The Manchester derby is always a fascinating battle between two global heavyweights, but the latest edition will feature some added intrigue based on the timing of the showdown.
Saturday’s meeting at Old Trafford (8:30 a.m. ET) for Matchday 11 of the English Premier League season is the third in a series of three matches that were reported to be critical for the job security of Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. His Red Devils beat Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday (3-0) and then came away with a 2-2 road draw at Atalanta on Tuesday to stay atop their Champions League group.
Manchester United (5th, 17 points) can next catch its intra-city rivals in the Premier League standings with a home win and stay in the thick of the race for the title heading into the November international break for World Cup qualifiers. A win would allow Solskjaer to keep working in relative serenity during the following two weeks in preparation for a year-end run of matches that will pose a stern test.
MORE: Man United’s full season schedule & highlights
But Solskjaer, who will be without influential midfielder Paul Pogba due to suspension, has some injury headaches to deal with ahead of the big match against the Red Devils’ rivals. Star center back Raphael Varane is out for up to a month with a hamstring injury, and fellow defender Victor Lindelof has a knock that kept him out of the midweek match against Atalanta. Whether Lindelof is available could significantly impact Manchester United’s tactical approach.
Man City also sits atop its Champions League group after a big midweek win against Club Brugge, but it’s coming off a Premier League home loss to Crystal Palace and penalty-shootout elimination in the League Cup (Carabao Cup) to West Ham United. Pep Guardiola’s men will be desperate not to lose more ground to Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
Below are three ways to bet this game, preceded by the basic odds and TV/streaming information. All odds courtesy of DraftKings.
How to watch Manchester United vs. Manchester City
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 6
- Time: 8:30 a.m. ET
- TV Channels: NBCSN
- Spanish-language TV: Telemundo, Universo
- Streaming: fuboTV, DAZN (CA)
The match from Old Trafford will be carried in English (NBCSN) and Spanish (Telemundo, Universo) in the USA.
All three of those channels can be streamed on fuboTV, which offers a free 7-day trial for new users. In Canada, the English Premier League is available exclusively, live and on-demand, on DAZN. And DAZN offers new customers a 30-day free trial period.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City betting odds
- Moneyline: Man United +380 / Draw +310 / Man City -145
- Spread (Asian Handicap): Man United +0.5 (+125) / Man City -0.5 (-140)
- O/U 2.5 total goals (Asian totals): Over -165 / Under +140
- Both Teams To Score: Yes -175 / No +135
Man City is the betting favorite on the road against its rival and a top-five team. The negative press around Man United, the criticism of Solskjaer and the Ronaldo-dependency are all likely factors leading to this kind of line taking shape.
The early betting also projects that it will be a high-scoring game and that both teams find the back of the net.
Pick: Man United double chance win/tie (+125)
Manchester City will go into Old Trafford and dictate possession. That’s just what Guardiola’s team does. And that would probably suit Solskjaer (below) and Manchester United just fine.
The Red Devils have looked more comfortable when they can sit back, stay compact, absorb pressure and counterattack. We saw this to be the case last weekend against Tottenham, and they did not allow Spurs to have a shot on target for the entire match.
MORE: Updated Champions League group standings
Between last season and the current one, Manchester United has a 8W-2L-4D record in Premier League matches during which it holds less than 50 percent of possession. The only two losses (vs. Tottenham and Liverpool) were conditioned by red cards that left Man United down to 10 men.
So while most money on this game will be siding with the reigning Premier League champions Man City, the above trend is screaming for a contrarian play: Manchester United at +125 for a win or tie … at home.
Pick: Man City Under 1.5 total team goals (+130)
If you’re on board with the premise that the match sets up favorably for Man United, then the opponent’s goal total makes for a potentially interesting bet.
Two of those 14 Premier League matches with less than 50 percent possession for Manchester United came last season against Man City. And the Red Devils earned shutouts in both matches: a 2-0 win and a 0-0 draw. Still think Man City is too good not to nick at least a goal? The Under 1.5 Man City team total is available at plus money.
It’d be a surprise if Solskjaer didn’t have Man United in a 5-3-2 (or 3-5-2) formation for the third straight match. He had to abandon it on Tuesday against Atalanta after Varane went down to injury. Without Lindelof available, Solskjaer opted to revert to a 4-2-3-1 after he subbed for Varane. If Lindelof recovers for Saturday’s match (and all indications are that it was a minor issue), then the 3-5-2 is back on the table with Eric Bailly, Lindelof and Harry Maguire.
Pick: Cristiano Ronaldo two or more shots on target (+150)
Ronaldo (above) relishes the big games and his first home derby match since his return to Man United is a massive occasion. And if the game in fact turns into a counterattacking exercise for the home team, the hard-running Ronaldo should excel in the open field. That makes two or more shots on target at +150 a tempting bet.
But there’s an argument to be made that if Man United go with a 3-5-2, the presence of Edinson Cavani alongside Ronaldo at forward could potentially take away opportunities from the Portuguese superstar. Then again, they worked so well together against Tottenham that they could also create more opportunities to share. Ronaldo has been on an island for much of the season and he came alive with Cavani attracting some of the defensive attention.
MORE: Why Cristiano Ronaldo left Juventus for Man United
Additionally, Ronaldo should see significant minutes. The match is likely to be a tight affair, and it’s hard to see Solskjaer pulling the 36-year-old off the field unless they’re on the wrong end of a Man City thrashing. With an international break coming up, there’s no need to save up Ronaldo for upcoming matches.
One last statistical point: In the 10 matches he has started for Man United, Ronaldo has two or more shots on target on six occasions, per FBref stats. That clip is enough to deserve a flyer.