Focus on the touchline for first new-era Manchester derby

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The footballing world will get an early glimpse of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola’s renewed battle lines in China.

As the new managers at Manchester United and Manchester City respectively, their rivalry will take centre-stage more than once this Premier League season. The International Champions Cup is just the warm-up.

The local foes will meet half-way around the world for a pre-season clash, with both new bosses smarting from recent defeats.

United took a heavy 4-1 beating to Borussia Dortmund in their first outing in this off-season competition, while Guardiola lost his first game in charge against former employers Bayern Munich.

Their team selection has blended familiar faces with emerging talent and there’s no reason to believe that method will change in the face of a far-reaching Manchester derby.

We make Guardiola’s men the favourites for victory, at a price of 13/10. The Red Devils can be backed with us at 19/10, while the draw is 12/5 chance.

Both teams finding the net is also fancied, at odds of 8/13, while a contest containing three goals or more is another odd-on shot at 5/6.

That latter punt may not be worth taking on too heavily considering Guardiola suggested his main aim for the game was to come through it with “no injuries”, while the playing surface at the Beijing National Stadium may come into question with heavy thunderstorms forecast.

If the early questions about the Spaniard’s conflict are anything to go by, this will be a season in which the Manchester derby takes on an even larger media presence.

Already the former Barcelona boss has been asked if he will shake Mourinho’s hand.

Thankfully, Guardiola chose not to fan the flames, responding tactfully: “We are polite guys – why not?”

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.