WILL DYER (@w2dyer) delves into Manchester City’s clash with West Brom on Tuesday night as they attempt to clinch third place.
Manchester City v West Brom | Tuesday 20:00 | Sky Sports 1
Champions League qualification and in what position lies in Manchester City’s hands. The Citizens have a game in hand over Liverpool and three points more than Arsenal, with a better goal difference than both.
City also have two easy games to finish the season; West Brom at home and away at Watford, both of whom have pulled up completely since mid-April. The former are winless in seven, scoring just twice in the process whilst the latter have lost five straight games.
Arsenal have two home games; Sunderland which looks a shoe-in three points but also Everton which is much trickier. Whilst Liverpool also have a kind final fixture, hosting relegated Middlesbrough at Anfield.
Fight For Third
It seems very likely that all three teams will win all of their remaining fixtures, in which case the table would finish with City third on 78 points, Liverpool fourth on 76 and Arsenal fifth on 75.
Finishing third is a much more favourable route to the Champions League, avoiding the early season play-off round. With that in mind, I’m not expecting Pep Guardiola to lay off West Brom at all.
The Sky Blues 2-1 win over Leicester last weekend was crucial in achieving that aim but whilst they were dominant, they very nearly fell flat on their face. Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty to make it 2-2 and Leicester had a couple of other late chances to equalize.
Guardiola’s men are now unbeaten in 14 matches at the Etihad, winning nine and drawing five since the 3-1 reverse to Chelsea in December. The Baggies have lost seven consecutive away matches at the stadium since they last won promotion to the Premier League in 2008.
Pulis Rolls Over
I think City are a sure-fire thing to win this and so do the bookies, Betway being best price at 1/6 but the tricky thing is working out whether Tony Pulis’ men find the back of the net. City have conceded in 14 of their last 19 at home but Albion have scored in just one of their last seven games, making for a confusing mix.
Consequently, backing either Man City to Win and Both Teams To Score or Man City to Win to Nil should be avoided. Although the former would appear the standout value of the two at 19/10.
Instead, I’m delving into the increasingly popular specials markets with William Hill’s ‘#YourOdds’. The selection is Over 1 goal, over 3 cards and over 10 corners at 4/1. The reasoning is as follows.
City need to win this and should put out a strong side, which it’s unlikely the Baggies will be able to cope with; six of their last seven visits to Etihad have seen two or more goals scored.
Combine that with both clubs being in the top six for poor disciplinary and West Brom’s hankering for corners as a source for goals and we have the perfect recipe.
Thirteen of West Brom’s 17 (76%) Premier League away games this season have seen four or more cards and 11 of City’s 18 home games to boot (61%). Implying a combined probability of 69%.
Twelve of those Baggies trips have seen over 1 goals (71%) and a whopping 16 of City’s games at Etihad have (89%), which is a combined probability of 80%.
The final part of the selection is corners, both West Brom and City have seen 10 of their away and home games respectively go over 10 corners, the combined probability there being 57%.
This means we have a treble of selections priced at 4/9, 1/4 and 3/4. The combination of those prices should be around the 11/5 mark and that’s the exact price it is with Bet365 where you can combine all of those markets. However, we have 4/1 on offer with William Hill. It looks a great value wager.
Manchester City v West Brom – Over 1 Goal, Over 3 Cards, Over 10 Corners (7/2 WilliamHill)