Can Man United reignite the title race by beating Man City on Sunday?
Sunday's Manchester derby really is make or break for Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United side in the Premier League title race
Manchester United head into their crunch clash with Manchester City on Sunday in the rare position of being the underdogs in front of their home fans.
The Red Devils are currently the 23/10 outsiders to win on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola’s men the 6/5 favourites to claim all three points and underlined their status as the main title challengers this season.
If you’re thinking of backing Manchester United to win – and we always recommend you find safe places to bet – then you’re probably in the minority.
The simple fact of the matter is that Manchester City have been by far and away the Premier League’s top performing team this season. They’ve only dropped two points in 15 games so far and their free-flowing attacking football has been nothing short of brilliant.
Manchester United have not been doing badly, but already find themselves eight points behind the leaders after 15 games.
The Red Devils did underline their status as genuine title challengers last weekend when they secured an impressive 3-1 win at Arsenal, but even when Manchester City look on course to drop points, they are coming up with the goods to claim victories.
It’s a hallmark of champions, as the cliche goes, but it really seems as if the Citizens are the real deal.
Sunday’s clash represents a serious test for Guardiola’s men – but they have passed some others before this season, including beating the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool FC.
True, they will be playing away, but Manchester United are sure to feel the absence of Paul Pogba, who is suspended for three domestic games after his sending off at Arsenal last weekend.
If you were under any illusions about the importance of Pogba to this Manchester United team, then look no further than their record when he was on the sidelines with a hamstring injury for two months.
Mourinho is aiming to guide Manchester United to the Premier League title this season for the first time since their final triumph under Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2013.
They finished sixth last term and only qualified for the Champions League thanks to their Europa League triumph.
The pressure is very much on the Portuguese coach to deliver a Premier League title, and it would seem that their hopes of winning the trophy do indeed hinge on Sunday’s game.
Put simply, Manchester United must win. Lose, and they would be 11 points behind the leaders. Yes, there is the hectic festive period to come, but Manchester City are simply looking too solid in every department to expect them to drop lots of points over Christmas.
A draw really wouldn’t do Manchester United too much good, as it would still leave them eight points behind the leaders – a sizeable gap at any stage of the season.
The stage is set for a truly thrilling game. It seems crazy to refer to the game as Manchester United’s last chance of getting themselves back into the title race given that it’s still early December.
But such has been Manchester City’s stunning form this season that it really does seem to be make or break for the Red Devils this weekend.