Sam Hendry with today’s highlights from the football betting action
Manchester will come to a standstill on Sunday afternoon as the two title favourites go head-to-head for the first time this season.
The psychological advantage a victory for Pep Guardiola’s Man City side at the home of their greatest rivals, allied to the subsequent 11-point lead, would leave some in the red half of town raising the white flag.
But a victory for Mourinho’s United would ramp up the pressure on City going into the hectic Christmas period and perhaps spark one of the greatest title races in history.
Ultimately, though, I think both sides would be content with a draw and the keeping of the status quo with 66 points still left to play for.
The template on how to combat City has been laid out recently through the performances of Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham and I expect United to follow that, albeit with the bonus of having terrific counter-attacking talent in Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.
It’s most likely going to be a tense affair with neither side willing to take the concomitant risk. Odds of 9/4 with William Hill on the half time score to be 0-0 is tempting and if pushed for a winner, a half time/full time of draw/City win at odds of 5/1 with SkyBet would be my bet.
In the day’s other derby, Sam Allardyce takes his Everton side across Stanley Park for the Merseyside derby against in-form Liverpool.
Boosted by two wins and clean sheets in a row, Everton approach this fixture more confident than they would have been a couple of weeks ago.
But Allardyce couldn’t have a much tougher second full match in charge (he missed Thursday’s Europa League trip to Cyprus) with Everton winless in the last 15 derbies while Big Sam himself has only won once at Anfield in his career.
It will need a spectacular defensive display from Everton to keep out a Liverpool attack which has scored 15 goals in their last three matches and I can’t see it happening.
But while they may be under the cosh for much of the match Everton should be confident in their ability to make and take chances against the home defence. Liverpool to win and both teams to score at odds of 15/8 genrally is my bet here.
The day’s football viewing begins with Arsenal’s visit to St Mary’s to take on Southampton.
After a solid, if unspectacular start to the season, this is the start of a nightmare run of Christmas fixtures for the Saints with trips to Chelsea, Spurs and Man United all to come before the end of the year.
Arsenal dropped to fifth following their defeat to United last week and the thought of finishing there and missing out on Champions League football for a second year running will terrify the board and the supporters.
They have had some indifferent results on the road this season, but they did win against Burnley in their last trip and such is the current form of the sides ahead of them they can’t afford many more slip-ups without losing pace.
I’m backing Arsenal to get that win and record consecutive away league victories in 2017 for only the second time in 2017 at reasonable odds of 11/4 with Betfair Sport