EPL Betting: Monday Manchester Marvel
The team that finishes the match on top of the table is highly likely to go on to win the title.
Sergio Aguero's good record against United is something Andrew Atherley has taken into account as he looks at recent results and form-lines between Manchesters City and United in a bid to uncover the best bets ahead of Monday's Premier League showdown.
Monday's City v United showdown at the Etihad stadium promises to be the defining match of the Premier League season, in terms of its significance, the quality of the teams and the entertainment value.
The team that finishes the match on top of the table is highly likely to go on to win the title and the Betfair market makes United clear favourites to be that team, with odds of 1.51 for the title against 2.94 for City.
Punters have five main statistical elements to weigh up for Monday's match.
1. City's home record. Roberto Mancini's team, of course, have to win and they go into the match with a record of 25 wins and two draws in the 27 Premier League home games since their last defeat at the Etihad. That run includes five wins out of five against big-six opponents, although they have had defeats in that category in cup competitions - most notably 3-2 against United in this season's FA Cup third round, as well as 1-0 against Liverpool in the Carling Cup.
2. United's away record. While City are the Premier League's best home team, United have the best figures on the road with 12 wins and only two defeats out of 17. They are unbeaten away to big-six sides, with two wins and two draws. Despite January's FA Cup victory, however, there is some doubt about whether they can win if City score - eight of United's 12 league away wins have been achieved with a clean sheet and they have won only four out of nine when conceding.
3. The head-to-heads. The gap has closed in recent years, with the teams separated by more than a goal in just two of the last ten meetings, but still United have won six of the 10, with three wins for City.
4. The goals count. It is well established that the entertainment factor is high in clashes between the big six, with 19 out of 28 (68 per cent) this season having had over 2.5 goals. That is a big driver in the rising goals tallies in the Premier League and both City and United have been major contributors - 89 per cent over 2.5 goals for United in big-six games and 67 per cent for City. Seven of the last 10 derbies have had over 2.5 goals, including four out of five since Mancini took charge at the Etihad (the exception was City's 1-0 FA Cup semi-final win at Wembley last season).
5. The strikers. Three may hold the key - Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero for City and Wayne Rooney for United. Aguero is now ahead of Tevez on scoring rate, having netted in 50 per cent of his league starts for City against 48 per cent for Tevez, while Rooney outstrips them both this season with a scoring rate of 55 per cent. First goalscorer is going to be a tricky choice - and don't discount Nani, who has scored in two of the last five derbies.
City have scored in their last 29 home league games, winning 26 of them, and at odds of 2.2 on Monday they look a sounder bet for the win than United at 3.6.
The likelihood of goals on both sides makes over 2.5 goals the most attractive bet at 1.79. Slight preference for anytime scorer goes to Aguero, who has scored in both his Manchester derbies to date.