Archive for March, 2013

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The best English teams have left the Champions League prematurely and the only ones who still keep the flag high are Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham, in Europa League. Manchester United and their city rivals continue to fight for the Premier league title, but the runner ups are in danger of seeing their dreams crushed this afternoon. With the leaders heading towards what appears to be an easy victory at home over Reading, Manchester City needs to win away at Everton if they are to keep their theoretical chances alive.

The hosts are in no mood of offering Manchester City the three points they desperately need on a silver platter, and have an extraordinary record to boost their morale. Everton has lost at home just once this season and in almost 80 fixtures against the Blues, they’ve earned a point in more than three quarters. One thing that might be used as an argument for those anticipating an away victory is the absence of Tim Howard. He is yet to shake off a back problem and it is very likely to be replaced by Jan Mucha.

It wouldn’t be the first time when the second goalkeeper would step up, and if we take a look at recent results it won’t be a tragedy either. More concerning is the fact that Phil Jagielka remains sidelined, although it comes as a relief that John Heitinga is fit to play and will replace him. Tony Hibbert is the only long-term absentees but Everton achieved remarkable results even in his absence. Except for the shocking 0-3 FA cup defeat to Wigan, the hosts had an excellent month and they stay within striking distance to the European cups.

On the other side we have a team under a lot of pressure despite the fact that their Champions League spot is not endangered by Tottenham. For a team that enjoys a huge budget, it comes as no surprise that the expectations are equally high and so far Manchester City has disappointed. Very few remember the championship won last year in the last round, and both fans and owners are angry with the players for their current Champions League performance.

Hard-pressed to win the championship again and double uo that performance by lifting the FA cup as well, the visitors will need to press forward from the first minute. In the first half of the season when the two teams met in Manchester, the hosts barely scrapped a point thanks to a late goal by Tevez.

Now they will face a motivated team anxious to erase the unpleasant memory caused by their unexpected meltdown in the midweek cup game. To make things even worse, it appears like both Tevez and Aguero will miss this afternoon, which will further complicate matters upfront. An unbiased and informative preview for this match is available at

The seem to bookmakers remain oblivious of the fact that Manchester City won very few games in Liverpool even over the last couple of years since the capital influx began. Laying the visitors or playing a bet on the hosts not to lose is the better choice, especially with the odds inching closer to evens. There are no reasons to worry about placing a late bet because with most punters probably backing the visitors, the odds will rise if they will move at all.

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Only a couple of weeks ago, Manchester City was contemplating another Premier league title secured in the very last round, as the points separating them from local rivals were not intimidated. Everything changed meanwhile and now they have a 15 point gap to close, with the odds of accomplishing something like this being insignificant. Although the Premier League title has slipped through their fingers, today’s visitors have plenty of reasons to treat the game against Aston Villa seriously.

Tottenham and Chelsea are encroaching on their Champions League title and the last thing Manchester City needs is to go through qualifying rounds. They have plenty of time to avoid this scenario and a significant advantage to build on, but first they need to and their recent slip. Two consecutive victories over Leeds and Chelsea should have strengthened their morale as Manchester City scored six goals without conceding one. They will have a difficult mission in replicating that performance away at Birmingham, where Aston Villa is playing some offensive football and has nothing to lose.

The hosts have already crossed the terrible threshold and are now tied with Wigan for the 17th place and their 24 points are not enough to take them out of the relegation zone. A narrow margin victory over Manchester City or even a draw would do that, but losing consecutive games after their recent defeat to Arsenal would only aggravate their misery. The hosts miss three players who would usually feature in the defensive or midfield, but their offensive is at full strength and this is refreshing.

Manchester City coach Mancini can finally field his best starting team, as he has no absentees and no reasons to rest the players for upcoming games. Aguero, Dzeko and Tevez with all play tonight and they have scored a combined 29 goals, which makes them a real threat for the shaky Aston Villa defense. One thing that punters should be aware of is that the hosts are not going to respond by lining up a defensive minded team, but instead will once again start with three strikers.

Benteke is the top scorer, but young Weimann has scored in each of the last two games and will feature upfront alongside Agbonlahor. While they are no match for the offensive trio sent forward by Mancini, they will give City a run for its money. The odds for more than 2.5 goals to be scored are not spectacular, but they are still far better than a straight away victory, which makes them the best choice for punters.