Manuel Pellegrini under pressure ahead of crunch Manchester Derbyby Jack Kitson / 10 April 2015, 09:46Tweet
Manchester United and Manchester City lock horns at Old Trafford on Sunday in one of the most eagerly anticipated clashes of the campaign. Just a point and a place separates the fierce rivals, with United leapfrogging their neighbours up to 3rd last Saturday after their victory at home to Aston Villa, while City crumbled at Crystal Palace two days later.
The Premier League title may be just out of reach, but both clubs will be desperate to finish in the top-3, as this ensures direct qualification into next season's Champions League group stages, as opposed to 4th spot, which results in a nerve-jangling play-offs in August. At the time of writing Ladbrokes have City priced at just 1/3 to snatch a top-3 finish for the fifth successive season, whereas United can be backed at 23/20.
City may be the favourites to end the season in the top-3, but the defending champions are also under the most pressure, given their faltering form of late. The Citizens have lost five of their last seven matches in all competitions; a torrid run which has seen the club slump out of the Champions League, while they're hopes of retaining the title are in tatters. City's 2-1 defeat at Selhurst Park earlier this week marked their third away loss on the trot, and if they lose on Sunday it will be the first time they've been beaten in four successive top-flight away games since 2006.
In contrast United are soaring, winning five league games in a row, while they've accumulated a whopping 30 points from their last 11 top-flight home games. The Red Devils would love nothing more than to pile the pressure on Pellegrini, who will edge even closer to the sack should his side suffer a sixth defeat in eight matches.
The under-fire Chilean is currently hovering nervously at the summit of the Premier League Sack Race, with Sky Bet pricing the 61-year-old at just 5/4 to become the seventh top-flight casualty of the campaign. Meanwhile, Nigel Pearson is now way out at 18/1, following Leicester's win over West Ham, while Sam Allardyce and Chris Ramsey are priced at 20/1.
Man Utd v Man City - Sunday 12th April (4pm) Sky Sports 1
- 17/10 Man Utd
- 9/5 Man City
- 12/5 Draw
Odds courtesy of Bet Victor.