Manchester City host Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday aiming to stop their local rivals joining this season’s title race.
City head into the weekend with a nine point advantage over United and if they can extend that to double figures it would be difficult to imagine Jose Mourinho’s side bridging the gap.
Both sides enjoyed success in the Champions League on Wednesday, although United’s result against Juventus was undoubtedly the more impressive.
The Red Devils triumphed 2-1 in Turin to boost their chances of reaching the knockout stage, while City thumped Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
The bookmakers have United at 7/1 to beat City, and that looks a huge price given their performance in Italy.
City will be without Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo this weekend, but Mourinho has more injury worries to contend with.
Romelu Lukaku is hoping to return to the squad after missing the last couple of matches with a hamstring problem, but Diogo Dalot and Antonio Valencia remain on the sidelines.
Paul Pogba also faces a race to be fit for the game, with the Frenchman unable to take part in full training on Friday. Pogba undertook an indoors session at United’s training complex and he will be assessed closer to kick-off time.
United will be eager to repeat last season’s victory in the corresponding fixture, where they recovered from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2.
They have now lost just two of their last eight meetings with City in all competitions and still lead the way in their previous Premier League encounters, winning 21 and drawing eight of their 42 games since the league was formed in 1992.
Sunday’s game could be a pivotal moment for United under Mourinho. A 12-point gap with 26 games to play isn’t insurmountable, but reducing the margin to six would be a huge statement of intent.
However, a point apiece wouldn’t be the worst result for either side and backing the draw at 17/4 could be the way to play this one.
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