City looking to bounce back
Manchester City have enough vulnerability in them to suggest that they aren’t necessarily the best bets for the title.
The current champions are odds-on at 1.9620/21 despite having accumulated fewer points (20) than their two big rivals Liverpool (21) and Chelsea (22).
The market shows Liverpool at 3.711/4 and Chelsea at 4.94/1 in what is surely a three-horse race. Manchester United are fourth favourites at 10099/1!
City have purred at times this season, cruising to 5-1 and 4-1 away wins over Club Brugge and Brighton respectively in two of their last three matches.
But midweek brought an end to their four-year hold on the Carabao Cup after they lost on penalties at West Ham following a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes.
That was a surprise, as were the 0-0 home draw with Southampton last month and the opening 1-0 loss at Spurs.
Palace no pushovers
Crystal Palace have lost only three of their nine Premier League matches so far and that’s surely better than the vast majority predicted given the pre-season doubts surrounding new boss Patrick Vieira.
And yet, the other side of the coin is that they’ve managed just a single win.
Those low Win/Loss numbers obviously mean Palace draw a lot of games and they have six stalemates to this point, the highest in the division.
The frustrating or encouraging thing – depending how you look at it – is that they should have turned several of those single points into three.
Palace were 2-1 up in injury time at Arsenal before being pegged back and should surely have gone on to beat Newcastle after taking a 1-0 lead. They didn’t, drawing the game 1-1.
It all means Palace go into the weekend in 15th place when they’ve performed well enough to be mid-table.
Crystal Palace are a massive 22.021/1 to grab the win and repeat their famous triumph of December 18 when Andros Townsend’s worldie helped them to a shock 3-2 victory.
They also drew 2-2 at the Etihad in early 2020 although last season City justified the pre-match odds when cruising to a 4-0 win.
This time Man City are 1.182/11 to take all three points while The Draw is 9.28/1.
City should get the job done and Palace’s 3-0 defeats at both Chelsea and Liverpool hint at limitations against the Premier League’s elite.
However, there are enough suspicions out there – City’s lapses, Palace’s record at the Etihad and their promise under Vieira – to stop me going completely pro City. That applies to the handicap markets too. City (-2), for example, is just 2.285/4.
Palace have scored nine goals in their last six games, finding the net in five of those.
That’s encouraging for those looking at the Both teams to Score market which is tipping towards No at 1.75/7. Yes is 2.35/4.
I’m making the rather obvious assumption that City keep up their end of the bargain although, again, that 0-0 with Southampton puts up a red flag.
In the goals market, Over 2.5 is just 1.4840/85 while Over 3.5 is 2.245/4.
I do think City will knock in a few so my focus is going to be on a couple of goalscorer bets.
Kevin De Bruyne has found the net in his last two home games for City and also banked the equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Anfield.
The Belgian has scored against Palace three times previously at the Etihad and is 2.9215/8 to register again.
Ilkay Gundogan scored in City’s 4-0 win over Palace last season and also in that 3-2 home defeat in 2018.
The German international was their top goalscorer in the Premier League last season, blasting 13 in just 28 games.
This term he scored in the 5-0 win over Arsenal and, after being sidelined for a month, added another in last weekend’s 4-1 success at Brighton.
Hopefully that will be the start of another run so I’ll take the 3.211/5 on Gundogan to score anytime.
On the Bet Builder, those two to net and Both teams to Score pays close to 13.012/1.
For in-running bets, note that Palace have scored 10 of their 11 goals this season in the second half. That could mean them nicking a consolation and landing the BTTS or perhaps securing something much more.
With two goals and one assist last time out against Brighton, Man City’s Phil Foden was involved in at least three goals in a Premier League game for the first time. However, the young Englishman has only had a hand in five goals in his last 21 Premier League appearances at the Etihad Stadium (2 goals, 3 assists).