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Stuart Dalgleish 29th Apr 2012 - 15:27

City too slick for United

Man City v Man Utd preview - Monday 20:00 live on Sky Sports 1

For years and years United (5/2) have had a good old chuckle at their inferior neighbours City (5/4, draw 2/1), but after Monday night they might have to accept that they're going to be the team to beat over the next few seasons.

The Blues first made United stand up and take notice when they demolished them 6-1 (250/1 for a repeat) at Old Trafford earlier in the season, many thought then that they would win the league at a canter.

You have to give credit to Sir Alex Ferguson's men though, they don't give up without a fight and they started their customary charge at the start of the year by winning 11 out of 12 games to surge past their rivals at the top of the league.

Two slip-ups by the Red Devils though, combined with City's return to form, means that we've got as good as a winner-takes-all showdown at the Etihad on Monday night.

Should Fergie's team win then they may as well open the bubbly, because they won't throw away a six point lead with two games to play, but the neutrals amongst us (so that makes everybody other than United fans!) would surely love to see it go down to the final day, and that's what would happen if the hosts pick up all three points.

If you went back a couple of weeks ago, you'd have said this was an away win, but now I think we'll have a really good battle on our hands and the pace and movement from City could be the deciding factor.

This precision football was how the Red Devils came unstuck against Wigan and Everton; neat give and goes are the hallmark of Roberto Martinez's team, while the Toffees played some great stuff last weekend and were unlucky to only draw that match.

Three players that the visiting team will be all too wary of are David Silva (11/1 first goal), Sergio Aguero (7/1) and Carlos Tevez (7/1); the attacking trio have looked sensational in the last few weeks and you'd have to think they would've had the title wrapped up by now if those three would've been in tandem all season long instead of just a few games.

It should be interesting to see how United's defence cope with these three, especially after conceding four at home against Everton; Jonny Evans (40/1) has had widespread praise this season and the Northern Irishman is definitely a much-improved player, but he was shown up against Moyes' boys and his confidence might've taken a knock from that.

Evans, along with Antonio Valencia (16/1) might have been thinking his days were numbered when United spent big during the summer, but they've both proved to be absolutely huge players for the defending champions, and the size of their squad has certainly helped soften the blow when key players have got injured.

Conversely, this is where City have surprisingly struggled, Silva was not performing during the winter months and with Yaya Toure (14/1) away at the Africa Cup of Nations their squad looked like it was lacking genuine world class players in reserve, you can be sure that Roberto Mancini (or maybe a new manager) will look to strengthen this summer.

For now though, there is no doubting City's quality, Tevez and Aguero have linked up to devastating effect in the last few games, racking up nine goals between them in their last three PL matches - it's 17/2 they both score at anytime.

We've included the ex-Manchester United front-man as one part of our Match Winner offers on this huge game - we've enhanced the price of the Argentine scoring in a City win from 16/5 to 4/1.

To not be seen as favouring the hosts though, we've also got the same offer on Wayne Rooney - again we've enhanced the price of the fiery forward netting in a Man Utd win, from 16/5 to 5/1.

If you don't think United are good enough to emerge with all three points though, then the 2/1 available on Rooney just scoring in the 90 minutes will appeal, you're not likely to see him at that big a price for some time.

I think United are definitely good enough to come away with the maximum haul; but this match could be a really close and nervy affair - I like the look of under 2.5 goals at 11/10 and also United in the draw no bet market is definitely worth a punt at 11/8.

Late drama is normally always on the cards when the Red Devils are involved, and it's 9/4 that we see a goal after the 86th minute.



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