THE Premier League could be sealed in the Manchester derby when runaway leaders Man City host their city rivals Man Utd at the Etihad. Dan McCulloch (@danmcc84) shares his best bets.
Man City v Man Utd| Saturday 7th April 2018, 17:30 | Sky Sports
I’ll be honest, when I first saw Manchester City were around Evens for a brief period of time my eyes almost popped out of my head. However, whilst I believe The Citizens are good value to win the game, I don’t want to put myself through 90 minutes of a Jose Mourinho masterclass in anti-football without having 0-0 and under 2.5 goals on my side.
Much has been made of how entertaining games between ‘The Big Six’ have been this season but Manchester United are somewhat of an outlier. Across 26 matches involving the top half dozen sides in the league, there have been 78 goals. This average of three per game drops to exactly two when just United games are considered (16 in eight encounters).
City are obviously a free scoring side and the 29 goals in their eight matches against the other members of this establishment does concern me a little. However, United managed a 0-0 draw at The Etihad last term and have also achieved this result at Anfield on both occasions since Mourinho joined the club.
When Antonio Conte took Chelsea up to play City a couple of months ago, he employed an ultra-defensive style and City struggled to break them down, with a scuffed finish eventually securing a single goal victory for Pep’s men. I expect Mourinho to employ a similar style as he will be absolutely desperate not to let The Citizens win the title by beating their closest rivals.
When the Portuguese was Chelsea boss he went to Anfield knowing that if Liverpool won the game they were near-certainties to win the league. His Chelsea side rarely entered the oppositions half before a Steven Gerrard slip let Demba Ba in to score on the stroke of half time. Liverpool attacked relentlessly in the second half but could not find an equalizer and with practically only their second attack of the game, Chelsea scored a second to win 2-0. City are a better side than Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool but I rarely back goals in a Mourinho game and certainly won’t here.
Since becoming United boss in away games to sides in the top half dozen, six of his nine matches have seen fewer than 2.5 goals scored. Going back to include his second spell as Chelsea boss, this record becomes 15 out of 21. All this leads me to conclude that the 21/20 BetVictor are offering on fewer than 2.5 goals to be scored is excellent value. Given Mourinho’s penchant for a 0-0 in such games – seven of these 22 matches have finished in this manner, I also like Sky Bet’s 12-1 on ‘No Goalscorer’.