That's Odd: ISL semi-final and Manchester derby to hog limelight
Manchester United are taking strong steps to the Champions League qualifications but in the Manchester Derby, the blue half has looked a lot stronger since the last few seasons. In the Indian Super League, FC Goa have a stiff road ahead to the final after their 4-1 thrashing in the first leg. Let's take a look at the odds for the games!
Match: FC Goa vs Chennaiyin FC
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
FC Goa have to turn a 4-1 goal deficit to qualify for the final of the 2019-20 season of ISL. Although on paper it looks rather improbable, it has always been close whenever the two have faced each other. The two have locked horns 18 times in the ISL and Goa have won nine times and have lost eight. They have scored 32 and have conceded 36 in the process.
The two also feature in the top two spots to have registered most number of wins overall in the history of the tournament, with Goa winning 50 games and Chennai lodging 41 wins. Goa have also scored the most number of goals in the history of the league with 201 goals in just 107 matches and 47 goals this season.
Players to watch:
This season, Ferran Corominas has been the most successful with 14 goals and he was expertly assisted by Hugo Boumous who chipped in 11 in the season. But in the first leg of the semifinal, Boumous was absent due to illness, limiting Coro's influence on the game. Both of them average more than one when it comes to shots on target per game. They are the reason FC Goa have won 12 of their 19 matches this season.
Chennaiyin FC, in their part, started the season extremely slowly but since the appointment of Owen Coyle, they have made a huge turnaround. Led by Nerijus Valskis and Rafael Crivallero, they have scored 36 goals despite failing to score in the first four matches. Valskis has scored 13 and Crivallero seven for the team.
In short, both the teams play a very attacking brand of football and both are fierce competitors. While the two-time champions, Chennaiyin will start the game as favourites to go to another ISL final, Goa will leave no stones unturned.
Match: Manchester United vs Manchester City
Venue: Old Trafford
One of the most coveted and electrifying contests in the history of British football, the Manchester Derby is brewing up for yet another instalment. Manchester United have won only two of their last five matches compared to their rivals who have won three. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have been plagued with nine draws this season and they have lacked the firepower upfront since the departure of Romelu Lukaku last summer and the injury to Marcus Rashford in December. Pep Guardiola's men have failed to keep up the pressure at Liverpool as they went on to drop a lot of points as they have not won more than three games on the trot yet this season.
Of the 45 games played between them since the start of the Premier League, Manchester United have won 22, but post-2010, the rivalry has become a lot even. In their last five encounters, Manchester City have the edge with three wins but it were the Red Devils who shocked the defending champions earlier in December when they managed to defeat their city rivals by 2-1 margin.
However, one of the goal scorers, Marcus Rashford, has been out of the pitch with an injury and Anthony Martial looks far from convincing. The addition of Bruno Fernandes has worked miracles for Solskjaer. However, the lack of frontmen can make it difficult for the Reds.
Players to watch:
Sergio Aguero has scored nine goals in the derby and he would love to add to the tally. Although Aguero is one of the biggest threat to United, it is Kevin De Bruyne, who is going to put the opposition midfield to test, having registered a whopping 16 assists in the league. It is unbelievable that De Bruyne does not have a single assist against Manchester United yet.
For Manchester United, 21-year-old Welsh speedster Daniel James has six assists in the season but has been inconsistent in the recent fixtures. Paul Pogba, on the verge of returning after his long absence, will also give hope to the United manager. Harry Maguire, Manchester United's big-money signing, has looked solid in defence. The English international has won 135 of the 189 duels. He also has the highest number of passes for Manchester United (63.75 per match).
In the last five matches, the Manchester Derby has never finished goalless or rather, none of the teams have kept a clean sheet, so it is almost certain that there will be goals. With Manchester City's star-studded frontline, it will be the attack of Guardiola against the defence of Solskjaer.
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Feature image courtesy: AFP / Oli Scarff