For fans of backing the outsider in a two-horse race, there has never been a better opportunity, especially when one of the beasts has a galloping start on the other.
In this case it is Manchester United whose hooves are thudding into the turf ahead of their derby collision with Manchester City, while Manuel Pellegrini’s charges appear weighed down like a pack horse.
Five successive Premier League victories for Louis van Gaal’s men have elevated the Red Devils back into third spot just as City have hit the button marked ‘title tilt self destruct’.
The Citizens have slumped to fourth off the back of three successive defeats on the road and for the first time since September now sit below bitter rivals United.
The best news for Ladbrokes customers is that United, rather than City, are still the outsiders to claim top spot in the north west at 6/4 and 8/15 respectively – with Liverpool out of the equation at 50/1.
It is true that City have fared far better in the Manchester derby in recent seasons, claiming four straight victories, but all that surely looks set to change at Old Trafford next.
Criticism of his team’s style of play earlier in the season was always water off a duck’s back for the vastly experienced LVG, but now he’s seemingly cracked the code, even the performances are matching the results.
There is a swagger back in the Red Devil ranks and this is understandable when they have triumphed 13-2 on aggregate over their last five league outings.
Then there is the fact that no team in the top flight has picked up more points at home than the 40 United have banked going into the derby.
Looking beyond the big match, some might point to a more genteel run-in for City on paper, but when you’ve just lost to Burnley and Crystal Palace there are no guaranteed provisions of points.
It’s time to accept the pendulum has swung back into the red, for this season at least.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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