Managers the focus of Man City v Man Utd

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The Manchester derby will always be an important date in any football fans calendar and this year is no difference.

Manchester City are currently fourth in the Premier League, while Manchester United trail them by four points in sixth.

Whoever emerges victorious in the Sunday afternoon game will be in a stronger position to make it into European football next season.

Ladbrokes make the Citizens 5/6 favourites for the game, while the Red Devils are the 7/2 underdogs.

The game itself will of course be a feisty affair given the rivalry between the pair, but looking at the two men on the touchline also makes for an interesting discussion.

Manuel Pellegrini is on his way out of the Etihad after the club announced in February that Pep Guardiola will take over for the start of next term.

Since this decision was made public, Pellegrini’s men have suffered a dip in form that has seen them surrender the title race.

Since the start of February, City have lost four times across all competitions and have only win three games in normal time during that run.

Clearly, his departure has effected the Chilean manager, but he needs to refocus against his team’s cross-city rivals in order to make history.

Not since Joe Mercer in the 1960s has a Man City manager beat United four times and this is the one opportunity Pellegrini has to do so.

Setting down a historic marker for Guardiola to match would be a good way to leave a mark on the Etihad.

Similarly, in the opposite dugout Louis van Gaal will be under a lot of pressure having bowed out of the Europa League at the hands of Liverpool.

The Dutch manager, like Pellegrini, isn’t expected to be around next season, but a Manchester derby win would definitely strengthen his position.

Considering Van Gaal still has a job to save, while his opposite number has floundered since his departure was announced, it would be sensible to back the Red Devils to win.

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

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.