These are dark days for Manchester City. Humbled at Anfield last week, they then contrived to make Manchester United look like a vibrant, attacking team for 20 minutes.
Pep Guardiola was then sent to the stands on Tuesday as Liverpool knocked them out of the Champions League. They can’t even win the Premier League this weekend, the massive losers. Well, they could, but as West Brom would need to win at Old Trafford and are priced at 18/1 to do so, we can assume they won’t
To even give Darren Moore’s titans a chance of crowning them champions, City need to win at Wembley where Paddy have Spurs as narrow outsiders, with odds of 13/8. As Pep’s pups are 8/5, you can see this is going to be a hard match to call.
Luckily for you they pay me the big bucks to get to the bottom of this sort of thing, and I got plenty right in my preview of the reverse fixture. The match result itself may be hard to call, but one thing looks fairly certain – expect goals!
City’s defeat to United last weekend was their 50th league match in the past two seasons to feature at least three goals, and their 31st in the same period to have over 3.5. Both of these totals are records for the division, and they lead the way for top six clashes with over 2.5 goals too.
Spurs may not have featured in so many high scoring games over the last two years, but these teams seem to bring the goals out of each other.
There have been at least three goals in 11 of the last 13 league meetings.
Both sides carry a considerable goal threat and City’s defence has been generous enough to allow the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chris Smalling to score against them recently. I’ll be taking the 4/7 odds of there being over 2.5 goals, and I wouldn’t rule out the 6/4 for over 3.5 goals either.
It’s interesting that both teams have scored in ten of the last 13 league matches between these sides too, as Tottenham are one of the sides who see this happen least often in the Premier League. However, it has occurred in four of their last five games in all competitions, so they have form for it. You can get 8/15 that both teams find the Wembley net, and it’s definitely worth considering for your coupon.
So, who’s going to score all of these goals? Whoever actually does, there’s every chance Harry Kane tries to claim them, by virtue of being in the same postcode at the time. Paddy will want more concrete evidence than that, but even so there’s no doubt that Kane is the obvious horse to back on Grand National day.
Okay… this is just getting weirder. Harry Kane REALLY wants that goal. pic.twitter.com/8PehltjQse
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) April 10, 2018
He has scored 35 goals in all competitions this season, and has bagged the opening goal nine times in the Premier League, which is more than any other player. Take that, Mo Salah. Everyone’s favourite goal thief is priced at 8/11 to score, or 11/4 to net the opener.
As Kane takes Tottenham’s penalties, he may get a helping hand from the referee, Jonathan Moss. Who can forget the entertaining 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Spurs recently, where Moss awarded the visitors more penalties than the Reds have had at Anfield in the league all season.
To call the penalties questionable does a disservice to questions. At least there was contact though, unlike with that goal Kane somehow managed to claim.
Moss awards a penalty every 3.2 games on average, which is the third most frequent ref among the Premier League’s regular refs, and he hasn’t pointed to the spot in any of his last four matches.
He has also awarded Spurs and City eight penalties each in his career, which is the joint-most of any team. Bearing all of that mind makes the 12/5 odds for a penalty to be awarded look very appealing.
Back to the scorers market. I tipped Christian Eriksen to score in the reverse fixture, and he duly did. It was a shame for Spurs that City had scored four before he found the net, but that doesn’t matter to us when there’s money on it.
I suggested him last time as he was due a goal, whereas this time it’s as he’s in fine form, with six goals in his last eight appearances for Spurs. Play the Dane to score at any time at 12/5 is my advice. He may score first, at 13/2, but has only done so once in a top six match this season. That was at Wembley against a team from Manchester, but City should hold out for longer than 11 seconds.
The obvious choices for the visitors are Sergio Agüero and Raheem Sterling, as both are in the Premier League’s top five scorers this season.
As both have two goals in ‘big six’ league clashes this season and the Argentine has only just returned from injury, I’m more inclined to go for Sterling.
The former Liverpool man’s shots were worth more than Manchester United’s in expected goal terms at the Etihad last week, but he didn’t find the net. In his last eight league games, Sterling has scored two, but he has also missed five clear-cut chances so should’ve got one or two more. The England international is available at 6/1 to open the scoring, or 11/5 to get one at any time.
City are looking to become only the fourth team to win at Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs in the same Premier League season. They’re clearly not in the same league as the three sides who have already done it though; Coventry, Charlton and Blackburn.
As City can’t compare to those giants, I’m going to sit on the fence and go for a score draw, at 3/1. They haven’t lost two in a row in the league since 2016, and I don’t think they’re going to start now.
* All odds correct at time of posting.