The first Manchester derby of the season takes place in an unusual location this week – not in Old Trafford or the Ethiad Stadium, but in Houston, Texas. Manchester United and Manchester City are on their pre-season tours as they get in-shape for the new season ahead.
It’s City’s first game of their preseason tour, while United have already played twice and won twice. Although this is a friendly, both sides will be keen to lay down a statement of intent for the coming season and will be trying to get one up on the other.
Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku are still settling into the Manchester United side, while Ederson and Kyle Walker will be hoping to gain some game time for their new club, Manchester City.
Manchester United form
United are already two games into their preseason schedule. They won both of those matches, with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake and hard-fought 2-5 victory over LA Galaxy. Jose Mourinho’s side impressed in both games and will be keen to build on their momentum.
After winning the Europa League at the end of last season, United will be hoping to build on the progress they have made. They look solid going forward, but still look vulnerable at the back and this will be something Mourinho will want to address.
Lukaku got on the scoresheet for his new club during the 2-1 over Real Salt Lake and he will be hoping to continue to bed into this United side with another goal. In his post-game interview, Jose Mourinho stated that he loves the way the Belgian is playing and hearing things like that can only have a positive effect on the striker’s confidence.
Manchester City form
This is Manchester City’s first game of their preseason schedule, but nonetheless they will not want to lose to their city rivals. City have a trio of tough matches after this game – facing off against Real Madrid, Totenham Hotspur and West Ham.
Of course, preseason tournaments are more about getting ready for the new season than the result, but nonetheless there is always passion when United face off against City – even when it is so far away from home.
As per usual during the off-season, most of the news has been taken up by transfer rumours. United have already made two big name signings, as have City. It will be interesting to see how these signings play as their sides measure themselves against one of their biggest rivals for league success.
Expect plenty of passion and a exciting match-up. It should feel more like a competitive fixture than most friendlies do.
United already has two games under their belt, so they are likely to be much fresher than City, who are just fresh off the beaches. United has been getting better with each individual game and are likely to be much better than Pep Guardiola’s side.
We are not just betting on United to win, but we are betting on United to win easy. They are 7/2 to win by more than one goal and we think this is an excellent bet. We also think that Lukaku will build on his goal against Real Salt Lake and get the first goal here as his movement in that first game was supreme. He is priced at 9/2 with Ladbrokes to score the first goal.