Shaky United are going to struggle against City

MANCHESTER CITY vs MANCHESTER UNITED

SUNDAY – 1.00PM ITV1

THE city of Manchester dominated the early rounds in this year’s Premier League fight, but it’s been a difficult Christmas period for both clubs. Manchester City only picked up a point from their two away trips to West Brom and Sunderland, while Manchester United have lost their last two against Blackburn and Newcastle, conceding six goals.

Sir Alex Ferguson will have been absolutely fuming after Wednesday’s performance at Newcastle where his team were a shambles. They now have to pick themselves up for Sunday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium and both last year’s FA Cup semi-final defeat and the 6-1 pummelling in October will be fresh in their minds.

United are often at their most dangerous on the back of a defeat, but the defence is going through a torrid time at the moment. The goalkeeper position is a big problem, Rio Ferdinand just isn’t the player he once was and while Phil Jones is strong going forward, he makes too many mistakes at the back. United’s squad also isn’t anywhere near as good as that of their wealthy neighbours.

City finally won the trophy their fans craved back in May when they beat Stoke at Wembley and the holders are 13/2 with Coral to retain the trophy. Roberto Mancini’s main objective this season is clinching the league title, but he has so much strength in his squad that he can rest some key players if he wants and still field an awesome side.

The league leaders got back on track on Tuesday night when they beat Liverpool and they have won all 10 of their home league games this campaign, scoring 31 goals and conceding just four. Winning a Manchester derby is never easy, especially when a wounded United side has lost two on the bounce, but City are so strong at home that the 6/5 available with Coral has to be taken.

Plenty of punters will be expecting another high scoring thriller between these two, but Ferguson will be focusing strongly on shoring up the defence in training. City haven’t been as prolific going forward in recent weeks, either, and they were lucky to score three in midweek. Their defending has been excellent, though, conceding just once in their last five games and the outstanding Vincent Kompany is probably the most in-form player in the league at present.

­­Sporting Index are quoting goals at 2.7-2.9 and a sell has to be the call. I also wouldn’t put anyone off backing a City win to nil at 11/4 with Paddy Power.

POINTERS...

Manchester City at 5/4 with Coral

Manchester City to win to nil at 11/4 with Paddy Power

Sell total goals at 2.7 with Sporting Index

FLEETWOOD vs BLACKPOOL

TOMORROW – 3.00PM

THERE’S another North-West derby this weekend when Blackpool travel the short distance to Fleetwood. The Cod Army are currently second in the Blue Square Bet Premier League and they are 6/5 favourites with the sponsor to clinch the title.

Blue Square are also offering 1000/1 for any of their clubs to reach the final and while there is little chance of that happening, Fleetwood have it in them to upset their local rivals tomorrow. Micky Mellon’s side have lost just three league games this season, and only one at home. Their last defeat was way back in early October and they stuffed Southport 6-0 on New Year’s Day.

Fleetwood are the top scorers in the Blue Square Bet Premier with an impressive 57 goals in their 26 games. Jamie Vardy and Andrew Mangan have been particularly impressive this season and they will cause problems for the Seasiders.

Blackpool have made a decent start to life back in the Championship, though, and they are just one point off the play-off places. A disappointing 3-0 defeat at Birmingham on New Year’s Eve was followed by a 3-0 home victory over Middlesbrough on Monday and they will provide a stern test for their non-league neighbours tomorrow.

Ian Holloway’s side are understandably the favourites for this one at 4/5 with Blue Square, but they have only won three of their 13 league games on the road this term. Promotion is clearly the main aim for Blackpool and although they will want to win this local derby, it perhaps isn’t a priority.

Coral offer 7/2 for Fleetwood to land the spoils and that is worth a speculative bet. They will be bang up for this one and will be hoping to get a big Premier League team in the next round.

Both teams have been involved in high scoring games this season and I can see this being an exciting game. Spread bettors should buy goals at 3.0 with Sporting Index.

POINTERS...

Fleetwood at 7/2 with Coral

Buy total goals at 3.0 with Sporting Index

FULHAM vs CHARLTON

TOMORROW – 3.00PM

FULHAM are on a high after beating Arsenal and drawing with Chelsea over Christmas. However, they are still only 14th in the table and inconsistency has been their main issue.

Charlton are five points clear at the top of the League One table and even though they lost at Leyton Orient on New Year’s Eve, they bounced back against Brentford on Monday. Chris Powell has put together a really decent side and they will surely be plying their trade in the Championship next season.

The Cottagers are rightly favourites for this, but a best-priced 4/9 with Blue Square is too short in my book. I’d be tempted to lay them at that price on Betdaq, but a better option could be to back Charlton draw no bet at 9/2 with Coral. They are generally 6/1 shots to win, but the draw no bet offers a handy insurance.

I think it could turn out to be a very tight contest and it wouldn’t surprise me if the first goal proved to be the winner. Coral offer a massive 18/1 about a 1-0 away win and that is worth a small interest, while I would advise spread bettors to sell goals at 2.8 with Sporting Index.

POINTERS...

Charlton draw no bet at 9/2 with Coral

Charlton 1-0 at 18/1 with Coral

Sell total goals at 2.8 with Sporting Index