Like Muhammed Ali and ‘Smoking’ Joe Frazier before them, heavyweight pugilists Manchester City and CSKA Moscow are back in the ring for the latest brawl in their on-going feud.
The Citizens are 1/4 for victory in a game they must win to keep their slender hopes of qualification for the Champions League knockout stages alive.
CSKA meanwhile, are 33/4 for three points that would keep their own life-support machine on for another week, while a draw that’ll do nobody much good is 21/4.
After our adversaries’ 2-2 draw in Moscow in the last round of fixtures the case for backing City at so short a price is far from persuasive.
However, fittingly for a day synonymous with gunpowder, treason and plot, this encounter should promise a display of goalscoring fireworks to obliterate anything the council are putting on down your local rec.
Instead, backing over 3.5 match goals at 21/20 looks a wiser course of action and here’s why.
Six of CSKA’s last ten games have tipped the 3.5-goal mark.
The aptly-named Army Men have left a trail of destruction behind them over the last couple of months, both inflicting and sustaining huge amounts of damage.
When the Muskovites have not been spanking Rostov or Kuban Krasnodar 6-0, they’ve been getting smashed 5-1 in Rome.
City’s visitors have given up three goals or more on their last three away trips.
It’s one thing shipping five to Francesco Totti and friends, but, when the likes of domestic small-fry Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast or FC UFA are filling their boots, a defence has to begin asking itsself a few questions.
Sergio Aguero has scored five times in three games against Leonid Slutsky’s side in the last two seasons.
The site of the squat Argentine will be enough to bring veteran centre-halves Vasili Berezutsky and Sergei Ignashevich out in a cold sweat.
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