The Premier League continues this weekend and Dave Tindall previews the big Manchester derby at the Etihad on Saturday evening...
Man City v Man Utd Saturday, 17:30 Live on Sky Sports Main Event
City can't afford further slips
With three defeats and two draws in their opening 15 games, City have already dropped 13 points. To give that context, in the last two title-winning seasons they gave up just 14 points in 2017/18 and 16 in 2018/2019.
Simple, then, to assert that City are not the same team this season?
In terms of consistency, that argument certainly stands up but the way they brushed aside Burnley 4-1 at Turf Moor on Tuesday night was a reminder that they aren't just going to fall away without a fight despite entering this weekend 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.
As for home form, Wolves left the Etihad with all three points while Spurs grabbed a 2-2 draw. If building a case against the hosts, it's also worth noting that Shakhtar forced a 1-1 stalemate there.
City must do without striker Sergio Aguero again so Gabriel Jesus will be tasked with taking on goal duties. That's not been a problem on the road but he hasn't netted a home goal in his last 10 appearances at the Etihad.
Red Devils boosted by Spurs win
It takes a fair amount of mental agility to try and work out where Manchester United are right now.
According to some, defeat against Spurs in midweek and a thumping loss here could have put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's job under severe threat.
However, the Norwegian put one over former United boss Jose Mourinho on Wednesday night, the 2-1 victory lifting the Red Devils to sixth spot.
That's still eight back from Chelsea in fourth but the prospect of another season being thrown into the purgatory of Thursday night Europa League football is not as miserably realistic as it seemed.
One of the reasons to be cautiously cheerful is that United are scoring goals again. The double against Spurs made it 14 in their last six games.
Hosts hot favourites but best bet involves United scoring
Man City did the double over their local rivals last season, winning this fixture 3-1 although United were only a goal down with four minutes remaining.
The hosts are just 1.35 to get the win while Man Utd are a hefty 10.50 to earn local bragging rights and likely end City's title hopes. The Draw is 5.90.
The stats are overwhelming in City's favour given that they've won 24 of their last 27 Premier League home matches but at such short odds you have to be really sure.
And with a main striker who can't seem to score at home and a rival which has lost just once in their last four visits to the Etihad, odds of around 1/3 don't appeal.
However, the picture changes completely if offered the alternative of City winning whilst conceding - the outcome in this fixture last season.
Suddenly, those unpalatable home win odds are boosted to 2.74 when taking City win and Both teams to Score and, to be honest, that looks the most likely outcome on recent evidence.
Neither side can keep clean sheets - United haven't managed one in their last 12 on the road - so it makes plenty of sense.
Market expects goals although evidence mixed
Over 2.5 goals is just 1.55 compared to Unders at 2.76. Those quotes may tempt goals backers to look at Over 3.5 which trades at 2.34.
Breaking it down, City's last four Premier League home games have featured goal make-ups of 2, 3, 3, 3 so that tempers expectations a little for those expecting a glut.
Manchester United shared six goals at Sheffield United on their last Premier League away day but Under 2.5 has landed in five of their other six top-flight road games.
As for BTTS, it's paid out in four of United's seven away trips and in three of City's seven PL games at home.
However, a recent thermometer check changes the picture.
Both teams have scored in each of City's last eight games in all competitions and also in United's last five.
On those numbers, BTTS 'Yes' at 1.88 looks fair enough if you want to keep it simple and avoid adding in the City win.
Rashford and Gundogan worth a bet
Anthony Martial is a doubt with a muscle injury, Sergio Aguero is set to miss out and Gabriel Jesus struggles to score at home so I'll overlook three of the obvious scoring options.
Marcus Rashford is certainly worth a look though having netted 12 goals in his last 13 games for club and country.
In that sort of form, he'll fancy himself against this City defence and 3.80 is on the big side.
Ilkay Gundogan has scored in this fixture in each of the last two seasons so looks interesting at [4.5], especially as he's netted in two of his last four home games for City.
Pep Guardiola has won four of his six Premier League games against Man Utd (D1 L1) - in Man City's top-flight history only Les McDowall (7/24) and Joe Mercer (5/10) have won more against the Red Devils in charge of the Citizens.