Manchester Derby Preview: 18X Return for United HT Draw FT?

Current Form

United have gone on a fantastic run of wins since losing to Manchester City in the first game of this season. Ten Hag understood the limitations of this squad better after that game and improved the foundation of the team with six clean sheets in those ten games, conceding six goals in those games, with three in one game, away to Aston Villa.

That said, their expected goals against in those games were eight goals. Many of those games were won by narrow margins. For example, United have had 126 shots from inside the box this season while giving up 108 shots inside the penalty box to other teams. Other sides have not taken their chances well, as United has scored 18 while its opponents have only scored 10.

Manchester City by contrast have had 185 shots within the penalty box and score 29 goals. That is actually the same ratio (15%) as United, but they have just created much more opportunities.

City have averaged 2.3 xG in the league this season but that has dropped to 2.13 in the past six games, with their actual goals scored in those six games being 1.3. Does that mean we can expect a reaction today from City? It does increase the likelihood of an improved performance, especially given the over-performance of United’s defence.

City has showed that they are still capable of blowing big teams away as they showed recently in their cup game against Chelsea where they where 3-0 up at HT.

Formation Surprises

Both manager will likely tweak their formations or players to get an edge over the other manager. United have been very predictable in their current run with more or less the same formation and line up. City have a very standard formation but are continually changing up the players. There risks to both. Personally, I’d like to see Foden start after his hatrick against United last time.


Feels like a hard game to predict. I am going to go with United to be winning at HT and then Draw at FT. 18.0 on Betfair, staking €4.

I was tempted to bet on Foden to score 2 at 29.0, assuming he starts, but I am reminded of this bet, so I think I’ll hold off on this bet for now.

Update: Decided to back Foden to score at 30.0 as he starts and backing to return to form as he is a top quality player. Stake €14.

Preview: Man United to Lose to Nottingham Forest


Nottingham Forest to be leading 2-0 at HT. 10 points (of 339) placed at 70.0 on Betfair.

Notthingham Forest to win -1. 10 points (of 329) placed at 32.0 on Betfair

Taiwo Awoniyi to score 2 (or more). 4 points (of 319) placed at 55.0 on Betfair

Taiwo Awoniyi to score 3 (or more). 4 points (of 315) placed at 270.0 on Betfair.

Reasoning Preview

On paper, this should be a simple win for Manchester United, and it has been priced as such, with United winning at 1.35. That is based on United’s record since losing to Manchester City (6-3). They have played two games a week and have gotten results. If we look at their xG in the past six games, they were expected to score 11 but only scored 9. While they were expected to concede six, they did concede six.

On the other side, Nottingham Forest have only scored 11 goals this season in 15 games and only one away goal, and even that was away to Everton in August. So they have been conceding goals and not scoring them, and that is why the markets have priced them as high as they have.

The one factor that is a big unknown is how much things will change as a result of the World Cup break. Forest were mocked for signing so many new players in the summer. As a result, it was always going to take Steve Cooper time to find the right formation and time to express to them his methods and how he needed them to play. In my book, Steve Cooper is a real coach. Looking at what he did in many new signings last season, he was able to mould them into a team that got promoted. The five week break now has given them a second pre-season, so they potentially can use this time to work on their play and catch up on other teams. This has not been priced into the odds.

In the League Cup game away to Blackburn last week, they had 27 attempts on goal, scoring 4. All three of their forwards scored. Cooper appears to be moving forward as a result of this. He also rested Morgan Gibbs-White, who is their main offensive threat, so that he would be fit for this game. That is the reasoning for a value bet on the potential of Nottingham Forest.

The potential for Man United to return to their games of conceding a lot of goals has also increased as they are expected to be without Maguire (late test), Varane and Martinez (rested after World Cup). At the back, there is also some doubt about Dalot. Sancho is not in the right mental state to play. I am assuming he is disappointed with missing out on the World Cup with England and also falling down the pecking order with United. Ronaldo also voiced his discontent about what was going on at United and has since left.

This might mean that it creates space for other players to play such as Rashford and Fernandez. However the odds of them doing this is priced in as expecting them to play better. United also stuggle to score goals with Rashford (4) being their topscorer.

All in all, there is a reaonable chance Notts Forest can start well and play better than Man United expect. United’s defence might also start slowly as they won’t have played together that much. Forest won’t get the 20 or so shots on goal tonight, but they may get 10 to 12, and that might be enough to score two goals. The goals can come from anywhere on the forward line, but I have decided to back their main striker in Awoniyi who is also potenially on penalities.