This Monday sees the irresistible force of Manchester City go on the road to face the immovable object of… oh no, sorry, they’re playing Wigan.
Just kidding, Latics fans. There’s every chance Roberto Martinez will have whipped his boys into some sort of order after the shock loss to League Two side Swindon in the FA Cup last week.
However, when looking for the potential goalscorers in this one, I anticipate finding it somewhat difficult when I get to the bit where I say “And for Wigan…” as Martinez’s side have failed to score in the last four meetings between the two Lancashire teams.
So with that in mind, let us start with the Premier League leaders. Manchester City have been scoring goals like doing so increases life expectancy this season and crucially (for this article anyway), they have been sharing them around.
In this battle of the Robertos, it will be Mancini who goes in as favourite, despite a recent dip in form and the loss of several key players. Though even without banned skipper Vincent Kompany and the brothers Toure, City have more than enough to threaten Ali Al Habsi’s goal at the DW Stadium.
Such is the bookies’ confidence that City will score, they have three strikers who are less than evens to find the back of the net, with Edin Dzeko (3/4), Sergio Aguero (3/4) and Mario Balotelli (17/20) all hotly tipped to strike at any time.
If you think they might be able to fill their boots against the side placed 19th before the weekend’s fixtures then you can get either Dzeko or Aguero at 11/4 to bag a brace or 7/1 to get a hat-trick, with Balotelli at 13/4 and 9/1.
Aguero actually went home with the match ball in the reverse fixture, which City won 3-0, but will Wigan have learnt their lesson? All three are also available for first scorer betting, at 11/4, 11/4 and 13/4 respectively.
Elsewhere there is also a plethora of value to be found. David Silva is expected to recover from an ankle knock and is 7/5 to score at any time, while Samir Nasri is 3/2, Adam Johnson 2/1 and James Milner 3/1.
But my eye is drawn towards the visiting rearguard. Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott are both deadly at set pieces and can each be backed at 11/2 to thump home a Poznan-starter.
New punters who use their free £25 bet for joining bwin.com on Richards to score this evening would walk away with a cool £162.50 if the England man obliges.
And for Wigan (gulp), fear not, for there are options available, and given the David v Goliath feel to this one, the odds are very generous indeed.
It is perhaps a reflection of the task facing the Latics that the odds on there being no goalscorer (9/1) are shorter than any Wigan player to score the first goal of the game, with Connor Sammon and Hugo Rodallega the shortest at 12/1.
Both strikers can also be found at 13/4 to score at any time, which given the absence of Kompany and the decidedly dodgy performance from Stefan Savic against Liverpool on Wednesday, is not to be sniffed at.
Elsewhere, you have deflection king extraordinaire Franco Di Santo at 4/1 to score any time, the in-form Victor Moses at 9/2 and Jordi Gomez and Albert Crusat at the same price.
But the value for the home side seems to lie in the right foot and the ginger hair of Ben Watson. The Latics’ penalty taker is out at 7/1 to score any time, and despite his miss against Swindon, will likely still be on duty if Wigan are awarded a spot-kick on Monday.
For multi-goals, if you’re a brave soul (go on), Rodallega is priced at 28/1 to bag a brace, as is Sammon, while Di Santo can be backed at 40/1. Successfully back any of them for a hat-trick at 200/1, 200/1 and 400/1 respectively, and you could probably afford a holiday in the Maldives. Good luck bwin betters.
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