EPL Betting: Easygoing for Man City
...all in all I can't see anything other than a high-scoring match so over 3.5 goals at [2.02] must be included in our portfolio.
Lee Dixon expects high-flying Manchester City to win with plenty of goals when they take on the struggling Rovers.
Having made light work of defending champions FC Porto in the Europa League on Wednesday, Manchester City turn their attentions back to the Premier League in the late kick-off on Saturday. With all due respect to Blackburn, a home tie against them is just the sort of match that they'd want after a two-week absence from league commitments.
City will look at this match and their approach will be something along the lines of "Right, that's three points in the bag. Who's up next?". Some will say that borders on complacency, others will say it's arrogance but if you take the view that you're a champion team, you've got to have that sort of self-belief.
I don't think they'll have too many problems disposing of Blackburn but let's try and find some good value bets that reflect City's dominance.
City Clean Sheet/Correct Score
If you think Blackburn are capable of making lightning strike twice and adding City's scalp to that of Manchester United's, consider these Opta stats. City have lost none of their last eight Premier League games against Blackburn (W5 D3 L0), winning four of the last five, and have earned 64 points from the last 66 available on home-soil, and won the last 17 in a row at the Etihad Stadium.
Pretty dramatic stuff!
And if just stats aren't enough to convince you, it's worth taking a look at the two squads. Blackburn have worked really hard to make the most of limited resources and also had to make do without some of their best players being out with injuries. Having been rock bottom at several stages of the season, they're temporarily out of the bottom three. But City have an embarrassment of riches available to them and this is probably the real 'banker' of the weekend.
I'm not going to tip up City at just [1.2], and picking a correct score isn't too easy either because City really could go goal-crazy here so any number of scores are possible. But with Yakubu back in the Blackburn line-up after suspension and scoring on his return a couple of weeks ago, I think the visitors have a decent chance of grabbing one against a City defence that may just be a tad jaded after Wednesday's match. So I'm going to lay a City clean sheet at [1.98] and pick 3-1 as a correct score with the intention of trading out the [11.5] if it reaches [3.0] or less.
Over/Under 3.5 Goals
I've mentioned City's almost unlimited options (particularly upfront), the gulf in class between the two sides and also the threat of Yakubu for Blackburn. And if we're being honest, it's not a lack of scoring goals that's been Blackburn's problem, it's been keeping them out.
So all in all I can't see anything other than a high-scoring match so over 3.5 goals at [2.02] must be included in our portfolio.
Roberto Mancini may decide that this is the sort of match where he can give Sergio Aguero a breather after playing on Wednesday.
But I think the more likely scenario is that the City boss starts with his best XI and then takes off a few of the key players with the game sewn up. If City are going to score a few, it's a good bet Aguero (1.8) will be amongst them.