Manchester City and Manchester United will be going in search of the local bragging rights when they go head-to-head at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
City, who won the reverse fixture 2-0 at Old Trafford back in November, will be aiming to strengthen their grip on top spot, whereas United will be looking to bolster their hopes of securing a place in the top four. The outcome of Saturday’s clash between Liverpool and West Ham United could also determine the pre-match mindset of both sides.
City will enter the contest chasing a third successive victory in all competitions. After beating Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park last weekend, Pep Guardiola’s side booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a routine 2-0 win over Peterborough United.
READMORE: Pep Guardiola sees Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United joining Premier League trend
United, meanwhile, will be looking to get back to winning ways after back-to-back draws against Atletico Madrid and Watford. However, they are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions.
But what do the pundits think will be the outcome of Sunday’s highly anticipated match? below, MEN Sports you have taken a look at some predictions ahead of the clash.
Mark Lawrenson – BBC Sport
“This is probably City’s most important game of the season,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport. “We saw what Tottenham did to them on the counter-attack at Etihad Stadium a couple of weeks ago and United have the players to carry out a similar game plan.
“I’m still not entirely convinced by United under Ralf Rangnick but they do always create chances – they were held by Watford last week, but they had enough opportunities to win three games. So, I think United will score – but then they have to keep City out.
“I don’t see that happening.”
Forecast: City 2-1 United.
Paul Merson – Sportskeeda
“Manchester City are going to win this game of football, easy,” Merson told Sportskeeda. “Last year, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge, Manchester United would have had a chance with a lot of pace on the counter-attack, but now, with Cristiano Ronaldo up front, they are not going to trouble their cross-town rivals due to his lack of pace from him.
“I can’t see Manchester City not winning this game and if Manchester United decides to open up the football match, they could lose 3 or 4-0. I have no idea what they are doing at the moment and they’ve not got an identity, so these are worrying times for Manchester United.”
Forecast: City 3-0 United.
Michael Owen – BetVictor
“City weren’t at their best against Everton, but they did what champions do, and that was to win the game,” Owen told BetVictor. “I’ve got to talk about [Jack] Grealish’s goal against Peterborough in the FA Cup.
“I’m not sure what was better, the pass from [Phil] Foden or the first touch from Grealish. Absolutely superb.
“This is a huge few weeks for United, they’ve got some tough games on the way. They’ve had a habit in recent seasons of getting positive results at the Etihad, but I can’t see it this season.
“City will be too strong, too focused for United here and they’ll control this game. United will score, but City will win 3-1.”
Forecast: City 3-1 United.
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