Southampton v Manchester United
Marouane Fellaini’s stoppage-time goal gave Manchester United a dramatic late victory over Young Boys on Tuesday to secure their passage into the Champions League knockout stages. The winner sparked a delirious reaction from boss Jose Mourinho, who flung a basket full of water bottles to the floor in celebration.
Mourinho accused his side of lacking “heart and desire” in Saturday’s dour draw with Crystal Palace and reacted by leaving Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku on the bench. His players did react to his demand for more urgency at the start of the game but, following an early Marcus Rashford miss, United’s intensity faded.
An all-too-familiar unconvincing Old Trafford display saw the Red Devils toil as the match wore on. Rashford and Fellaini wasted further openings and the hosts appeared to have run out of ideas as the game entered its closing stages before their 21st and final effort at goal paid dividends.
Mourinho will be concerned that his team lacked the invention to create countless clear-cut opportunities. And the introduction of Pogba and Lukaku from the bench did little to change the flow of the fixture as United were seconds away from drawing a blank on home soil against the group whipping boys.
Now United turn their attention towards Saturday evening’s trip to Southampton.
The Red Devils have looked far from threatening and purposeful on their travels this term, and whilst their W5-D1-L3 return is far from exceptional for a Big Six club, the visitors are strong enough to come out on top.
United have scored at least twice in seven of those nine away days and can cover the -0.50 Asian Handicap imposed at generous 1.93 odds. The Red Devils have posted W6-D2-L0 in their eight unbeaten trips to St Mary’s and can take advantage of a Saints side at rock-bottom this weekend.
Remarkably, Mark Hughes is still in situ at Southampton despite a W1-D5-L7 return this season. Six of the 10 goals that Saints have scored arrived via penalties or attempts outside the penalty area and their wretched record under the Welshman against Big Six sides leaves a lot to be desired.
The south coast club have W0-D0-L6 against the Premier League’s elite, with their three meetings against the same standard of opposition this term seeing Southampton lose by a combined aggregate of 12-1.
In fact, Saints have W0-D2-L6 when taking on teams in 11th and above coming into this contest.
Last weekend’s loss in a crucial six-pointer against Fulham again highlighted their treacherous defensive woes and with the hosts managed a pathetic eight (16%) Premier League victories from 51 matches since the start of last season, they’re easily opposed against a United side desperate for a positive result.
Hughes’ strugglers’ only triumph came against a Crystal Palace outfit missing instrumental forward Wilfried Zaha, way back at the beginning of September, whilst they’ve bagged a sole success in their last 17 Premier League matches at St Mary’s.
The 1.93 available on an away win implies just a 52% chance, which looks kind.
Manchester City v Bournemouth
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola labelled Lyon as “one of the toughest teams” the Citizens have ever faced after the teams shared a 2-2 draw in France. The performance and result in France drew criticism from these shores as City were twice forced to come from behind to pinch a point.
Lyon wasted several clear-cut chances before breaking the deadlock and were great value for the stalemate. The Ligue 1 backed up their victory at the Etihad with a display full of style, ambition and swagger; their pace and power in the attacking third caused Guardiola’s group countless concerns.
City lacked their usual offensive rhythm – more down to Lyon’s intensity than a lack of their own – and the Premier League leaders will be keen to bounce back on Saturday against opponents they traditionally enjoy facing. The Citizens have won all six meetings with Bournemouth in the Premier League by a combined 21-2.
The Cherries have made an excellent start to their own campaign, although three successive defeats have slowed progress. Eddie Howe’s men went down by the same 2-1 scoreline when welcoming Manchester United and Arsenal, as well a reverse away to Newcastle, and are in for a daunting afternoon.
Bournemouth have been beaten in 15 of their most recent 17 encounters with Big Six clubs, conceding an average of 2.29 goals per-game. The Cherries have lost 12/25 (48%) away Premier League games since the beginning of 2017/18, shipping two goals or more on 12 (48%) occasions.
Under Pep Guardiola, Man City have scored 125 home goals in the Premier League – three more than Bournemouth have netted in all of their outings in the competition since 2016/17 – and the Citizens have smashed the visitors 4-0 in each of the past two campaigns here at The Etihad.
The hosts are posting Europe’s most phenomenal performance data figures, suggesting City are dominating the Premier League more so than PSG in Ligue 1 or Juventus in Serie A, and the defending champions have plundered 27 goals, winning by at least two goals in six of their seven matches here this term.
Since losing to Lyon at the Etihad in September, Pep’s posse have W12-D2-L0, scoring 44 goals at an average of 3.14 per game. Their past nine matches have generated a positive supremacy of 31-4 with two of the four goals they’ve shipped in that sample arriving via the penalty spot.
Looking back at City’s home record in the Premier League since the start of 2017/18, the hosts have W23-D2-L1 with half of their victories arriving by a three-goal margin and 19 (73%) seeing the Citizens triumph by two goals or more.
In 18 (69%) outings they’ve scored three or more goals, suggesting they should be well capable of overcoming their -2.5 Asian Handicap here.
- Manchester United -0.5 (1.93)
- Manchester City -2.5 (1.93)
On this week’s Racing Podcast Ali Maxwell is joined by debutant Adrian Clarke and Mark O’Haire to preview Derby Day Super Sunday. Listen below and search for ‘Matchbook Betting Podcast’ on your preferred podcasting app to subscribe.