Manchester City will head into a make or break double-header with Group D three-point bedfellows CSKA Moscow in high spirits after shaking their away hoodoo under Manuel Pellegrini with a commanding victory at West Ham.
Obligingly their hosts have been on a run of form sickly enough to back the Citizens to be winning at half-time and full-time at odds of 6/4.
Leonid Slutsky’s Russian double-winners are 4/1 to record a second Champions League victory of the season at Arena Khimki, while the draw is 14/5 and a City win can be backed at 13/20.
Five losses in their last seven matches should see CSKA low on confidence.
A solitary win during that sequence came against Group D patsies Viktoria Plzen and the goals they managed in a 3-2 success over the Czechs were the only ones the Russians scored during that entire period.
Even before a 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich precipitated their form nosedive they had been struggling to score goals, only cutting loose with more the a single goal in six of their 15 games in 2013/14.
The Army Men have been in front at half-time in just one of their last ten games.
Slumping out of the blocks like a surly teenager with a Blue WKD hangover has been a characteristic of CSKA’s recent slide and their opponents have been winning at the break in five of those ten fixtures.
It’s far from just an away affliction either with Slutsky’s charges commanding a lead in only two of their seven home games all season.
Five of their last six outings have seen City head into the interval in the lead.
The Citizens have been winning at the break in a total of eight of their 11 games in 2013/14 and have found themselves trailing just once, to champions of Europe Bayern Munich.
Surprisingly for a team thought to be labouring under an away malaise prior to their triumph at the Boleyn Ground City’s first-half record is supportive of an HT/FT wager.
Goalless half-time draws against Cardiff, Stoke and Plzen are as bad as their pre-interval road record has got with Pellegrini’s men ahead at the break their each of their last two away games.