
United look the stronger side defensively, but City can score against anyone. Rather than looking for a match result, I’ll go with the both teams to score bet.
Liverpool v Leicester
Marathonbet are offering 4/5 1.80 -125 0.80 -1.25 0.80 about over 2.5 goals when the Champions visit Anfield, and this one has the potential to turn into a goal fest.
Liverpool play an expansive game under Jurgen Klopp which is more than easy on the eye. However, that style in the Premier League can always lead to high-scoring games as the 5-4 last year against Norwich or the 4-3 this season against Arsenal demonstrate. It’s going to be another frantic, exciting season for the fans on Merseyside.
Despite that brilliant result away at Arsenal on the opening, Liverpool failed to take advantage as they went down 2-0 to Burnley in their next league game. A 1-1 draw with Spurs followed, and they are already losing ground on the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea. Liverpool will target this as a game to win, and another attacking display is expected.
Leicester started poorly with a defeat at Hull, but have turned it around with a draw against Arsenal and a win at Swansea. Claudio Ranieri’s team have a Champions League tie in Brugges to look forward to next Wednesday, so his challenge will be to focus his players on this match. Much of their success last year was based upon clean sheets, but they’ve only kept one so far this season and might struggle to keep Liverpool out. With the pace of Vardy on the break and the possible debut of record signing Islam Slimani, they also have the ability to score.
All this game needs is an early goal to light the touchpaper, and we could see two teams playing end-to-end football.
Man Utd v Man City – Both Teams to Score
Saturday 10th September, 12:30 GMT
Odds: 17/20 1.85 -118 0.85 -1.18 0.85
Liverpool v Leicester – Over 2.5 Goals
Saturday 10th September, 17:30 GMT
Odds: 4/5 1.80 -125 0.80 -1.25 0.80