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Antony Heath 6th Aug 2011 - 18:06

Man United to pay the penalty

Following the return to action for the football leagues, two of the big guns now open their seasons account as Manchester United take on their "noisy neighbours" for the first silverware of the new season.

This is City's first opportunity to showcase yet more expensive signings, and make a statement to United, as 5 of the last 6 Community Shield winners have gone onto land the Premiership it's a good precursor to the league.

The two Manchester clubs normally manage to produce a result when they face each other as only 1 of the last 14 has ended in a draw. That's a stark contrast to the community shield that's seen 3 out of the last 4 being settled on penalties. One of these stats is about to change!

Manchester City (21/10) will be without Carlos Tevez as they have given the want away striker an extended break and he doesn't return until Monday. City fans won't be worrying too much though as his place will likely be taken by the £38m Sergio Aguero (6/1 first, 7/4 Anytime), who will be wanting to make an impact in English football.

United (7/5) will be without several regulars as they are set to rest some after an extensive pre-season in America. They will definitely not field Carrick, Rafael or Hernandez as all 3 are nursing injuries and Sir Alex is taking no risks. There's every chance we'll see some of the new big money recruits such as David de Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young.

The match should be an action packed and full blooded derby with no-one willing to give an inch. There's a very good chance of goals too as the last 4 cup meetings between these two have yielded 16 goals. Regardless of starting XI's there should be plenty of desire to win and get one over the local rivals for the season ahead. The Intensity and Emotion is sure to be high and both managers will be experimenting and tinkering ready for the new season.

My prediction is a thrilling 2-2 draw with plenty of blood and thunder tackles and penalty area action and then Joe Hart being Man City's penalty shootout hero.

From the betting perspective these games can be hard to read - especially when there's so much uncertainty over who is set to play. However we have a huge range of markets - a whopping 184 in total so there plenty of value to be had. We even have a match winner special of any new signing to score the first goal at a cracking 10/3 - for that price you win if any player signed in the 2011 summer transfer window bags the first.

Top bets for the match:

Draw @ 21/10 - There should be goals but the match going to penalties is the selection, especially with recent seasons result.

Man City on Penalties @ 5/1 - Should the match go to penalties, Man City

Yaya Toure anytime scorer @ 11/2 - He scored against United in the cup in the last meeting at Wembley and was one of the best signings last season.

Over 2.5 goals @ 6/5 - There have been goals between them recently and that should continue, especially for a start of season fixture.

Time of 1st Card 1st to 15th minute @ 16/5 - There is bound to be some 'meaty' tackles early on and the referee will probably want to stamp his authority early with a yellow.


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