There’s plenty at stake when the 174th Manchester derby kicks off at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night. So what does the form guide tell us is likely to happen?
Always a combustible derby, City’s rise to the top of English football in recent years has added more even more intrigue to the game. And with just one point separating the teams this is one of the most highly anticipated derbies in years.
Man City edged the first encounter between ‘Galactico’ managers Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in the Premier League at the beginning of the season.
But now both sides are juking for a Champions League position at the business-end of the season it should be an intriguing encounter, with three points highly coveted by both sides.
Bookies have positioned United as outsiders in their free bet offers for the game, but Mourinho will be smarting after losing to Guardiola in September and desperate for revenge.
FORM GUIDE – OVERALL
United are in slightly better form coming in to the game, with victory in their last three games and an unbeaten run that stretched back to defeat against Chelsea in October.
There have been plenty of draws along the way, but United have four wins in the last six – twice the number City have recorded.
Ambitions dented by an FA Cup Semi-final loss to Arsenal last weekend, City’s only goal now is to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
Defeat to Chelsea in early April was City’s only defeat since January and convincing wins against Hull and Southampton have followed.
Over the last 20 games both teams have hit over thirty goals, with City scoring three more. But United have conceded 14 fewer goals, highlighting just how mean their defence is under Jose Mourinho this season.
FORM GUIDE – HOME VS AWAY
City’s home form has been very strong this season, with only a single defeat to Chelsea denting an unbeaten record at the Etihad.
United have only lost away from home twice this season, and shown better away than home form in the Premier League this season.
A run of four away wins ahead of this game underlines United’s strong recent form – with a total of five wins in the last six games.
The Derby could well turn out to be a story of attack v defence. Man City have stronger offensive averages across the last ten games in all competitions, while United are stronger in defence.
History often weighs heavy on Derby fixtures, and City have won three and drawn one of the last six at home against United. Overall City also edge recent meetings, only losing twice in the last six to their rivals.
One of the most finely poised Manchester Derbies in recent years could be settled by the finest of margins, with neither side in dominant form. One thing is for certain though: it will be far from boring.
Statistical graphics provided by football predictions site KickOff.