Man United’s captain fantastic boosted to score first v City

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Fresh from an impressive audition to be the next Manchester United captain, where he opened the scoring against West Ham with his best David Beckham v Wimbledon impression, Wayne Rooney is expected to set the tone again in the Manchester derby.

United are set to be in for a long night against Manchester City, according to the match betting market. The Red Devils are 12/5 to win the match, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side 11/10 to prevail and a draw rated a 13/5-chance.

If David Moyes’ men are going to wrestle some momentum away from their closest rivals for the season’s run in, then they’ll need Rooney to fire, especially with Robin van Persie sidelined.

Should that happen, then it’ll be Ladbrokes customers who benefit, as the England man has been boosted from 6/1 to score the game’s first goal to 7s.

Somewhat surprisingly for a front man of Rooney’s ilk, his halfway line goal against the Hammers was only the second time he’s opened the scoring this term, however his impressive record against the Citizens means he can’t be ruled out to add to that tally.

The former Everton youth has scored 11 goals in 24 appearances against the men from Ashton New Road, including three in his last three outings against the enemy.

Six of those 11 strikes have set the scoreboard in motion and he’ll no doubt be targeting a seventh stalemate breaker when the Old Trafford clash kicks off, to give his side a solid footing in the match.

There are stats that suggest Rooney won’t get the ball rolling. He’s only scored three of his 13 league goals at the Theatre of Dreams this campaign, while United have scored the first goal of the game in less than half of their outings.

However, with Rooney likely to be handed the armband for perhaps the biggest match of his career, its influence can spur the number 10 on to smash those trends to smithereens.

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.