Rewind to the end of the 2012-13 season, and everything looked rosy for Manchester United. After rewriting the wrongs of the previous campaign, when Man City stole the title with a last-gasp Sergio Aguero strike, the Salford-based outfit was back on their perch. Fast-forward seven years and things couldn’t have gone much worse.
With City winning the Premier League several times since, and Pep Guardiola’s regime ushering in a new era of dominance, United lagged behind, finishing second to their fierce rivals since they last won the league under Sir Alex Ferguson. Many people believe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will break the curse and regain their crown as kings of Manchester but is it wishful thinking?
If Man United are to overcome Man City, they need to be consistent all season long, but the players must also give themselves breathing space by beating the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne on the pitch. Unfortunately, recent history isn’t in their favor as it’s been a one-sided affair since 2013.
For example, The Citizens won four successive derbies under Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini up until 2015. And, that’s without factoring in the 6-1 romp at Old Trafford. Manchester Utd has had some success. Yet, Poor performances often undo their good work in the return leg – a 3-1 defeat at home in the EFL Cup last year meant they were knocked out in the semi-finals – which is why the odds for the overall standings place City healthily above their opponents. You can check out live odds for the 2020 EPL season to see how the bookmakers believe the status quo will remain the same this year. This website also provides information on betting on futures and lists the bonuses the bookmakers offer.
One thing that stands Manchester United in good stead is the club’s success in the transfer market. Edinson Cavani, for instance, scored two goals in the win over Southampton when it looked as if The Red Devils might falter. Of course, it’s Bruno Fernandes who is the glue holding the midfield together, linking the middle of the park with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood. The Portuguese international has scored 15 times in 23 appearances in the Premier League, with 10 assists, propelling United to within five points of first. More importantly, it puts them one point above City and in the driving seat to turn a decent start into a memorable one.
Champions League Exit
There is one game left in the Champions League group stages, and United has a stiff task to qualify for the knockout stages. Poetically, this might favor Solskjaer’s team domestically as it would result in fewer fixtures and a chance to rotate his squad for important Premier League games.
On the other hand, The Citizens are evidently aiming for European success for the first time since the European Cup Winners Cup in 1970. The main man, De Bruyne, has already spoken about how the team wants to prove their credentials in Europe’s premier competition, potentially leaving the door open for United.
Let’s face it – Man City haven’t been convincing in the league at all this year, and they already look as if they’ll struggle to fight a war on two fronts. Still, United will have to show the kind of consistency they haven’t achieved since Ferguson’s departure.
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