Season So Far
Manchester City fans will be quite content after their first three games sees them third in the league on six points, but a 3-2 loss at promoted Cardiff suggests Manuel Pellegrini needs time to bed-in his £95m of new talent.
City have started games quite sluggishly this season, with only two out of their eight league goals coming before the half-time whistle. David Silva’s sixth-minute header against Newcastle and Sergio Aguero’s second a quarter of an hour later are all the 2011/12 champions have to show for their first-half endeavours so far.
Pellegrini’s side’s next league fixture is a trip to former City chief Mark Hughes’ Stoke. The Potters’ 1-0 win at West Ham last time out was the east Londoners’ first home loss of any kind since February. Pablo Zabaleta’s 85th-minute goal secured a 1-0 win in the 2012/13 renewal of this fixture and backing the draw HT/Man City win FT at 18/5 may again prove to be a wise choice.
The first two games involving City this season produced at least four goals each, with the Sky Blues’ responsible for six of the nine overall strikes. They struggled to get the better of Hull last time out, however, and were made to wait until the 65th minute to open the scoring in a 2-0 home win.
Stoke have conceded just twice in their first three matches and should keep the scoresheet under 2.5 goals at 83/100.
City have bagged the first goal in each of their matches so far, with starters Silva and Edin Dzeko helping themselves to openers against Newcastle and Cardiff respectively and half-time substitute Alvaro Negredo responsible for breaking plucky Hull’s resistance last time out.
Bearing in mind that the two number nines are competing for the same spot, splitting your bet between Dzeko to score first and Negredo to score last seems sensible.
Other Notable Trends
Yaya Toure has scored in three of the last four league games he has featured in at the Etihad Stadium and his employers have taken maximum points in all but one of their last eight home games in the Premier League, with the 3-2 final-day loss to Norwich in May the sole exception.