So what does £600 million worth of footballing talent get you these days? By the looks of things, it doesn’t buy you a place in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, that’s for sure.
But while the rest of us laugh at the thought of football’s richest club preparing for the relative humiliation of Thursday night football, trips to Cyprus and, worst of all, being covered by Channel 5 (the ignominy!), the fact remains that whatever happens in Europe Manchester City remain strong favourites to win the Premier League title, and rightly so.
Liverpool are 9/5 to win, with the draw at 23/10 and an away win 29/20. At those odds, City has to be the call, especially when you consider Liverpool were bigger odds to defeat City’s inferior rivals, Man Utd, six weeks ago.
So despite the crushing blow of defeat against Napoli on Wednesday, City still have far and away the strongest squad in the division and can prove it by getting back to winning ways against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool, of course, can’t even boast about Thursday evenings with Jim Rosenthal and their sole priority is to join City at Europe’s top table next season.
A well deserved and much needed win at Chelsea last weekend puts them very much in the chasing pack for a top four finish,
However, while in my opinion the victory did nothing but prove that the Reds remain an erratic work in progress, it seems to have kidded the bookies into offering us with some value on a City win.
Liverpool are 9/5 to win, with the draw at 23/10 and an away win 29/20. At those odds, City has to be the call, especially when you consider Liverpool were bigger odds to defeat City’s inferior rivals, Manchester United, six weeks ago.
For a club with Champions League ambitions, Liverpool’s home form just hasn’t been good enough.
The Reds have kept just one clean sheet in six games and have drawn against Sunderland, Norwich and Swansea, the sort of results that have come to epitomise their failings in the twenty years since their last league championship.
That form will hardly have Roberto Mancini’s men quaking in their boots: City are after all a team that has hit 20 goals, that’s 20 goals, in five away games this season, winning all but one.
The 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United proved how ruthless this City team can be, and a trip to Liverpool will hold no fears for a team with such well documented attacking talent.
The 29/20 on City is juicy enough, but there could be ways to find even more value.
Mancini will no doubt remember the same fixture last season, when an Andy Carroll-inspired Liverpool (yes, you did read that right) tore City apart in an opening half hour that paved the way for a 3-0 home win.
Unlikely to make the same mistake twice, and wary a slow start could prove fatal on the back of Wednesday, the Italian will want to make sure he’s in the game for as long as possible.
And when you consider that an incredible 73 per cent of their league goals (31 of 42) have come in the second half of games, it is clear City do their best work after the break.
With that in mind, the draw/City half time/full time result is a 5/1 shout and definitely worth a play. That scenario has come in five times already this season.
It is also worth noting that all the goals the Blues have been scoring at one end have masked the ones they are conceding at the other.
City have kept just one clean sheet on the road all season, which makes the 9/2 that City win 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 also worth a look.
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