Paul Merson delivers his prediction for Man City v Man United

Paul Merson is tipping Manchester United and Manchester City to play out a 3-3 draw at The Etihad on Thursday night

jose mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho Photo: Hublot

Paul Merson is expecting to see Manchester United hold Manchester City to a thrilling 3-3 draw in Thursday’s crunch derby clash at The Etihad.

Manchester United head into the game fresh from securing their second successive 2-0 win in the top flight by beating Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday thanks to goals from Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney.

Manchester City, meanwhile, are bidding to get back to winning ways after the disappointment of their FA Cup semi-final defeat by Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday.

Manchester United are just a point behind Pep Guardiola’s men in the Premier League table and Jose Mourinho’s team know that a win will lift them into the top four.

However, Merson is expecting to see both of the clubs share the spoils on Thursday night in a high-scoring draw.

Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Merson said: “Fair play to Manchester United, they are rolling along at the moment. Game after game they pick up crucial wins.

“I watched them against Anderlecht and I thought the Belgium side were well on top in the first half, but United just find a way to win. They dig in, stay in the game and build from there. Going to Burnley is not easy but they put a performance in and won again.

This is a big, big game. Whoever loses this game will be out of the race for the top four. This is winner takes all and it’s as simple as that.

“Manchester City’s confidence will be shot after the defeat to Arsenal in the cup on Sunday but I think United’s advantage comes from having Marcus Rashford up front. If Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been playing up front I would have gone for City but Rashford’s pace could be a real problem for Pep Guardiola’s side.

“With this game, I’m trying to think about which team can stop the other but in truth I can’t see either side blunting the other.

“I don’t think City will be able to live with Rashford’s pace and then you look at the other side and with Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in the side, they will always score goals. With both teams needing all three points, I see this being a gung-ho encounter with plenty of goals.”

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Manchester United are also through to the Europa League semi-final after beating Anderlecht last week to set up a last-four meeting with Celta Vigo next month.

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