It’s not often you see Manchester United priced up at longer than 3/1 to win a game. But while Thursday night’s trip to face Manchester City at the Etihad is undoubtedly a tough test, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the visitors can win this clash.
Here’s why the Ladbrokes News team are backing Jose Mourinho’s men to do the business…
They boast better form…and more energy
There’s no arguing with the Red Devils’ Premier League record in the past nine games, taking 21 points from 27 on offer – while their stats on the road are even better, with six wins and a draw in the last seven.
Oh, and they’ve also lifted the League Cup and reached the Europa League Semi-Finals in that time. Not bad.
For City’s part, they’ve won just two of their last seven games in all competitions – and head into this game on the back of an energy and morale-sapping FA Cup Semi-Final defeat to Arsenal – a match which went the full 120 minutes.
As for United, they breezed past Burnley without breaking a sweat on Sunday, winning 2-0 at Turf Moor. And they did it all without a certain Swedish hitman.
Ibra and Rojo can be adequately replaced
Many may have expected Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury against Anderlecht last Thursday to have signalled a goal drought at Old Trafford. But while the veteran striker will obviously be a miss – United can produce without him.
The 35-year-old played only a cameo role in the recent 2-0 defeat of champions-elect Chelsea, where young striker Marcus Rashford opened the scoring with a sublime goal. And with Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney both netting clinically at Turf Moor last weekend, there’s no doubt United can produce without Ibra.
As for Rojo, while he has come on leaps and bounds this season, Sunday’s replacement centre-back pairing of Daley Blind and Eric Bailly brought a combination of finesse and physicality which could keep City’s frontline frustrated, and help United build from the back.
Last season’s Etihad game-plan worked to perfection
Yes, Man United this season are a different proposition to Louis Van Gaal’s Red Devils, but his side went to the Etihad and won 1-0 last season with an inspired counter-attacking display. And if there’s anyone who’s built a career on those, it’s a certain Mr. Mourinho.
The goalscorer that day? None other than Rashford.
He’s hitting top form again right now, having found the net in three of his last five outings – and his pace, combined with the distribution of players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan (himself a goal threat) and Ander Herrera, could again play havoc with a sluggish City backline.
In the match betting, Man United are 16/5 for victory, with Man City 20/23 and the draw is on at 13/5.
Meanwhile, there’s 11/1 on offer for the Red Devils to beat City 1-0 for the third time in four meetings.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing