Barometer, thermometer, vane or windsock, just about every weather forecasting device in the business seems to suggest favourable conditions for Manchester United ahead of their derby clash with Manchester City.
Putting aside predictions of a genuinely meteorological nature, the prevailing conditions on football’s atmospheric map paint wildly different outlooks for the two powerhouses ahead of the fixture.
United are 6/4 favourites to milk the matchup for maximum points, with the sickly Citizens 37/20 for victory and the stalemate 12/5.
The Red Devils are in their finest fettle of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era at present, basking in the warmth of some fine seasonal statistics ahead of City’s visit.
Recent wins over Tottenham and Liverpool have done plenty to suggest they found new levels of cohesion during March.
However, the fact that they boast both the best record against top-seven sides in the Premier League and the division’s finest home form is testament to more medium term climate change.
It’s an observation leant further weight by the fact that they’re five points better off than they were after 31 games last season.
Tumultuous conditions are guaranteed as the area of high pressure surrounding the resurgent Reds crashes into a City side mired in a lengthening low.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men are nine points poorer and three rungs lower down the league ladder than this time last year.
Their faltering title defence has really began to unravel since the turn of the year, with just six wins in 16 games across all competitions during 2015.
A deluge of away defeats across the last two months has seen them bounced from Europe and cast nine points adrift of Chelsea, with Burnley and Crystal Palace among their conquerors.
Hardly an ideal weather forecast ahead of trip to the home of your local rivals…
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