After 82 minutes at Old Trafford last Sunday, Manchester United had seemingly tightened their grip on a 20th league title having racked up what looked like an unassailable 4-2 advantage over Everton.
However, just as it looked like they would stretch their lead at the Premier League summit to a probably insurmountable eight points, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side switched off, the Toffees capitalised impressively to nick a point and second-placed Manchester City overcame Wolves shortly afterwards to put the tussle at the top right back in the balance.
The mouth-watering Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium can subsequently almost be called a decider although United’s three-point lead over City in the table means the Red Devils remain odds-on, at 1/2 with Coral, to clinch top spot while bet365 price Roberto Mancini’s men at 7/4 to wrest the crown from their rivals.
For the latter to be a realistic outcome, the hosts need to defeat Ferguson’s champions, a result that would see them move into the lead on goal difference and Paddy Power make them 5/4 to do just that. United meanwhile, are 5/2 via BetVictor to effectively seal the title with a victory and at 5/2, this time courtesy of Boylesports, is the stalemate, a better result for the visitors than City.
Mancini’s troops have won 16 of their 17 home fixtures, drawing the other, so a defeat for them seems unlikely but the leaders have a knack of grinding out results when it matters and they can snatch a crucial point here, in a match Coral price at 13/2 to finish one-each.
Always a man for the big occasion, Wayne Rooney has struck four times in his last five competitive appearances against City and he’ll attract first scorer cash at 7/1 via William Hill. At the other end meanwhile, Sergio Aguero is a 7/1 chance at Ladbrokes to bag the opener having found the net on both of the occasions he has faced United but the script could be written for Carlos Tevez, another 7/1 shot, this time at Stan James, who is back in favour and back amongst the goals.