Despite the best efforts of a strong Tottenham Hotspur team last Sunday, Manchester City remain the only side in the Premier League with an unbeaten record and they are also yet to lose a league game at home during Roberto Mancini’s three-year reign.
City fell behind to a Steven Caulker header in the first half against Spurs at the Etihad Stadium and were fortunate not to concede more before Sergio Aguero and perennial super-sub Edin Dzeko scored to turn the game in the home side’s favour.
The win kept the Citizens within two points of their cross-city rivals, Manchester United, at the top of the table and also followed the trend of many of City’s recent matches as they had to fight back from a deficit to record a positive result.
Six of Man City’s last nine games in all competitions have seen the opposing team strike first, but to the champions’ great credit they have only lost on one of those occasions, away to Ajax in the Champions League.
In truth, this trend is not a recent one, it has been going on all season – City have only scored six times in the first half of their league matches, compared to 14 in the second.
With these statistics to back me up, I feel confident in predicting that Roberto Mancini’s team will score more in the second half than the first when they welcome Aston Villa this weekend at a price of 6/5.
The visit of 17th-placed Villa on Saturday afternoon should see the home side record another three points, as bwin’s 3-way betting market predicts, with City at 11/50, the draw 11/2 and a Villa win given very long odds of 19/2.
The prices on offer certainly seem fair ahead of this fixture, but it should not be forgotten that Aston Villa are the only side to have experienced victory at the Etihad Stadium this season thanks to their magnificent 4-2 extra-time triumph in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
Success in Manchester that September evening remains one of the rare highlights of a dreary opening few months to the season for the Villans which has seen them collect two wins and score a measly ten goals, only three of which have come away from home.
Their record in front of goal this term may be terrible, but Paul Lambert’s side have taken the lead in their previous three league outings, so given City’s tendency to fall behind, 16/5 on Villa to score the first goal does not seem out of the question.
Along the same lines, new punters who register here can use their free £20 bet to back the away side to be leading at the interval at 7/1 or City to win the game after trailing at the break at a whopping 20/1.
What does seem out of the question, though, is Villa coming away from Manchester with anything other than a few City shirts as mementos to place in the club museum.
Aside from the cup defeat earlier this season, Mancini’s men have scored three or more against Villa at home in the previous four meetings and are 17/20 to do so again.
However, the smart money must surely be on City firing more goals past Villa after half-time than they do before it – and that 6/5 shout is the preferred pick here.