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Erling Haaland Odds: Manchester City striker 7/4 to outscore Manchester United

Erling Haaland is 7/4 to outscore Manchester United on Sunday when the two Manchester clubs meet at the Etihad, and is 15/2 for a repeat of last season’s heroics.

Fans of both clubs will remember not one but two hat-tricks being scored in the corresponding fixture last term – by Haaland and Phil Foden – and while Haaland is 15/2 to score three or more again, Foden is 40/1.

Only a late brace by Anthony Martial when the game was long gone made the scoreline remotely respectable, but it was one-way traffic throughout, and after his five-star showing against Luton, it’s hard to see Haaland not finding the net again at the weekend.

bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “It helps when you have the star quality of Kevin De Bruyne behind you assisting goals for fun, but Haaland has proved himself to be an absolute menace to defenders with or without the mercurial Belgian.

“He outscored Manchester United by himself in the game back in October and heads into Sunday’s clash as a 7/4 chance to do so once more against a defence that has been creaking against the likes of Fulham, Luton, Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Newport in recent weeks.”

Man City v Man Utd

Erik ten Hag’s men reignited their Champions League ambitions with four wins on the bounce – three of which were away from home – but they did so while allowing 7.7 xG and averaging 20.5 shots against (for context, Manchester City have conceded more than 13 shots twice and more than 20 shots just once this season).

It’s an unsustainable way of winning football matches and sure enough, their chickens came home to roost against Fulham, with the Cottagers winning just their second game away from home all season.

It poses huge question marks around Ten Hag’s ability to set a side up to be hard to play against. Despite the fact the Red Devils have kept an impressive seven clean sheets this season, that is largely down to luck and the performances of Andre Onana. In the seven games where they’ve kept clean sheets, they’ve allowed an average of 20 shots and an xG of 1.4.

Over the course of the season, only Sheffield United, Luton and West Ham have allowed more shots, and only Sheffield United and Burnley have allowed more shots on target than Manchester United.

To make matters worse, Luke Shaw will miss most if not all of the season, Lisandro Martinez will be out for at least another month, and there are fresh concerns over Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire; it’s not impossible United line-up at the Etihad with Jonny Evans and Willy Kambwala at centre-back – the latter having just turned three when the former made his United debut.

While United have struggled with injuries this season, they’re part and parcel of the game, and aren’t considerably worse than anything experienced by the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool or even Manchester City.

And with De Bruyne and Haaland fit again, City look to be hitting their stride. Owing to their 3-1 win in Denmark, Pep Guardiola will be afforded the luxury of resting some of his stars for the second leg against Copenhagen, keeping his stars fresh for their crunch trip to Anfield.

City had won nine consecutive games in all competitions – six of which were in the league – prior to the draw against Chelsea, but even that is a game they should’ve won, with only an off day from Haaland stopping City taking all three points.

After comfortable 1-0 wins against Brentford and Bournemouth (neither of which De Bruyne started), City hit top gear against Luton.

De Bruyne’s fitness is still being managed carefully by Pep Guardiola, but the brilliant Belgian has averaged an assist every 55 minutes since his return from injury, and Guardiola must be tempted to unleash his star creator against United, against whom he’s recorded nine goal contributions in 17 games.

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