CHAMPIONS LEAGUE analyst Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) takes a look at this evening's kick-off between Manchester City and Basel.
Manchester City v Basel | Wednesday 20th March 2018, 19:45 | BT Sport
Given the way they brushed aside their Swiss opponents in the first leg, at first glance it is hard to see this being anything other than a formality for Manchester City on Wednesday night.
The Citizens were three up inside 23 minutes a few weeks ago, before adding a fourth in the second half as they recorded yet another convincing victory.
City are a best price of 1/6 to win the home leg, which is about the same price as they would be against anyone from seventh downwards in the Premier League. Their record at home against such opponents this season is formidable. They have won 10 of their 11 matches, with their only draw coming back in August against Everton when they were down to ten men for 46 minutes. Their goal difference is +30 across those matches so it is easy to see why they are such a short price against weak opposition, even if they have little to play for.
Reports suggest that City are likely to make around right changes from the side that beat Chelsea at the weekend, with Claudio Bravo likely to play in goal. That change, coupled with the fact that City have conceded in seven of their 11 games against the aforementioned opponents leads me to back Both Teams To Score at 5/4.
Basel have been poor in domestic football recently, failing to score in three of their last four matches. However, I don't feel that they were as bad as the first leg result in Switzerland suggested. They had ten attempts on goal and should have had a penalty.
I don't expect them to win this tie but I think they are value to find the net.
If you want to go back a little further, looking at City's record against sides outside of the top six since Pep Guardiola took over at The Etihad, 17 of their 25 matches have seen both sides find the net, while they also conceded at home to Bristol City and Burnley in cup competition this season.
Given City's lack of incentive, I was tempted to back Basel on the handicap. However, I would rather make a more adventurous play and back a 3-1 win for The Citizens at 21/2. Of the sample of 25 games against similar opposition, five of these matches have ended with this result. If you were to include all 45 home games in Pep's reign, seven have ended this way, so I believe this price represents excellent value. Moreover, 30 of these 45 matches (67%) have seen both sides find the net, which further supports the original bet.
Both Teams To Score (5/4 Paddy Power)
Manchester City 3-1 Basel (21/2 BetVictor)