Manchester City vs Tottenham | Saturday 19th February 2022, 17:30 | Sky Sports
The relentless Man City machine churned out yet another stylish display in midweek, sending out a warning shot to their Champions League rivals.
Pep Guardiola’s men romped home 5-0 against Sporting, which came just days after another slick and easy away league win at struggling Norwich. With a nine-point lead at the top of the table, can anyone stop the Sky Blues?
Spurs arrive in Manchester on the back of three consecutive and have conceded more goals in those three (7) than they did in their first nine under Antonio Conte (6).
The Italian has vented his frustration with the club’s January transfer activity once again this week, claiming the board have weakened the squad by allowing four to be loaned out and only bringing in the Juventus duo Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevksi.
Sitting in 8th, the Lilywhites do have games in hand on those around them, but they can’t afford any more slip-ups if they want a realistic chance of a top-four spot and Champions League football next season.
Although Spurs have won three of their last four against Man City, including on the opening day of this season, it’s hard to look past the hosts here given the clear difference in performance levels of late.
City have picked up 43 points from 45 available in their last 15 league games – the 1-1 draw at Southampton was their only blip. With the prices as they are, you’ve got to be creative to try and find some nice angles here.
And I think I might have done that with an EVS play on Bet365. Combine over 0 Man City goals (in the match) with over 3 Man City first-half corners using their Bet Builder feature.
Guardiola’s side have scored a league-high of 61 goals and have found the opposition net in 22 of 25 top-flight games this term. While Spurs have conceded nine goals in their last four matches, all of those seeing the opposition score 2+ times.
That’s self-explanatory, but it’s the corners leg that might need a bit more explaining. The Citizens lead the way for corners taken in the league with 219, an average of 8.8 per game.
Going further with that, City average 4.24 corners in the first 45 minutes of league matches. Plus, they’ve taken over 3 first-half corners in 67% of their home games (8/12).
Recently, they’ve flown out of the traps in their home games. Their first-half corner counts since hosting Everton have been 5, 1, 4, 3, 8, 6 and 5. The eight came against Leicester, while they hit six v Chelsea. You can see them pinning Spurs back early on here and racking up those corners before half-time, which makes this EVS shot a play.
The alternative angle to that would be over 9 match corners and both teams to receive a card in the second half, which is 7/5 using William Hill’s Build #YourOdds.
City’s league games this season have seen the corner count hit double figures in 17/25. While that figure is 17/22. So, these two sides are generally involved in matches with high corner counts.
The man in the middle is Anthony Taylor, so you’d have to expect cards. He took charge of the reverse fixture when showing a card to both sides, which is key to that alternative angle.
He’s shown 64 yellows and four reds in his 16 Premier League games, which sees a yellow per game average of four – a nice enough figure for cards punters.
While his only other involvement with Spurs saw him award the Lilywhites a penalty and send off Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu. That game also saw both teams pick up a card after half-time.
I looked back over his last 10 league games and found he’d shown 33 second-half cards, so an average of 3.3, which most of those games seeing one for both sides. That 7/5 is another suggestion if you’d prefer a bet for the full 90 just in case City fail to hit four first-half corners.
However, my second bet has to come in the cards market with the Altrincham-based whistler in the middle. Looking at Man City games has shown that left-sided opposing players have been in the thick of the action.
Chelsea’s left wing-back Marcos Alonso and left-sided central midfielder Marco Kovacic were both carded in last month’s meeting. Since then, Southampton left-sided midfielder Stuart Armstrong saw yellow, while on Tuesday, Sporting’s left wing-back Ricardo Esgaio and left-sided midfielder Matheus Mendes were both cautioned.
So, with Kevin de Bruyne drifting around the pitch and in-form Riyad Mahrez, flying down the flank, those Spurs left-sided players could be very busy, which leads me to two potential prey.
Sergio Reguilón has three cards in 18 starts this term, two of them in his last six starts – both in away games. The Spaniard isn’t shy to get stuck in. He committed three fouls in recent games against Watford and Crystal Palace.
Now, the second player who has to be mentioned is January signing Rodrigo Bentancur. He has already made himself known to English officials, picking up two cautions in 135 minutes for Spurs. That includes a card on his debut in a 14-minute cameo in the FA Cup against Brighton.
The Uruguayan is averaging a card every 67.5 mins during his Spurs career, although it’s a very small sample. But, it’s worth stating that he made three fouls against Wolves last weekend, which saw him enter the referee’s notebook.
Both players are priced at 3/1 for a card with Unibet, which is the best price on the market. Unfortunately, their Bet Builder doesn’t allow the double at the time of writing, so the 12/1 on Bet 365 might be worth a tickle for the pair.
But as a single, I’ll go with the Uruguayan with him having a lot on his plate as Man City will look to continue their flying form.