Manchester City go into the Christmas period on course to break Chelsea’s 2009/2010 record for the most goals in a Premier League season (103).
The table toppers are the first team in 49 years to smash 50 strikes in the first 16 matches of a top flight season.
Despite slowing their scorching goalscoring pace in recent matches, it is no surprise that City players have all of the six shortest odds in the first goalscorer’s market for their clash with Stoke.
What is surprising is that Mario Balotelli, Man City’s chief protagonist in their title charge, is only the third favourite to score first in the match against the Potters.
The increasing number of people proclaiming the Italian frontman’s genius would surely be tempted to back him at odds of 3/1.
Balotelli has somehow managed five first goals from just six Premier League starts this season, more than any of his team-mates, making him good value even if Roberto Mancini spares him a start ahead of the festive fixtures to come.
Aguero and Dzeko are joint 11/4 favourites, possibly a fraction too short to be all that tempting.
The Citizens hadn’t scored fewer than two goals in a single Premier League game this season until the end of November, though currently they have only found the net once in three of their last four league fixtures.
That’s enough to suggest the leaders won’t be able to walk all over plucky Stoke, and less chances of an early breakthrough make backing a midfielder to score first relatively more attractive. David Silva got the winner last weekend against Arsenal and can be backed at 5/1 to be the first on the scoresheet again.
Balotelli has somehow managed five first goals from just six Premier League starts this season, more than any of his team-mates.
Samir Nasri was arguably the man of the match though in that crucial victory over the Gunners and is priced well at 11/2 for a man who scored ten league goals last season.
Amongst the visitors’ ranks, Peter Crouch will be attracting a great deal of sentimental support as he looks for his 100th league goal. At 8/1 his value in the first goalscorer’s market is overshadowed by the 9/1 offered on Jon Walters, who has scored first in three matches this season to the former England striker’s none.
The giant striker has tended to pounce late on in getting his four goals for his new club this season and is a better bet at 8/1 to be the last goalscorer on Wednesday evening (or 9/4 to score in the match).
Few will be backing Stoke to take anything back from the Etihad Stadium but with a club record four wins in a row behind them they must have a decent chance of starting confidently and unsettling City for a while, at the very least.
Looking for an outside bet, defender Robert Huth’s goalscoring record shows a definite fondness for the month of December. Huth scored his first league goal of the season a fortnight ago against Everton and netted twice in December 2010. He is a 20/1 shot to be first goalscorer.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Premier League odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting