Raheem Sterling will play his first Premier League game in a Manchester City shirt this evening, but if the opening weekend performances of the Citizens’ title rivals are an acceptable yardstick with which to gauge how he’ll get on, the former Liverpool ace won’t enjoy his trip to West Brom.
That’s not to say his side won’t win, after all, the visitors have taken the spoils on seven successive outings against the Baggies and kick off this campaign having prevailed in six straight to sign off on 2014/15.
Recent history and form vindicate City’s 67/100 for victory at the Hawthorns, but goalscorer punters eyeing up Sterling’s 6/1 to break the deadlock are advised to look elsewhere.
Day one sluggishness from the big guns can be partly attributed to the unflattering performances of their blockbuster summer signings, who all struggled to shine on debut.
Petr Cech had a nightmare in Arsenal’s defeat to West Brom, while Radamel Falcao cut an insignificant figure in his Chelsea cameo versus Swansea.
Memphis Depay’s Manchester United bow was nothing if not unspectacular, while Bastian Schweinsteiger didn’t even make the XI and Liverpool’s Christian Benteke will be hoping for more eventful afternoons in a red shirt than the one he endured at Stoke.
The latest renewals of West Brom v City suggest Sterling, the next high-profile debutant to step into the breach, will have the same difficulties wooing expectant spectators.
It has proved a fixture for those found towards the lower reaches of the Citizens payroll to upstage their high-profile teammates in recent months.
No-frills Brazilian Fernando was on target in both meetings last time around; his only goals in sky blue to date.
Argentine twosome Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta are also among the score-keeper-friendly players to bulge the net across the last three outings.
Should City bag three goals, as they have in each of their last four with West Brom, there’s another opportunity for those at the big-price end of the anytime scorer stakes to land a payday once more.
Zabaleta to register against this foe once more pays at 12/1, while a first City goal for Eliaquim Mangala is on offer at the same price.