Far more than just any derby victory against local rivals, the 2-1 win for Manchester United against Manchester City has opened up the title race, putting them firmly back in the hunt for a first Premier League crown since the Alex Ferguson era. But can their excellent recent momentum be maintained?
Well, oddsmakers certainly seem to think so, having slashed prices for the Red Devils following the fine win against City at Old Trafford, as the side coached by Erik ten Hag enjoy an impressive revival of their fortunes. This will undoubtedly enthuse their legion of supporters around the globe, still one of the most-followed clubs in world football, despite the lack of trophies in recent years.
One hotbed of constantly growing support is within Asia, particularly in one of the most populous countries, prompting increased wagering activity. As punters look to find the best sports betting sites in India, backed by trusted reviews and recommendations, experts are highlighting the range of generous offers and bonuses available. And right now, Manchester United are certainly featuring prominently again, when comparing outright odds.
Arsenal tipped to struggle in the end
Securing an excellent victory of their own, Arsenal claimed all three points in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, handing their visiting fans the bragging rights. But while that result extended their lead at the Premier League summit, opening an eight-point above Manchester City, the race is far from over according to those who still doubt the Gunners.
“At some point, there will be a very difficult period for Arsenal this season,” insisted former United player and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville. “Is it conceivable that Arsenal are going to continue as they are? I don’t think it is,” he insisted. “They could draw two and lose one in a three-game period, and if they did that, their lead is gone, and the pack is up there with them.”
What it means ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0Ujipm8RFE
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 15, 2023
Neville is firmly of the belief that with half of the Premier League campaign still to go, the side managed by Mikel Arteta will begin to struggle at some point, still of the view that Arsenal won’t win the title this season. Insofar as Neville is concerned,” Manchester City will win the league, and I think Man Utd will finish second, and I know that will annoy Arsenal fans!”
“The season is going to be far better for Arsenal than I ever imagined it would be,” admitted Neville, albeit with genuine doubts they will ultimately last the pace. Interestingly, the Gunners have only lost once this season, against Manchester United at Old Trafford back in September. Their next Premier League fixture is also against the Red Devils, which could be a make or break duel for both sides.
Manchester City need an alternative approach
Despite the frustrating derby loss against Manchester United, nobody can rule out Manchester City, and their possibility of winning a third consecutive Premier League title. However, something doesn’t seem to be working for the team at the moment, prompting discussion about the team selections and tactics of Pep Guardiola.
The City boss only made one substitution in the loss against United, when Jack Grealish left the bench, then scored the opening goal moments later. But even after the Red Devils turned the game around, hitting twice in the space of just four minutes, the Spaniard refused to make any further changes. Unsurprisingly, this confused pundits and journalists watching the game, who questioned why he didn’t make bolder decisions.
A disappointing day at Old Trafford. pic.twitter.com/TbnJAALRPq
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 14, 2023
Not often on the receiving end of criticism, there has been acknowledgement that after signing Erling Haaland in the summer, Guardiola has tinkered with the shape of his team. The Norwegian has made a phenomenal start to the season individually, but it may have come at the detriment of the team overall. Indeed, alternative options may need to be utilised, in order to get the Man City title bid back on track.
Some believe that despite his excellent performances and scoring record, City cannot afford to rely entirely on Haaland, feeling that Julian Alvarez should play a more influential role in attack. The Argentina striker was excellent at the World Cup in Qatar, and that form could form the basis of a front two, instead of the habitual attacking trio deployed most frequently by Guardiola. Indeed, their title aspirations could hinge on such alternative options.