Manchester City

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West Ham v Manchester City Betting Preview – 6 January 2017

Manchester City

Friday 6th January 2016 Kickoff: 1955hrs
West Ham United v Manchester City
Football – England – FA Cup

The FA Cup Third Round has long been one of the most anticipated weekends on the English football calendar and whilst it may carry the same prestige as it once did, there’s still excitement around. West Ham face Manchester City in the first game of the round this year, with both sides requiring a boost from what has been a disappointing first half of the season. West Ham last reached the final in 2006 – contesting an epic encounter against Liverpool, whilst City have reached it twice in the last six seasons, winning once against Stoke before a shock loss to Wigan two years later. Who will take one step closer to Wembley this time around?!

There was real positivity building around West Ham after Slaven Bilic guided the Hammers to seventh – and a place in Europe – in his first season in charge, ahead of their move to the London Stadium. That positivity has been tempered somewhat this term, however, as West Ham have been unable to hit those same heights. Monday’s loss at home to Manchester United was their 10th defeat of the season and one that leaves them in the bottom half of the table. They do have a seven point cushion over the bottom three and managed to string three crucial wins together in December, but expectation now is such that the supporters are not accepting of merely surviving in the Premier League. The club have this week been linked with several strikers in a attempt to add depth to their squad and it could be a new signing with a proven ability to score goals at the top level will ensure they kick on between now and May.

The hysteria that surrounded Pep Guardiola’s arrival at the Etihad has been diluted somewhat with City struggling to keep on track with leaders Chelsea at the top of the Premier League. Recent losses to that opponent and Liverpool have highlighted some real shortcomings of the team and their seemingly inability to put a run of form together that many felt they were capable of. For a manager that only knows success in Spain and Germany, his first experience of England has certainly been something of a reality check and one that has begun to annoy Guardiola who has been noticeably irked with the media of late. His players at least showed some of the desire and grit that has been lacking by defeated Burnley at home despite playing the majority of the game with 10 men and will be hoping that the result and second half performance is the foundations for a very positive run of form to begin 2017 – starting with Guardiola’s first FA Cup game this evening.

West Ham United v Manchester City Betting Tips

These two have already met in the league this season as City survived a second half scare to record a 3-1 win which took them to the top of the table at the time. That seems a long time ago for Guardiola but he’ll be desperate for another win over the hammers with a view to continuing City’s participation in the competition. West Ham will just be hoping that the switch of competition brings with it better results at home than the league does. To give them some confidence, they have already defeated Chelsea in the other domestic cup this term.

Both teams have struggled defensively this season which should mean for plenty of goals in this encounter. West Ham have kept just four clean sheets all season whilst City have not been much better with seven – taking into account that two of them were against Steaua in the playoff round of the Champions League. Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals was a slightly unlucky loser for us in midweek but I think that’s the route to go on this occasion.

Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals 20/23 @ Coral

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Leicester v Manchester City Betting Tip Manchester City – 10 December 2016

Premier League Tips

Saturday 10th December 2016 Kickoff: 1730hrs

Leicester City v Manchester City                                                                        

Football – England – Premier League League

With European football now out the way until February for both these clubs, all attention focuses on Premier League points for Leicester and Manchester City. The two will come into this weekend’s game needing the win for very different reasons as the hosts attempt to climb away from the relegation zone whilst their opponents will be looking to close the gap at the top of the table. It’s fair to say that neither have had the best of weeks so a win to end it would be very much welcome for both managers.

After the huge high of surprising everybody and winning the Premier League title last season, Leicester have came crashing back down to earth domestically, at least, and find themselves in 16th spot after 14 games. They have, of course, qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League – topping their group no least – but competing in two competitions seems to have been their undoing in the Premier League. The summer additions do not seem to have added the depth required so Claudio Ranieri will be relieved that he can concentrate solely on ensuring they are not dragged into a relegation battle and attempt to pull clear before they return to European action next year. They welcome City on Saturday evening having failed to win in the league since the 22nd of October, losing three of their last five. Another major concern for the manager is their poor defensive record as the Foxes have not kept a clean sheet in the league for eight games.

City will be on a recovery mission this weekend after a disappointing home defeat to Chelsea last Saturday which further illustrated that there is some serious work needing to be done with this team. The defeat was compounded further with the petulant dismissals of both Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero who will both miss Saturday’s trip to Leicester, indeed the latter will not be available for selection in the league again until New Year’s Eve. The situation is certainly not terminal as City lie in fourth, four points adrift of leaders Chelsea. They, too, have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League but Guardiola (who is known as a perfectionist) will know better than anyone that if they are to be successful in England and Europe, then performances and standards will simply have to be a lot better on a more consistent basis – starting on Saturday.

Leicester City v Manchester City Betting Tips

Leicester surprised world football last season when they took on and defeated the best England had to offer, and City failed to beat them on either occasion the two met. The circumstances surrounding the first meeting of the two this term are much more different as the home team come into it desperate for some respite after a recent poor run. City have not performed to the levels we expect but they could well have that bit of extra quality to make the difference.

As both clubs had already ensured qualification for the next stage of the Champions League, Ranieri and Guardiola opted to rotate their squads so their first choice XI will be well rested ahead of this one. City have won their last three away games in the league and even without Aguero I fancy them to edge this one and inflict yet more misery on their hosts.

Manchester City 3/4 @ Betfred

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Manchester City v Celtic Betting Tip Both teams to score – 6 December 2016

Champions League Tips

Tuesday 6th December 2016 Kickoff: 1945hrs

Manchester City v Celtic                                                                                        

Football – Europe – Champions League

Incredibly, this week sees the final round of group stage matches in this season’s Champions League. It seems like barely any time has passed since both these teams were opening their campaigns back in September but they will close out this stage of the competition with very different paths ahead of them. City have already done enough to secure second place and qualify behind Barcelona for the last 16. Celtic, on the other hand, will finish bottom of the group and will only be playing for coefficient purposes along with pride. That said, if we can get a repeat of the game at Celtic Park then we could well be in for a treat.

City do not come into this match on the back of the result they would have been hoping for after losing 3-1 at home to Chelsea last Saturday. It was a game hyped as being between two teams with genuine title credentials and many people’s favourites for that accolade. Despite going a goal up in the first half, Pep Guardiola’s men were well beaten in the end and done themselves no favours for the upcoming matches with the nasty sending offs of both Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho in the latter stages. As they had already qualified and could finish no better than second in the section, it’s unlikely that Guardiola will change his strategy for this game but he may just be that little bit more motivated to ensure they finish the group off on a winning note and refocus minds ahead of their weekend fixture away to champions Leicester on Saturday evening. City will also be keen to continue their winning record at home in the Champions League where they have racked up six wins and two draws in their last eight games at the Etihad.

Celtic looked set to be on course for their first ever domestic defeat under Brendan Rodgers against Motherwell at the weekend as they went behind 2-0 and 3-2 before a rousing comeback ensured a 4-3 win and stretched their lead further at the top of the Scottish Premiership. The second half performance was a further indication of how much growth and development this team has went through in the six months that Rodgers had been at the club, and further illustration of their dominance of the Scottish game. European football has been much more challenging, of course, as you would expect when you compare the resources of the Scottish champions to the likes of City and Barcelona. Qualifying for the group stage was the main goal this term and that as achieved after three qualifying matches. Their chances of progressing any further were not helped when drawn in this section, and the writing was on the wall with a 7-0 thrashing away to Barcelona to kick off proceedings. To Celtic’s credit, though, they have turned in much more accomplished performances since that loss and could easily have a couple of wins on the board. As it is their two points have come at home to City and away to Borussia Monchengladbach – they’ll be hoping to add to that tally tonight.

Guardiola is expected to give many of his fringe players a run out this evening with a view to not only give some of the younger players in the squad further experience, but also allow his key players some rest after what has been a hectic first half of the campaign. Many of his squad have played two games a week since early August between domestic, European and international commitments and this dead rubber of a match presents an opportunity for a break ahead of what will be a chaotic festive period for the club as they bid to climb their way back to the top of the table. What the manager (and neutral) will be looking for from those who come in is the tempo to be right from the outset otherwise it could descend into something of a training game.

It would be a surprise if Rodgers plays anything other than his strongest team available for the game as he looks to lead his players to what would be a famous win. It may not mean anything in terms of qualification but it does provide an opportunity for his team to continue to grow at this level and build their coefficient rating which should mean an easier passage in future qualification campaigns. Celtic have plenty to look forward to between now and the end of the season but they will want to avoid a similar performance and result to that they experienced against Barcelona in the Nou Camp. There were plenty of positives to take from the 1-1 draw against Monchengladbach in their last away game and it will be about building on those.

Manchester City v Celtic Betting Tips

The 3-3 draw back in September between these two was arguably the game of the group stage and whet’s the appetite for tonight’s game. It’s sometimes difficult to get players motivated when there’s little meaning to the result but as it’s another clash between Scotland and England – and the fact that thousands of Celtic fans have travelled to Manchester – the atmosphere should help with the pace and tempo of the game. It’s a match that probably means more to the visitors as Rodgers will have his eye on developing his players further ahead of their next participation in the Champions League.

Defences were posted missing at times when they last met and neither were on top form at the weekend in their respective domestic matches when both shipped three. I envisage another entertaining game at the Etihad with City and Celtic both demonstrating they have plenty of options in attack throughout their seasons thus far. City’s last six games have all seen both teams scoring and Celtic certainly have enough to trouble them on Tuesday backed by their amazing supporters, and it was also a winning selection for the column back in September in the last meeting.

Both teams to score 8/11 @ Stan James

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Manchester United v Manchester City Betting Tip Both teams to score – 26 October 2016

English Football Betting

Wednesday 26th October 2016 Kickoff: 2000hrs

Manchester United v Manchester City

Football – England – EFL Cup

Despite only coming to the end of October, Wednesday plays host to the second Manchester derby of the season as United meet City for a place in the quarter final of the EFL Cup. The red half of the city will be looking for some revenge following a 2-1 defeat in the league back in September.

Anybody expecting United to have immediate success with the arrival of Jose Mourinho will be suffering from something of a reality check at this point in time. Having been in the wilderness somewhat since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, the club went all out to get Mourinho to replace Louis Van Gaal during the summer and there was a belief that the former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach would have an instant effect on the club’s fortunes. That belief was further strengthened when he acquired some big name players (and personalities) that appeared to have been lacking under the previous two managers. Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, amongst others, were the high profile players that United supporters craved, and hoped would get them back to the top of the tree in England this season. Fast forward a couple of months and the smart money is on the turnaround at Old Trafford is going to take slightly longer. Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea would have been a humbling one for all concerned, particularly Mourinho against his old club, but it was also an illustration of how limited this United team remain when having to chase games. Few can compete with the Portuguese man when it comes to frustrating opposition teams, but losing a goal so early in the game was their downfall and one they could not recover from.

Ten wins from the first 10 games of the season looked to have City on track to fulfill their own supporters’ expectations of this season. With Pep Guardiola arriving at the club, along with a host of big money signings, there was huge optimism surrounding the club and they could not have started the season in better form – both domestically and Europe. The last five games, however, have brought them back down to earth with a bump and there is a need for a significant improvement if they are to have the success that so many predicted. City remain winless in the month of October having lost to Tottenham and Barcelona, and drawn at home to Everton and Southampton. There’s no doubt that they have suffered some bad luck along the way and could easily have more points on the board than they currently possess, but there remains a naivety to how the team defend and that is being exploited at every opportunity. Guardiola has enjoyed overwhelming success everywhere he’s went but there is some suggestion that he is trying to overcomplicate matters early in his City career with certain player selections and tactics, not least leaving Sergio Aguero on the bench against Barcelona last midweek.

Mourinho has been critical of the performances of some of his players already this season and he would have been angry with the manner of the defeat against Chelsea on Sunday. Despite their early season troubles, United remain just six points off the league leaders and are definitely within reaching distance. However, the concern has to be around their overall performances which have been far from convincing, especially in attack. The arrival of Zlatan was expected to solve their goal scoring problems, in the short term at least, but he has struggled over the last six weeks, scoring just one goal in his last nine appearances. His last goal in the league actually came when these two last met at Old Trafford in September. Without him scoring regularly there has been a distinct lack of goals in general, as United have managed to score more than one goal in just four of those games.

With Champions League qualification far from assured at the halfway stage, and with their league campaign faltering, Guardiola has understandably stated that there will be some changes ahead of this EFL Cup match. Despite being drawn away to their biggest rivals, this competition still ranks as the least important of the three they are currently contesting and it will provide an opportunity for some of his fringe players to get a run out, at the same time affording key players some rest. Kevin De Brunye is ruled out through injury but we can expect several more changes to the team that faced Southampton on Sunday. Nevertheless, considering the run they are on at the moment, all concerned will be hoping that Wednesday night is a return to winning ways as City try to spark their season back into gear.

Manchester United v Manchester City Betting Tips

When the two met in the league back in early September, City looked to be a superior outfit for long spells but the match could easily have been drawn late on. Whilst this week’s game will not carry the same significance, it remains a derby and one that both managers will want to win, even if they are likely to freshen their teams up ahead of important league and European fixtures in the next week.

Although it may not have the array of stars that would normally bestow this fixtures, there will be plenty of talent on show and a number of match winners on both sides. I often think that this competition allows teams to play with a bit more freedom as it is not the same prestige or importance that others carry. As that’s the case, we should expect to see Mourinho play with less restrictions that he normally may and as Guardiola tends to play a similar way all the time, I can see this being another entertaining encounter – similar to the 2-1 game which City edged. The visitors have not kept a clean sheet since the middle of September whilst United have only managed to shut out on opposition team at Old Trafford since August, and that came in the Europa League to Zorya. Both teams to score looks a reasonably safe bet, here, at tempting odds.

Both teams to score 3/4 @ Betfair

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Manchester City v Everton Betting Tip Both teams to score – 15 October 2016

Premier League Tips

Saturday 15th October 2016

Kickoff: 1500hrs Manchester City v Everton

Football – England – Premier League

The latest International break has come to a conclusion meaning the domestic action returns to our screens this weekend. The Premier League is back with a bang with a number if intriguing fixtures including Manchester United’s visit to Liverpool and Chelsea hosting last season’s champions Leicester. However, the only game featuring two of the top five takes place at the Etihad with league leaders Manchester City looking to return to winning ways as they host fifth place Everton.

Pep Guardiola won his first 10 games in charge of City when arriving from Bayern Munich this summer but he’s now failed to win either of his last two. A 3-3 draw with Celtic in the Champions League at least preserved their unbeaten record but many people’s favourites for the title came unstuck against Tottenham last time out, going down 2-0 at White Hart Lane. It was a stark reminder that despite the quality they possess, City still has a long way to meet the expectation that has been placed upon them since Guardiola took over. They were thoroughly outplayed against Spurs but remain top of the table by one point and will attempt to get back to winning ways with the visit of Everton on Saturday. No visiting team has left the Etihad with anything thus far – either in the Premier League or European competition – and we know how dominant Guardiola’s teams tend to be on their own patch.

It has been a very good start for Everton under the stewardship of Ronald Koeman for the first time. After what was a bitterly disappointing campaign last time out, where they could only manage an 11th place finish. That, combined with similar disappointments in previous seasons was enough for the Everton board to act and relieve Roberto Martinez of his duties. Koeman has impressed during his time at Southampton and he’s picked up at Goodison where he left off with his previous employers. The Toffees won four of their first five league games, surpassing their best ever start in the top flight. Convincing wins over Sunderland and Middlesbrough looked to set them up perfectly for what appeared to be two winnable games away to Bournemouth and at home to Crystal Palace. That wasn’t to be the case, however, as Everton managed just a point from those fixtures. Nevertheless it has been an excellent beginning and one that will excite their fans again who were becoming disillusioned under Martinez.

As ever with international weeks, City had a plethora of stars away on duty with their countries which makes it difficult for the coach to prepare for the upcoming games. City also face the first of what will be a double header against Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday meaning Guardiola’s selection for the Everton game will be interesting. One man who will almost certainly play in both is the red hot Sergio Aguero, despite being away with Argentina. The little striker has been sensational thus far, scoring 11 goals already, despite missing three games through suspension. He’s struggled against Everton in recent times, though, failing to score in his last three league meetings with them but he did notch when City defeated the Toffees in the League Cup semi-final earlier this year.

One man who epitomized the inconsistency of a Roberto Martinez Everton team was striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker could look a world class player one week and virtually unplayable, whilst in the next game he would be completely ineffectual. He would go on long spells without scoring a goal before a streak of five or six games where everything he hit went in the net. Koeman appears to have had a positive effect on the big Belgian’s form thus far, with five goals in his first six league games, including a hat-trick away to Sunderland. He’s continued that good form into his international duty, scoring three goals in two qualifying games. It’s somewhat ironic that his country is now managed by Martinez but by continuing to work with Koeman at his club then you feel we will see the best of Lukaku on a consistent basis.

Manchester City v Everton Betting Tips

Whilst it’s somewhat surprising that this game is not televised, there is something about three o’clock kick offs on a Saturday that adds to the excitement with so many big matches played at other points of the week. Although both teams have started the season in a positive manner, their last couple of results will ensure that the determination to get the three points here will be that wee bit more. You can never be sure how the first game back after an international break will go but there is so much attacking talent on show and both coaches will set their teams up to go forward as much as possible.

Recent meetings between the two have tended to be close fought affairs despite the relative wealth of both. Only one of the last five league meetings have been settled by more than one goal and it could be a similar story on Saturday. Everton have only failed to perform in one game this season – the 1-0 loss at Bournemouth – and it is obvious to see how much better organized they are in defence. The addition of Ashley Williams has been a major factor in that and whilst he will have his hands full with Aguero and company, I believe the visitors will be a match for City and continue their record of scoring in all their games this season, bar that defeat two games ago. City have won all three of their home league games thus far but they were made to work for their wins over Sunderland and West Ham, who both managed to breach the home side’s defence. Both teams to score is the selection here and it wouldn’t surprise me either if Everton could score more than one goal.

Both teams to score 8/13 @ Betfred

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Celtic v Manchester City Betting Tip Both teams to score – 28 September 2016

Champions League Tips

Wednesday 28th September 2016 Kickoff: 1945hrs

Celtic v Manchester City

Football – Europe – Champions League

The Champions League continues on Wednesday with a Battle of Britain at Celtic Park. The Scottish champions suffered a sobering 7-0 defeat away to Barcelona on match day one whilst Manchester City were far too good for German cracks Borussia Moenchengladbach at home – despite a delay of 24 hours because of bad weather. The two take each other for the first ever time in European competition on Wednesday in front of what will be a special atmosphere on another Celtic Park European night.

There’s no doubt that Celtic faced a huge uphill task when the draw was made at the end of August having been paired in the group of death. Just reaching the group stages was seen as an achievement for the Hoops having missed out on the last two seasons, particularly as they started their qualifying campaign back in the middle of July. That was a distant memory a fortnight ago in the Nou Camp, however, as Leo Messi and company reminded Celtic of just how big a step up it is from the Scottish Premiership to this level. Bearing in mind Brendan Rodgers’ men had just defeated their arch rivals Rangers 5-1 the weekend before, to be on the other end of a heavy defeat would have brought them right back down to earth. Things do not get much easier for them this round as they take on Manchester City team who are flying in the English Premier League. Nevertheless, this campaign will be seen as a learning curve for a young Celtic team who will relish playing in the big games, on the big occasions. Confidence should be high as well considering they hammered Kilmarnock 6-1 in the league on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester City had long been mooted and the club’s supporters were rightly excited at the prospect of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach leading their team. That feel has been well placed with City winning their first 10 matches under the Spaniard. The style in which they have been victorious also has to be admired as Man City have already scored 30 goals during that spell, demonstrating just how much firepower they possess. Their biggest test to date has been the Manchester derby where they ran out convincing 2-1 winners at Old Trafford and sent out a warning to the other teams in the league that they are vastly improved from the team that limped into fourth place last season under the departing Manuel Pellegrini. Following violent thunderstorms, City’s opening Champions League match had to be postponed until the following day but it had little impact on their performance as they brushed aside ‘Gladbach to get their campaign off to the perfect start. Along with Barca, the English club are hot favourites to progress from group C, and on the evidence we have seen so far that looks more than likely to happen.

Due to Leigh Griffiths recent injury, summer signing Moussa Dembele has been given an opportunity to lead the line for Celtic over the last month and he has certainly grasped the chance with both hands. A hat-trick against Rangers earlier in the month was followed with another three goals since, illustrating how much a talent the 20 year old Frenchman is. The only disappointment for him was missing a penalty against Barcelona when the score was 1-0. It would be some leap of faith to suggest that if he had scored it that Celtic would have managed to get a result from the game but it would it was a chance they could not afford to pass up and set the tone for the rest of the evening. Although Griffiths returned to action as a substitute at the weekend, it’s expected that Dembele will get another chance up top as he bids to add to the two goals he scored in qualifying.

Another striker bang in form is City’s Sergio Aguero who has started this season on fire. His star quality has been apparent for a long time but the arrival of Guardiola seems to have already had an impact on the contribution of the little Argentinean. A hat tricks against Moenchengladbach in the previous game are three of his 11 goals thus far and providing he is able to stay fit it appears ominous for any opposition defenders. Bearing in mind he has also served a three game ban this term, his scoring record is ridiculous. Of course, there is no lack of service with Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Nolito and Kevin de Bruyne providing the ammunition. Unfortunately for City, the last named of that quarter will be missing on Wednesday due to injury.

Celtic v Manchester City Betting Tips

European nights at Celtic Park are amongst the best this competition has to offer and tomorrow night should be no different. The Scottish club have held their own against the best the continent has to offer but they will be severely tested with the visit of City who look imperious at this point in time. It does not appear that the heavy defeat to Barcelona has left any lasting marks on Rodgers’ men going by their domestic performances but they will hope to be more competitive at home, even though they are coming up against another excellent team who score from all over the park. City will be targeting this game for a win as they look to challenge Barcelona for top spot in the group.

Celtic’s real strength is going forward as they have proven with their excellent domestic scoring record, and they really should have been on the score sheet against Barca as well, courtesy of Dembele’s penalty. City have yet to concede in the competition thus far but they have only kept one clean sheet other than that so there is a weakness there if the home team can exploit it. Whilst I think the visitors will have too much quality overall for their opponents, and class will tell, they are not invincible and the likes of Dembele and Scott Sinclair have enough about them to cause problems. Both teams to score has been a winner in five of Celtic’s seven home games this season and is the way to go here.

Both teams to score 4/5 @ Bwin

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Manchester United v Manchester City Betting Tip Both teams to score – 10 September 2016

Premier League Tips

Saturday 10th September 2016 Kickoff: 1230hrs
Manchester United v Manchester City
Football – England – Premier League

Despite only less than a month into the new season, Saturday sees on the of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures as the two Manchester clubs come head to head. As well as being the standard derby clash which is enough importance and meaning for the two sets of supporters, it also brings together arguably the two highest profile managers in the world in Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. The two are not strangers of course having both coached in Spain where Guardiola’s Barcelona usually had the edge against the Mourinho managed Real Madrid. They renew acquaintances once again on Saturday as City travel to Old Trafford with both teams 100% start to the season on the line.

Mourinho made no secret of his desire to take over at United and be finally got his chance during the summer with the challenge of getting the Red Devils back challenging, and winning, the title. Their start to the season has been an impressive one and United are already looking like a Mourinho type team. Three straight wins against Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull is exactly what the club needed to get over the disappointment of last season when they missed out on the top four and playing in the Champions League. The manner of their wins over Bournemouth and Southampton was impressive as they dominated from start to finish and were in full control, paving the way for comfortable successes. United were on top for the vast majority of the game against Hull too but were kept at bay until added time. Marcus Rashford’s winner could well be a sign of things to come this season as it was a throwback to so many games under Sir Alex Ferguson when they would win games late on.

City too have enjoyed a good start to the season with three wins from as many games in the Premier League and also easing into the group stages of the Champions League. Their last game before the recent international break was a 3-1 win at home to West Ham in what was a relatively routine success despite only scoring the clinching goal in the last couple of minutes. The win came at a cost, however, as Sergio Aguero threw a reckless elbow in the second half which led to him being given a three match ban following the use of tv evidence after the game. That ban begins immediately meaning be will be absent for the trip to Old Trafford and that is a massive blow. Despite City stockpiling a plethora of attacking midfielders and wide players, there are not many options to play in the lone striking role. Kelechi Iheanacho is the most obvious replacement but you would not put it past Guardiola to play somebody in a more withdrawn role. Whoever plays furthest forward will have big shoes to fill, especially against an opponent whom Aguero has enjoyed great success against in the past.

With big games come big expectations and they can only be met with big characters and personalities. Unfortunately for United those characters have been somewhat lacking in recent seasons but the spending spree Mourinho has overseen since arriving has ensured that the big time players are once again back at Old Trafford. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba are world class talents but they also possess an arrogance and swagger that the club itself has been missing, and they will have to come to the fore this weekend in the derby game, particularly as United are the home team and will be looking to assert their authority. In addition to the players, the arrival of Mourinho brings with it the biggest ego of the lot and the manager has already stated he feels this squad is capable of winning of the league.

City have already shown how devastating they can be going forward having scored four against Stoke and three last time out against the hammers. Guardiola’s men have hit teams with sudden bursts of flair and attacking intensity but they have not been able to sustain that for an entire game and remain very much a work in progress in the early days of the former Bayern Munich manager’s reign. Pep has opted to go with just one defensive midfielder in his first month in charge but he may see Saturday’s game as one where his team need to be more cautious in their approach. City also have Champions League duty during the week when facing off against Borussia Moenchengladbach and a draw at one of their biggest rivals may not be the worst result going into the start of their European campaign.

Manchester United v Manchester City Betting Tips

The two derbies last season were pretty forgettable as the team’s played out a goalless draw at Old Trafford before a solitary goal from teenage sensation Marcus Rashford earned the spoils at the Etihad. We can only hope that the rivalry will be better this term and there’s plenty of reason why it should considering the arrivals at both during the summer – particularly both managers. There was plenty of controversy when the two clashed in Spain and whilst Guardiola has attempted to play down their own battle, it probably won’t take much to see some sparks on the sidelines as well as on the pitch itself.

The absence of Aguero is huge for the visitors, not only is he their best goalscorer but his influence on the team in general should not be underestimated. He’s deservedly serving a ban, however, and it will be a test of some of the other big players such as David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne who have flattered to deceive in the big games over the last season. We know Mourinho’s preference is to keep it tight against fellow title challengers but the atmosphere in this one could see it explode and I would not be at all surprised if we see some goals. Neither team would be disappointed with the draw but they will both be trying to win it from the off and both teams to score looks a solid pick whilst a smaller play on 1-1 is also of interest.

Both teams to score 10/11 @ William Hill

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Swansea City v Manchester City Betting Tip Over 2.5 goals, 2016-05-15

Premier League Tips

Sunday 15th May 2016 Kickoff 1500hrs
Swansea City v Manchester City
Football – Premier League – England

Following Manchester United’s late capitulation away to West Ham on Tuesday, qualification for next season’s Champions League is back in the hands of the other half of Manchester. City know that a win on the final day of the season away to Swansea would guarantee them fourth spot and ensure they have the opportunity of playing in Europe’s elite competition under their new manager Pep Guardiola. Swansea have achieved their aim of survival, very comfortably in the end, but they showed in their performance at Upton Park last weekend that they’re still very much a difficult opponent.

It’s been a strange old season for Swansea considering they finished in eighth spot last term. The first half of the campaign was a real struggle and seen them lurk dangerously close to the relegation zone and eventually cost Garry Monk his job. Three wins in their first 15 league matches was enough for the board to act and the man who was brought into replace Monk – Francesco Guidolin – was not an overwhelmingly popular choice but he has overseen a fair bit of improvement, guiding them to 11th spot and with an outside chance of another top 10 finish. His success has been rewarded this week with the decision to give the Italian a two-year contract – putting an end to speculation that Brendan Rodgers was set for a return to the Welsh club. Guidolin was also linked with a move to Watford during the close season so this week’s news will come as reassurance to the Swansea support that the club can start to build ahead of the new campaign.

No matter what happens on Sunday at the Liberty Stadium, one thing is for certain, this will be the last time than the popular Manuel Pellegrini will take charge of Manchester City. The Chilean arrived at the Etihad back in the summer of 2013 and proceeded to win the title in his first season in charge. That remains the only Premier League medal on his CV, as well as adding two League Cup, but it has not affected how well-liked he is amongst the City support. Of course, this season has also witnessed Pellegrini leading the club to the last four of the Champions League – narrowly losing to Real Madrid. His last task is finding a way to secure fourth spot, something that they have continually tried to make difficult for themselves this term. Last weekend’s draw at home to Arsenal – coupled with a heavy defeat to Southampton the week before – looked to have handed the advantage to United before their own defeat this midweek. Providing the blue half of Manchester can better their neighbour’s result then there is no way that they can be overtaken, but in this season that has been full of shocks there is nothing that can be taken for granted – particularly when this City team are involved.

Swansea are attempting to do something that they have not managed in over a year, and that’s win three straight games. A 3-1 win at home to Liverpool was followed with that impressive 4-1 showing away to West Ham last week and both performances and result will give them great hope for not only this weekend, but what lies ahead in 2016/17. The wins are made that more surprising as they came on the back of two lifeless performances against Newcastle and Leicester City, losing 3-0 and 4-0 respectively. At that point it appeared as though the Swansea players were already on their summer holidays but to their credit the response has been emphatic. The visit of Man City will of course be another test for the team but they’re now a team full of confidence and seemingly playing with a freedom that makes them even more dangerous.

One man who will not be making the journey to Wales on Sunday is club captain Vincent Kompany who has suffered yet another long-term injury that has also ruled him out of Belgium’s Euro 2016 plans. His absence has been a constant problem for them throughout this campaign, and whilst it’s unlikely that a fully fit Kompany could have seen them win the title, his influence and leadership would most certainly have them higher up the table. It’s not a great endorsement of a lot of the other players in the City squad who have been unable to shoulder that same type of responsibility and it will be something that Guardiola will have to rectify when he arrives in the summer. Every successful team needs more than one leader but they are few and far between at City currently.

Swansea City v Manchester City Betting Tips

It goes without saying that Manchester City would much prefer that they would be playing for the Premier League title on Sunday rather than the fourth place they are actually playing for. However, due to their inconsistencies that have blighted them all season, fourth is the best they can hope for. It would have been unthinkable at the start of the campaign that City would miss out on Champions League football and if it was not for West Ham’s heroics on Tuesday then that would have been very probable. You would expect United to take all three points at home to Bournemouth on Sunday so City simply have to win and look after themselves. It won’t be easy, however, as they’re facing a Swansea team who have won their last four at home – including against Chelsea and Liverpool.

The last five meetings between these two clubs have all seen three or more goals scored in them and that’s going to be the selection in this one. Swansea have found their scoring boots of late and five of their last six would have seen this bet a winner. Over 2.5 goals would also have been a safe selection in six of City’s last seven league games. Swansea are more than good enough to trouble the visitors, particularly with Kompany ruled out, and it should pave the way for an open match with plenty of chances.

Over 2.5 goals 8/15 @ Skybet

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Real Madrid v Manchester City Betting Preview, 2016-05-04

Champions League Tips

Wednesday 4th May 2016 Kickoff 1945hrs
Real Madrid v Manchester City
Football – Champions League – Europe

When Real Madrid were paired with Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Champions League, two entertaining games, full of goals and excitement were expected. That made the match in Manchester all the more surprising as both sides approached the first leg with plenty of caution and appeared happy with the goalless draw. It would be virtually impossible for Wednesday’s game to be as uneventful but with so much pressure contained within this match, anything is possible.

The big team news surrounding Real Madrid last week was the late withdrawal (or non-selection, rather) of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward is practically an ever-present when fit, and is often selected even when he’s not quite 100%, so we know the knock that kept him out was serious enough. His absence would have undoubtedly had an impact on the way in which Zinedine Zidane set his team up to play as he is so pivotal to how Real attack. With three hat-tricks already in this year’s competition – and 16 goals in total – not having him available led to Real being much more conservative in attack from the outset. Zidane’s attacking options were reduced even further with Karim Benzema having to depart at half-time and unlike Ronaldo, the Frenchman will not be fit enough to take his place at the Bernabeu. It goes without saying that all connected with the club would prefer to have Ronaldo playing if they had the choice but Benzema’s influence as the central striker should not be underestimated – he’s the only player in the Real Madrid squad who plays that position effectively.

There was more than a hint of nerves in Manchester City’s performance last week which is unsurprising considering that it’s the first time they have ever competed at this stage. Manuel Pellegrini’s men started well enough and had the majority of possession in the first-half but they lost their way somewhat when David Silva was taken off injured late on in the first 45. Silva’s ability to link the play and retain the ball high up the field is essential to how City play and with him going off it left more space for Real’s deep-lying midfield to control the game better. It’s not certain the condition of Silva but it seems he’s more likely to miss out than play any part and that would be a severe dent to City’s hopes of reaching the final. Yaya Toure, who never played last week, has travelled to Madrid and could make a surprise return. His experience would be invaluable but he’s becoming rather erratic overall, and it could be something of a gamble if he was to start a game where the pace if likely to be much more frantic than eight days ago.

For all the plaudits that Real Madrid’s attackers get, it should be noted how good they have been defensively at home in the Champions League. No visiting team has scored in the 2015/16 competition, with a record reading five wins, 16 goals scored and none conceded. It’s that sort of record which will have given Zidane the confidence to be more defensive in their approach last week, knowing that they are capable of shutting out a Sergio Aguero-led attack in the return. It’s important not to get carried away, however, as Real have faced some poor opponents in their run to the semi-final. PSG are the strongest team they have faced to date but there appears to be a doubt over their credentials after a poor quarter-final tie against City. Other than that, Wolfsburg, Shakthar Donetsk, Malmo and Roma have all been kept to nil, but anybody who would have watched the game against the Italians would tell you the chances the visitors passed up that evening. I do not doubt that Zidane has had a positive impact on Real’s defence, and the influence of Casemiro is also a positive, but they can most certainly be got at.

City created virtually nothing last week but because they kept a clean sheet they know that should they score on Wednesday it will give them an excellent chance of reaching their first ever Champions League/European Cup final. Scoring goals on the road in this competition has not been an issue for them, either, managing 10 in their five games to date. Only last year’s finalists Juventus have managed to keep them at bay on their travels and that should give them plenty of hope going into this one. One major concern for Pellegrini is that they are also liable to concede away from home, and have not managed to keep a clean sheet since winning in Rome in December 2014. That’s the balancing act that the manager has to get right if they are to be victorious – being able to offer a real threat going forward, but also giving their defence the protection it needs.

Real Madrid v Manchester City Betting Tip

It was hard not to be disappointed with the first-leg so let’s hope that the return is much more what we had all originally anticipated. With Ronaldo back in the fold I expect Real to be much more of a threat. There were signs in the second-half that they were beginning to get on top of City and only a couple of saves from Joe Hart prevented them taking a precious lead home with them. How important those missed chances will be in the context of this tie remains to be seen but it proves that even with a decimated attack, Real have more than enough quality to create chances against this City team. The visitors would have been much better equipped if Silva was fit to start this game as his ability on the ball in the final third is so important, and he has an understanding with Aguero that has proven so deadly down the years.

It’s a return to the Bernabeu for Manuel Pellegrini who managed Real for one season back in 2008/09. As much as I would like to see it be a fairytale one for the likeable Chilean, I don’t think his team have quite enough to get them through. They lacked much-needed experience last week and that could ultimately be their downfall. Ronaldo is the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League and he has scored in seven of Real’s 10 wins in this year’s competition. The former Manchester United player would love nothing more than to score against City and book another appearance in the final against Atletico – it may not be the most original selection but Ronaldo to score and Real to win is the bet.

Ronaldo to score/Real win 11/10 @ Ladbrokes

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Real Madrid v Manchester City Betting Tips: 1, 2016-05-04

Champions League Tips

REAL MADRID v MANCHESTER CITY

Wednesday 4th May 2016 – Kickoff: 2045hrs

Football – Europe – Champions League Betting Tips

It’s a definite case of ‘Advantage Real Madrid’ heading into Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final second leg in Madrid following a 0-0 stalemate at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg.

Real Madrid have lost just once in their last twelve Champions League matches overall (which was a 2-0 defeat away at German outfit Wolfsburg earlier this month), but they then smashed Wolfsburg 3-0 at home in the second leg to continue their progress.

Real Madrid are also unbeaten in their last seven at the Bernabeu (having won six of these) along with scoring a total of 20 goals and conceding just 1 goal in reply during this sequence. The Spanish giants have also registered six clean sheets during this time as well which is an impressive statistic at this level.

Manchester City need to find another gear on Wednesday night following their dismal 4-2 capitulation away to Southampton in the Premier League on the weekend, and it’s never easy to suddenly click back into gear, especially when coming up against one of the best club sides in the world – and away from home.

City have had a decent run in this competition though as they’ve lost just once in their last ten matches overall at this level, but they do seem to be running out of steam (and dare I say, desire?) as this season draws to an end, knowing that current manager Pellegrini is on the way out.

The visitors will no doubt be pumped for this one, and will take confidence from recent away wins at Sevilla and Dynamo Kiev, but these teams are not in the same class as Real Madrid.

Pick: Real Madrid to win @ 1.53 bet365

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