After two years in which power switched temporarily to west London and the east midlands, the expectation is that Manchester will resurface as the Premier League’s capital city in 2016-17, with its two clubs clear of the competition in the league winner betting.
The question therefore is: if this term’s title race truly is Manchester City versus Manchester United, just how significant was the former’s matchday four victory over the latter at Old Trafford, which was secured 2-1 courtesy of goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho?
Judging by recent campaigns, the answer is very. In six of the past eight seasons, the first Manchester derby in the Premier League produced a winner and on every single one of those occasions, the side in question went on to finish higher in the table.
The importance of landing the initial blow has grown greater lately, with three of the four victors in the last five years going on to be crowned champions, and indeed Man City are getting better at striking it, doing so in 2011-12, 2013-14 and 2014-15, ending up top twice and second once.
Man United by contrast have won top-flight derby number one only once this decade, in Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2012-13 swansong, and wound up a full 11 points above their neighbours.
So the trends suggest that the Citizens’ current advantage is stronger than the three-point barrier between the pair implies, and justifies their movement into odds-on favouritism in the title betting at 5/6, whereas Jose Mourinho’s men have drifted out to 9/2 after their perfect start was spoiled.
A wonderful weekend for Pep Guardiola’s squad was completed on Sunday when the sole other club with a flawless 2016-17 record, Chelsea, surrendered it with a 2-2 draw away to Swansea. Antonio Conte’s Blues are 5/1 to finish first after falling two points behind.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.