Manchester City travel across town to Manchester United as 11/10 favourites for the first time since betting shops opened books, with the hosts 23/10 and the draw 12/5.
The Red Devils may not have scaled their usual heights this term, but Wayne Rooney’s record in this fixture ought to compel punters to row behind the England man at 6/1 in the first-goalscorer market.
Of the ten goals Rooney has scored against Man City in a Man Utd shirt, six of them have been openers.
Few footballers get off the mark quicker than the Croxteth native when they see a glint of sky blue.
Rooney put his side 2-0 up within half an hour at the Etihad back in December 2012 and grabbed at least one opener against the neighbours in three of the four campaigns prior to last season.
The 28-year-old has struck three times in his last three matches against City, including in the corresponding fixture back in September.
There’s been no let up from England’s top scorer in waiting as, even when his teammates failed to fire against Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Rooney still got in on the act with a screamer of a consolation free kick.
That was his fifth goal in five against the blue half of Manchester, which doesn’t include the miraculous overhead kick that claimed the spoils for the champions back in early 2011.
Having bagged four in United’s past six games, with two coming last time out at West Ham, Rooney will be eager to show that he can keep on filling Robin van Persie’s goalscoring boots.
Dutch hotshot RVP is expected to be out of action for at least another month, after injuring his knee following a famous hat-trick against Olympiakos last time out at Old Trafford and the 30-year-old could even miss the Netherlands’ World Cup campaign, according to some reports.
One Man Utd striker’s loss was clearly another’s gain at Upton Park, as Rooney kicked off proceedings by embarrassing defender James Tomkins and then ‘chipping’ keeper Adrian from 50 yards, before doubling up within 33 minutes of the ref’s first whistle.
He scores from where he wants and generally when he wants against City, so 6/1 on another Rooney opener here looks far too big.