Manchester City v Southampton – Etihad Stadium at 13:30 live on Sky Sports 1
Thankfully another profitable midweek Asian Handicap recommendation for me on the Champions League, with Arsenal thumping Ludogorets 6-0!
This weekend I am looking at another team involved with a big midweek score line in the Champions League.
But, unfortunately for Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City team, it was an unhappy return to his old club.
Barcelona won 4-0 and it could have been more, despite finishing the game with just one of their usual defenders.
At least the Citizens are back in familiar surroundings on Sunday, as they host an on form Southampton team.
Pep in crisis…
Guardiola has lived a serene life in football, 10 years playing for Barcelona and Spain, winning everything at club level. Then 8 years managing at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now City, again winning everything in sight.
Life in Manchester started, just like every other experience he’s had in the game, winning his first 10 competitive games.
But, here is the crisis, four games in row without a win. Ok, it does not sound that bad but they have conceded 10 goals during these four winless matches.
Losing to Barcelona is not great shame, but losing 4-0 when Barca had a reserve defence playing, is not acceptable.
Pep’s decision to drop Sergio Aguero, seemed very strange. It must have negatively impacted not only Aguero, but his teammates as well.
With games against Manchester United, West Brom and then Barcelona again coming up, they must win on Sunday.
Saints on the march…
Apologies, but I had to reference marching somewhere when analysing Southampton ha-ha.
Claude Puel took over from the departed Ronald Koeman in the summer and had the tough task of continuing the great success of recent seasons.
They had a slow start but have since found their feet, thanks largely to their solid defence and Charlie Austin.
The ex-QPR striker finally got a chance to start regularly after Graziano Pelle left for the big buck in China.
With four goals in his last four league games and will be looking to expose City’s dodgy defence on Sunday.
At the back Dutchman, Virgil van Dijk and European Cup winner Jose Fonte, have formed a near impenetrable partnership.
Saints have conceded just one goal in their last seven games, in all competitions. But, they will be severely tested on Sunday by a wounded Man City team.
Another issue is their game on Thursday night, away against Inter Milan in the Europa League. What effect will that have on Puel’s relatively small squad?
Stats, data and prices…
Manchester City are currently priced at an average of 1.47 to win the game, while visitors Southampton are 6.88 underdogs.
Taking a look at recent Premier League history, there have been 108 home favourites priced in the same range as Manchester City are this weekend.
While only 69 (63.88%) of them ended up winning, it is still not too far off the Citizens win probability.
When looking at the total goals, there is a similar outcome, with 65 (60.18%) games seeing at least 3 goals.
This is in line with the probabilities seen in the prices for this match. With Over 2.5 Goals priced at an average of 1.64.
Manchester City, have only been priced in this range five times, over the past three seasons. So, I extended the range a little to increase the sample size.
This increased range returned a recent sample size of 15 games and City’s results in these matches is outstanding.
It reads; P15 W13 D1 L1 and they piled up 40 goals, while conceding just 10! This translates into an average of 2.66 goals scored, against 0.66 conceded.
Despite the bigger price range used to produce this data, they have significantly outperformed the league average.
Using the extended price range for the whole league, 121 of 171 favourites won, which is 70.76%. But, City won 86.66% of these encounters.
Clearly this data favours City, but it’s in contrast to their current form and their price is not good value.
Unfortunately, Southampton’s record in the extended price range is abysmal, with just one draw & seven defeats in eight games.
Asian Handicap & Total Goals…
The main Asian handicap line on Sunday is currently +/-1.25, which on the face of it, Saints could cover.
However, despite the value available on the visitors, their awful record in similar games is a real worry.
Add to this a draining trip and match in Milan on Thursday night and City’s need for a strong performance. This means that I am looking elsewhere for my bet this weekend.
The Asian total goals market also offers some value on the Under 3 Goals line. This is a bet I like with Saints strong defence & Pep surely targeting a big improvement at the back.
I expect City to win, but hopefully by only 1-0 or 2-0, although it will take 4 goals to lose our stake on this bet.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Under 3 Goals at 1.80
Prices correct at the time of writing.
Eastbridge Soccer Betting Broker, Asian Handicap specialists.