There are many important games on tap in the Premier League this weekend, but to the casual fan, none will be as big as the Manchester derby on Sunday. The city wide rivalry between Manchester City and Manchester United inspires fans across the region to cheer on their favoured clubs in a clash between archrivals.
The two sides played the derby earlier this season at Etihad Stadium. City won the previous meeting in a 1-0 final, though many football pundits criticized both teams for a lacklustre performance for such a highly anticipated meeting. Hopefully fans will be treated to a more exciting performance this week, especially with opportunities to make things interesting with a savvy wager on the derby.
This time the game will be played at Old Trafford, and both teams are positioned near the top of the league table. A win for the hosts can push the Red Devils into second place provided the bets on Arsenal fail to pay out if Burnley pulls off an upset in their meeting this week.
However, City can retake second place by bouncing back from a disappointing stretch, and also betting their hopes on that upset by Burnley. The blue Manchester side only has 5 league wins since the beginning of 2015, and only one of those wins occurred away from Etihad – a 4-1 romp over Stoke at Brittania.
A few notable players are unlikely to appear on the pitch Sunday. United boss Louis van Gaal ruled out Robin van Persie, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury since February.
Defender Luke Shaw strained his hamstring late last month, and will be unfit for the game on Sunday. 19 year old midfielder Andreas Pereira is also returning to Brazil for a youth national game, and will not be involved in the derby.
On the City front, striker Wilfried Bony will miss the game due to an ankle and a knee injury sustained before the club’s Monday game against Crystal Palace. Steven Jovetic and Dedryck Boyata have also been confirmed to miss the derby on Sunday.
The biggest loss may be captain Vincent Kompany. According to Manuel Pellegrini, Kompany drew a slight strain in his hamstring after the game against Palace, and will be a game day decision at Old Trafford.