A look ahead to January’s remaining fixtures could send a few shivers of trepidation down the spines of Manchester City fans, fearing their side’s soaring fortunes could be about to dive.
Those understandable concerns, with City facing Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League and Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, should prove unfounded however.
Instead, the Citizens’ near-relentless march on all fronts since late November (as predicted here on bwinbetting), taking in 11 wins and a draw from a dozen games, can continue with some added bonuses picked up along the way.
Punters still unsure of the Premier League title’s destination may be left ruing the opportunity to get City at their current price of 6/4 once the merry month of January is over.
There are many causes for optimism, not least from the forthcoming return of two of City’s most important players, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, as well as Edin Dzeko.
In terms of City’s spine, alongside midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure (unfortunately off to the African Cup of Nations), Kompany and Aguero are the vertebrae they miss most.
Nobody thought that City would cope without Aguero and Dzeko up front though, but they have in admirable fashion, so Fernandinho and Fernando should cover for Toure just fine.
Kompany and Dzeko could even be fit to return for the Goodison Park trip next, and with Everton’s abysmal form and the champions’ 1-0 vanquishing of the Toffees in December, this game seems infinitely winnable.
Their Argentine top goalscorer could then be ready for a return against the Gunners at the Etihad for a fixture Aguero scored the opener in last season as the Londoners were pummelled 6-3.
Middlesbrough are sure to offer Manuel Pellegrini’s men a stern challenge in the FA Cup, but with home advantage the gulf in class should tell.
It’s the pivotal Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge on the 31st which leaps off the page nonetheless, and there is another piece of good news in London for City too.
Whereas Pellegrini’s charges will have seven whole days to recharge after Boro’s visit, Chelsea’s fixture-littered January sees them face Liverpool in the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final just four days prior.
Get those bets in now.