CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) takes a look at Man City’s match with Stoke on Wednesday night. What’s he backing?
Manchester City v Stoke | Wednesday 20:00 | Sky Sports 1
Chelsea’s win on Monday night at West Ham saw the Blues pull closer to the league title and even if their rivals win all their remaining matches it might not be enough to catch them.
Man City are their closest pursuers at the moment. The Citizens are 11 points back but have this game in hand on Wednesday to move within eight points of Antonio Conte’s side. It’s small beer really.
Their opponents are Stoke, a side I have a huge amount of affection for. Once again they delivered the goods for me on Saturday as they cruised past Middlesbrough but they’ve looked out of their depth in these kind of games this season.
Against the famed Top 6 in 2016/17 Mark Hughes’ side have P8 W0 D2 L6 figures to show for their efforts. Both those draws have come against a flaky Manchester United side but in the six defeats they haven’t laid a glove on the rest of the sides.
Stoke faced Manchester City back in Week 2 of the season and they were hammered 4-1 at the Bet365. To be fair, the Potters did have an awful start to the season so that result can certainly be dismissed in some ways.
A dip into the head to head records don’t make comfortable reading for Stoke either though. Man City have won six of the last nine encounters and some of these have been big wins.
As well as the 4-1 win in August, Man City have also won 4-0, 4-1 and 3-0 (on three occasions this decade) against Stoke. It’s certainly a dominant record.
City’s cramped price
However, Stoke are as big as 14/1 to win on Wednesday. It just feels too big. It’s hard to imagine them winning this but can you really justify a price of 1/5 on Man City? Not for me.
City’s weakness this season has of course been their defence and from a value point of view it’s worth chancing on Stoke penetrating them on Wednesday night.
Man City to win and both teams to score is a fairly appealing 31/21 (just shy of 6/4) while City to win and Over 2.5 is 4/6 while a To Nil win is 11/10.
Tossing it up on my mind (with price, as always, the main consideration) the City/BTTS bet is the path to forge. While their defence has definitely improved, they have conceded in three of their last six games.
Man City v Stoke – Man City to win and both teams to score (31/21 888 Sport)