This weekend’s Premier League action is headlined by the latest edition of the Manchester derby as City put their 21-game winning run up against United’s unbeaten away record on Sunday afternoon.
The two local rivals cancelled each other out when they met earlier in the campaign but it could be a very different story this time around as we begin our look at the best top-flight bets with the clash at the Etihad Stadium.
Solskjaer’s Shot-Shy Side to Pay the Price
The landscape of the Premier League has changed significantly since City and United fought to a standstill in the reverse fixture back in December, with the two sides sitting eighth and ninth respectively after that goalless draw.
Fast-forward just under three months and Manchester is the dominant force in the standings with City and United first and second respectively.
However, one of these two teams have changed their fortunes considerable more than the other with City storming to the title at present, opening up a 14-point lead with their seemingly never-ending winning run.
Their latest victims were Wolves, who were swatted aside 4-1 on Tuesday night, and Pep Guardiola’s men are
1/2 favourites to bring up win No.22 in all competitions at United’s expense. City are unmatchable in every facet of the game right now, keeping more clean sheets than any other side while averaging over two goals a game at the other end of the field.
With very few injuries to speak of, Guardiola has had the luxury of being able to rotate his star-studded squad, making it very tough to go against City, even though United have won on their last two visits to the Etihad and are unbeaten in 21 away league games.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not done too badly pitting his wits against Guardiola as United boss, winning three of their seven encounters, but it will take a huge effort from his increasingly toothless side to get the better of City this time around.
Wednesday’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace was their third blank in a row as the visitors registered just one shot on target. With key playmaker Bruno Fernandes looking in need of a break, it is tough to see how United will break down City and taking a home win to zero at
13/10 looks the safe play for the derby.
Sheffield Trip Can Bring an End to Saints’ Struggles
Southampton are in freefall at the moment after taking one point from the last 27 on offer but could stop the rot when they head to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United on Saturday. The Saints are in danger of being dragged into the relegation fight so are in need of the points and can justify their
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have won all three meetings with the Yorkshire side since they returned to the Premier League, with former Blade Che Adams scoring three times in those games. This is a good opportunity for Adams and strike partner Danny Ings to get back amongst the goals with United missing a whole host of defenders.
The Steel City outfit did pick up a rare win over Aston Villa last time out but were somewhat fortuitous to claim the victory as the Villans wasted some good chances. Southampton, who have a few key players back for this game, won’t be so kind if United present them with the same opportunities.
Few Thrills in Midlands Derby
Aston Villa will hope to produce a positive response to that loss in Sheffield when they host Wolves in a game that promises very few goals, particularly in the absence of Jack Grealish. Villa boss Dean Smith will be without his key playmaker for the fourth game in a row having lost two of the previous three he’s missed.
Even when Grealish was around, goals have been hard to come by for Villa, who haven’t scored more than one in a game in their last seven outings. Their strength lies in defence with only City keeping more clean sheets than them and they can shut down a toothless Wolves team.
Wolves have created the fewest chances of any Premier League side in the last eight game-weeks, making ‘No’ on the both teams to score market at
20/21 an appealing option. The last two meetings between these Midlands rivals have finished 1-0, while 16 of Villa’s 25 Premier League games this season have seen at least one side fail to score.
Beware the Wounded Foxes
Leicester are in danger of history repeating itself when it comes to losing their grip on a top-four spot which has long been in their possession this term. A surge by the chasing pack has closed the gap on the third-placed Foxes to four points but they could give themselves a bit of breathing space by beating Brighton at
39/20 on Saturday night.
Injuries are a big issue for Leicester, who will again be missing the likes of James Maddison and Harvey Barnes, but they showed enough in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley to suggest they can cope against those sides at the wrong end of the Premier League table.
Brighton have never beaten Leicester in the Premier League, losing 3-0 at the King Power Stadium in December, and they are winless in four. The Seagulls have been a little unlucky in most of those games, particularly in last week’s loss to West Brom, but they are three points above the drop zone for a reason. Brighton have won just once at home in the league all season and are worth opposing again.
*All odds correct at time of writing.