What a difference a month makes. Seemingly destined for a big-money move to Chelsea this summer, Wayne Rooney is back to being flavour of the month at Old Trafford.
The Manchester United striker might not exactly have been in effusive form during his midweek post-match interview with ITV reporter Gabriel Clarke, but on the pitch his demeanour could not be faulted.
Hungry, eager and ruthless, Rooney scored two against Bayer Leverkusen and offered a performance that suggested he might yet be able to work alongside Robin Van Persie, the man who has unintentionally contributed to Rooney’s malaise by becoming the number one man since his move from Arsenal.
David Moyes insisted since day one that Rooney would not be sold, and while Rooney himself is yet to say he’d like to stay in Manchester, such represents his change in fortunes that not only was Sir Alex Ferguson speaking highly of him this week, but there is now talk of a new contact being offered.
On Sunday Rooney and co. make the very short trip across town to neighbours Manchester City, with the striker a tempting 8/1 to get off the mark first and continue his hot streak of three goals in his last two games. United famously won 3-2 at the City of Manchester Stadium last season with a last-minute free kick from Van Persie taking the spoils. The prolific Dutchman is one for the big occasion and can be backed at 11/8 to score at any time.
Three wins in Moyes’ first five games has not exactly represented the swashbuckling start that the Scot would have ideally wanted, but there can be little doubt that United looked somewhere closer to their free-flowing capabilities against Leverkusen.
Similarly, Manuel Pellegrini is yet to see what his talented City squad can really do, with their league return of two wins, one draw and one defeat matching that of their rivals. With a comfortable 3-0 win in the Czech republic in midweek, the Argentine will also be hoping that their European exploits can kick-start domestic form.
This fixture has been notoriously difficult to predict over the years, with the last six meetings seeing three wins each, alternating each time, with United due their turn tomorrow following City’s win at Old Trafford in April.
City are 6/5 to win and will be boosted by the return of captain Vincent Kompany, a player who has made a significant contribution to the derby in recent times, with his last four derby games having seen a red card, an own goal, a match winning goal and a 20th minute injury.
The draw is priced at 12/5 but these games rarely fail to throw up a winner and there hasn’t been a stalemate between these sides in the last eight meetings. With Rooney notorious for his goal streaks, he can be backed in a scorecast along with a United 1-0 win at 60/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.