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Nic Ladds 19th Sep 2009 - 13:18

City to be shown as pretenders, not contenders

Plenty of mind games, plenty of pre match hype and two former co-workers going head-to-head, yes it is the Manchester derby and on current form punters may latch on to the 5/1 available on Man City.

Mark Hughes and his millions have made a blistering start to the season winning all four matches and only conceding two goals in the process which may have you question just why Man Utd are as short as 8/13?

Well, it may be short or it may not be depending on whether you consider Man City to be contenders or pretenders to Sir Alex Ferguson's crown as managing the top team in Manchester and indeed the Premier League.

City have looked the part in their previous games, especially when dismantling Arsenal 4-2 last time but they draw up to battle today without a host of attacking options including Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and most significantly Carlos Tevez who will not get the chance to face his old club.

This may well leave Craig Bellamy as the lone striker and he is available at 9/1 to bag the first goal but with support coming from Stephen Ireland and Shaun Wright - Phillips they may be better options in the to score anytime market at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively.

Barring a shock loss away at Burnley, United have looked impressive also and their 3-1 win against Spurs last week was a most accomplished performance and with Wayne Rooney scoring his fifth goal in as many league games you wouldn't bet against him being first on the score sheet at 4/1.

Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen need to start improving their goal scoring record and are both 5/1 to set the ball rolling and they will need to be on form against City's miserly defence which had not conceded until against Arsenal, meaning perhaps the loss of their strikers won't be the end of the world.

While City are much improved, United simply lose at Old Trafford so rarely that it is hard to back them with confidence despite them being 5/1 and a draw at 13/5 could be the better shout.

The Red Devils did lose to City at home in February 2008 but since then have won 23, drawn two and lost just one of their home Premier League games and a 1-0 or 2-1 victory to the home side looks fair at 5/1 and 13/2 respectively.

This will most likely be settled by the odd goal and it is easy to see both sides scoring which brings over two match goals at 4/5 and both teams to score at 8/11 in to play, while 1-1 could be popular at 6/1.

An interesting stat is that the Sky Blues have led 1-0 at half time in all four of their Premier League matches this season so a small bet on Man City/Man Utd in the double market at 20/1 is definitely worth an investment given how United so often come back late on.

This should be a fascinating encounter and will go a long way to ascertaining whether City are going to be the real deal this season or whether they will be put back in their place by their proven rivals.

Man Utd to win 2-1 - 13/2

Man City/Man Utd - 20/1


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