Manchester United can keep their treble dream alive and hold on to the local bragging rights in the red half of the city with an FA Cup semi-final win at Wembley this weekend.
What should have been billed as a clash between Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez will be a chance for others to steal the limelight as the England forward and Argentinean hitman are both out through suspension and injury respectively.
The hamstring injury sustained by Tevez in the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool earlier this week brings a balance to the tie after Rooney’s foul-mouthed celebration of a hat-trick against West Ham earned him a two-match ban.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men go into the tie as odds-on favourites, with bwin pricing the Red Devils at 19/20.
Punters looking for larger returns on the match could back Roberto Mancini’s side at odds of 3/1.
However, recent form suggests that while the Citizens are clearly improving as a side, they have yet to gain a competitive edge over the Premier League’s so-called bigger clubs.
A 5-0 win over Sunderland showed the best of City’s attacking prowess but was sandwiched between the loss to Liverpool and a 2-0 reverse at Chelsea.
With Tevez, the club’s leading scorer on 19 league goals for the season, out of action, City will look to Italian youngster Mario Balotelli to fire them to victory.
The former Inter man is priced at 7/1 to open the scoring, meaning a successful £10 bet would return £80.
Adam Johnson, who has a knack of scoring vital goals for City, could also prove attractive at slightly longer odds of 10/1.
While City have been overly dependant on their captain for goals this term, United have ready-made replacements for Rooney in Javier ‘Chicarito’ Hernandez and Premier League top scorer Dimitar Berbatov.
Bulgarian striker Berbatov has been relegated to a spot on the bench in recent weeks, despite his 21-goal league haul, but will look to stake a claim for a regular staring berth by putting City to the sword in the capital.
The United man can be backed at 5/1 to get the Old Trafford boys off and running at Wembley, returning £60 for a £10 bet.
Mexican Hernandez, who with 18 goals is largely the reason for Berbatov’s bench warming, has scored some vital goals for United this season, including the opener in this week’s Champions League victory over Chelsea.
The diminutive 22-year-old, described by many as the “buy of the season”, can also be backed at 5/1 to score first and set his side on the road to FA Cup glory.
A successful £10 bet on the man known affectionately as “The Little Pea” would return £60. New customers can register here to receive a £25 free bet.