Manchester United and Manchester City do battle on Monday night with the title looking increasingly like it will return to the red side of town.
United are 15 points clear in the Premier League going into the match at Old Trafford and spread bettors will be looking at the goals markets to turn a profit in what is likely to be a close encounter.
The corresponding fixture in December had five goals (3-2), including three in the second half, and the four meetings last term had 18 goals. Two of those four also finished 3-2.
The last five games at Old Trafford have all produced over 2.5 goals. Four of those five have had over 3.5 goals.
Wayne Rooney has scored ten goals in Manchester derbies – the most of any United player – and has hit four in his last three.
Wayne Rooney scored one of England’s eight against San Marino on Friday evening as they completed the first part of their two match assignment. Roy Hodgson is under no illusion that Tuesday’s game with Montenegro is the most important in England’s qualifying campaign to date.
Montenegro edged out Moldova 1-0 on Friday night and had to do so with ten men for 29 minutes following Milorad Pekovic’s dismissal. Hodgson had the chance to rest players in their easy win and one of those was Rooney, who went off shortly after scoring his goal.
That was Rooney’s fifth strike in his past four internationals. He was sent off in the last meeting with the Montenegrins and the Manchester United striker will feel he owes his country a performance as England went on to blow a 2-0 lead that day.
This weekend’s standout FA Cup tie is Manchester United’s quarter-final clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday. United will still be hurting from the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday and Sir Alex Ferguson will demand a positive reaction to the controversial European result.
It’s already the third time these clubs have met this campaign and if the other games are anything to go by, then we should be in for a cracker. Nine goals were scored in the League Cup game at the Bridge, six of those arrived in normal time. There were five goals in United’s league win to take the tally to 38 from the past nine clashes, at an average of 4.2 per game.
All but one of those nine fixtures have seen at least three goals scored.
It’s been a long time coming, but the glamour Champions League tie between Real Madrid and Manchester United will finally kick-off on Wednesday evening in Spain. As soon as the draw was made it was the stand-out fixture that will see Cristiano Ronaldo face Sir Alex Ferguson for the first time since he departed Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho has endured a controversial campaign that has seen his side slip a massive 16 points behind Barcelona, yet they remain imperious at the Bernabeu. The Catalans are the only club to have won in Madrid since the start of last season. They have won nine of their 11 home league games since August and have averaged 3.3 goals per game, conceding just nine in reply.
Ronaldo has of course been key in Madrid’s attacking fortunes and his hat-trick on the weekend was his 20th in the white of Madrid to take his overall tally to 189.
On the last occasion these two European giants met in the competition there were 11 goals scored across both legs in which Madrid prevailed.
Manchester United’s 2-1 win at Anfield earlier in the season was shrouded with controversy as a late Robin van Persie strike ensured the visitors left with all three points. The major point of discussion was a coming together between Jonjo Shelvey and Jonny Evans in which the Reds midfielder was dismissed.
Van Persie’s winner arrived from the penalty spot in the 81st minute to continue the trend of late goals in this fixture. Last season’s two league meetings between these rivals arrived in the 80th and 81st minute respectively. Even United’s FA Cup clashes with Liverpool have involved late strikes and Dirk Kuyt’s winner last year came in the 88th minute. The one exception in recent seasons was in the 2010/11 FA Cup when Ryan Giggs scored the only goal of the game in the 2nd minute.
The final match goal in Man United’s previous five league games with the Reds has arrived after the 80th minute and the average time currently stands at 83 minutes ahead of Sunday’s clash at Old Trafford.