City might be at long odds to retain their English Premier League title, but they are no such thing to see off Aston Villa on Monday
|By PAUL GOUGH
Manchester City are odds-on to keep their fading hopes of defending their English Premier League title alive for another week when they travel to relegation threatened Aston Villa on Monday night.
City head to Villa Park in second place but some 15 points behind arch-rivals Manchester United.
The Reds Devils routed Norwich City 4-0 on Saturday, with just 10 matches left to play after this round.
After winning the title last season at United's expense for the first time since 1968, City are now at the massive odds of $24 at Betfair to retain their title, with United the unbackable favourites at $1.04.
However, at the other end of the table, the relegation battle looks set to be an epic one, with five sides firmly in the gun to go down - QPR, Reading, Villa, Wigan and Southampton.
Villa were given some good news on the weekend when QPR - still three points adrift in last place on 20 points - were the only team to win of those around them.
Even a draw on Monday will be enough to lift third-last placed Villa [24 points] above Wigan [also on 24 but with a better goal difference] out of the relegation zone, while a shock win would take them level with 16th-placed Southampton on 27 points.
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However, with City having just as much to play for as Villa, it is difficult to see the Birmingham-based club - having not been relegated since 1987 - getting anything out of the clash.
City are the dominant $1.40 favourites at the TAB, $1.46 at Centrebet and $1.53 at both Betfair and sportsbet.com.au.
City to win 2-0 is the clear favourite in correct-score betting markets at odds of $7 at sportsbet.com.au and best value of $8.80 at Betfair, although we like the look of City to win 3-1 at odds of $11 at sportsbet.com.au and $13 at Betfair.
Villa have scored in 10 of their past 11 matches in all competitions and this is reflected in the fact that City are shorter odds of $1.68 not to keep a clean sheet at Betfair than they are to shut out their opponents at odds of $2.32, despite being hot favourites for the game.
*Note prices are subject to change