West Brom v Manchester City
Tuesday 26th January, kick-off 20:15
Live on BT Sport 1
Down at the Hammers, but not out
The Baggies are winless in their last 18 matches versus Manchester City, and it doesn’t look as though that will be changing anytime soon ahead of Tuesday night’s encounter, although encouraging signs emerged out of their 2-1 loss at West Ham recently – a game I previewed. Ninety minutes and very few chances in east London, Sam Allardyce will be hoping for more of the same, although he admitted the play in the final third was poor.
Currently with 11 points, Brighton remain the elusive hare with 17 points so it’s likely Allardyce will see the two games after City as winnable with fixtures against Sheffield United and Fulham.
Striker Karlan Grant is expected to return to the squad, although Grady Diangana and Conor Townsend are injured.
In his pre-match press conference, Pep Guardiola labelled Big Sam a genius for picking up a points against Liverpool and beating Wolves. I imagine he will be delighted with that.
City peeling off win after win
Manchester City will be presented with a golden chance to go back on top of the Premier League with victory against the Baggies on Tuesday. Currently two points off great rivals Manchester United on 38, another win will take their tally to 11 on the spin.
Their latest PL victory against Aston Villa involved a fair bit of toil and graft alongside a high number of shots – 28 in total. But Pep was pleased his team controlled the game throughout and collected yet another clean sheet. Phil Foden had a very influential game too.
In terms of team news, Kevin De Bruyne remains on the sidelines, and Sergio Aguero continues to struggle putting together a sequence of appearances, although his latest stint on the side is due to a positive Covid-19 test.
City remain the hot favourites to win the league title at 1.491/2 to back in the Winner market, with Liverpool now out to a massive 9.89/1.
City can be backed at 1.211/5 to win this, and whilst I recognise I need a little profit to add to my P and L column, a collection of .21 points on the ledger is hardly the stuff of the Great Gatsby.
West Brom are a whopping 18.017/1, and I would be surprised if it wasn’t pushed out even further, as it’s unlikely backers are taking the view there’s a win to be had, especially with the rather damning stat that they have lost their last four Premier League home games and have conceded 24 in nine at the Hawthorns.
The safest way to play this could be the Asian Handicap (apart from the 1.21 outright back of course), with Man City -2.0 making most sense at 2.01/1. This angle looks the smartest as the hosts have suffered four home defeats by a margin of three goals or more, so we do have the little buffer in place with that, and the fact that City are keeping plenty of clean sheets – seven in their last 10.
With the same idea, backing the away side to Win To Nil at 1.784/5 is a possible with a Big Sam special of attempting to shut up shop.