Manchester double on the cards

If Manchester is to be considered the strongest football city in Europe, let alone the world, then our teams must do the business in the Champions League tonight.

It’s unthinkable that both United and City will bow out and be forced to drop into the Europa League for the continent’s also-rans, but I’m confident there will be a double celebration instead.

Surely the Reds will gain the point they need in Switzerland. I make them 1/6 to avoid defeat and qualify, with the match odds being 1/2 for a United win and 11/4 the draw.

Basel are 9/2 for a victory that would leave Fergie’s boys competing with the likes of Metalist Kharkiv, PAOK Salonika and Stoke City after Christmas, rather than Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Of course, the same fate could befall City and the chances of that are much more likely as the Blues need help from elsewhere if they are to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

Three points at home to Bayern Munich, which City are 4/7 to collect, will not be enough if Napoli win away to Villarreal.

The Spanish club have lost all their five group games so far and even though Roberto Mancini thinks they will end that sorry run tonight, you can still have 9/4 that City will qualify.

It may seem strange that a team who have already won their group are 4/1 for their last match, but that’s the price Bayern are tonight.

The Germans are only 6/1 to lift the trophy, but there is no reason for them to play a full-strength side and City’s necessity to win the game should count.

You can have an enhanced price of 3/1 for both United and City to secure places in the knockout phase, by the time of which at least one of them will be out of the FA Cup.

Whatever happens tonight, City will be juggling four competitions when 2012 dawns and they are 4/7 to launch their defence of the FA Cup by knocking out their neighbours. United are 5/4 to reach the fourth round.

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