THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE quarter-finals conclude this midweek. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from Tottenham's trip to Manchester City.
Manchester City v Tottenham | Wednesday 17th April 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
This tie is tantalisingly poised. Tottenham travel to The Etihad with a 1-0 lead in-check; even with that advantage available to them, bookmakers still have Mauricio Pochettino’s men as 13/10 outsiders to reach the semi-finals.
Keeping Manchester City out last week was a job well done by Spurs – few have managed to do so under Pep Guardiola. That also mounts the pressure on the Citizens to do the same on Wednesday night – a Spurs goal and City have to score at least three to go progress.
Belgian duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Verthongen were colossal at the back in the first leg and they will have to play to a similar standard, if not better, if the visitors are to book a place in the final-four
A lot has been made of Guardiola’s starting line-up last week; it looked mystifying to most and he consequently paid the price. Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane only came on in the dying embers of the game and he started Fabian Delph at left back, a position that he’s seldom occupied against elite sides. He was found wanting.
I’d expect Sane and De Bruyne both to start here, Bernardo Silva could also come back into the reckoning, which is a huge boost for the Blue Moon. Pep has hailed the Portuguese playmaker to the hills for his contribution this season and rightly so.
Spurs travel north without talisman Harry Kane, however, their record without the England hitman is strong considering his scoring record. Heung Min-Son and Lucas Moura have revelled in taking centre stage up-front when they’ve had the opportunity. The former getting the only goal in the first leg and the latter notched an impressive hat-trick on Saturday.
Poch could opt for a five-man defence with two holding midfielders and try and soak up the pressure and hit City on the break. With something to hold on for, the visitors are likely to impose a low block and make it hard for the hosts. With that in mind I’m going to take an alternative angle in search for a bet.
City are likely to be putting the pressure on from the get-go and playing largely in Spurs’ half, therefore I like the look of Over 3 first-half corners for the hosts, which is available to back at 5/6 on Bet365’s BetBuilder.
City have been the Corner kings this season and it’s no surprise. They average 18 shots per-game with seven landing on-target, they work opposition keepers so hard. They’re also excellent at breaking defensive lines. Quite often you’ll see the defensive midfielder or centre-half fire the ball in to the striker who then lays it off to the likes of David Silva or De Bruyne to play a through ball to one of City’s wide attackers.
It’s a clever manoeuvre that’s worked on plenty of occasions and it’s a swift approach from a deep position to the final third. It relies on timing and a one-touch move to be executed to maximum effect. City have the ideal players to do this so it will be interesting to see if Spurs have a defender and a midfielder scanning in between whoever starts up front to cut the initial pass off, possibly forcing City wide.
Oleksander Zinchenko should come back in at left-back which will get more natural width to City on the flanks. They’ll try get to the byline and cut it back in the box and with the onus on them to insert their authority from the early stages then it looks value to get with home corners in the first-half.
City to lead at half-time and full-time
Pep has been bullish in his confidence in his own side getting to the semi-finals, even after that first leg defeat. I’m expecting them to win this one but they’re too short in the To Qualify and Match Odds markets, for me. Instead I’ll plump for the double result and back City to win and be ahead at the interval which is 19/20 with Ladbrokes.
Spurs have lost six of their last seven away games whereas City have won 12 on the bounce at The Etihad. I’m expecting them to come out all guns blazing here, this competition means everything to the ownership of the club and they’ll be pressure on them to perform from all stakeholders.
This same bet is as short as 4/5 elsewhere so looks a touch of value in my eyes at a smidgen under even-money.