Without a win in their last eight matches in all competitions, it is doubtful that Tony Pulis and West Bromwich Albion would have wished to face Premier League leaders Manchester City in their next outing.
That is the challenge facing the Baggies, though, as Pulis and his players seek a way to stop Pep Guardiola’s in-form side when these rivals meet at the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.
West Brom had gained seven points after their opening three Premier League matches of the season – the same return as the men from Manchester – but while the Baggies have slipped down the table following a string of desperately disappointing results, Guardiola’s team have gone through the gears and moved in the opposite direction.
Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup was the first fixture of the season in which Manchester City have failed to score and Guardiola’s team, who had won 11 consecutive matches in all competitions before squeezing past the Championship leaders in a penalty shoot-out, will be determined to make an immediate return to winning ways by beating the Baggies.
City have been scintillating in the Premier League, scoring an astonishing 27 goals in their last six matches in the competition and, given that remarkable record, it is no surprise that Paddy Power make the visitors their 1/4 (1.25) favourites to maintain momentum by coming out on top once again this weekend.
West Brom have the chance to become the first team to defeat Guardiola’s charges this season, but the enormity of the task facing the Baggies is reflected in Paddy Power’s 11/1 (12.0) quote for a home win, while the same firm go 11/2 (6.50) that Pulis’ team claim a share of the spoils.
Manchester City claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win when they visited the Hawthorns in the League Cup last month and Paddy Power offer 15/2 (8.50) that the scoreline is repeated on this occasion, while the bookmaker offers 5/6 (1.83) that there are goals at both ends; City can be backed at just 3/10 (1.30) to score more than once, while the same firm go 11/10 (2.10) that the visitors score at least three times.
There is no question that the men from Manchester possess a potent attacking threat and the Baggies, who have managed just one clean sheet in their last nine matches could find themselves under plenty of pressure once again this weekend.
Paddy Power offer 9/5 (2.80) that City win by at least three clear goals; it is a selection that would have paid dividends in five of the last six league matches that Guardiola’s team have played and the 9/5 (2.80) quote could offer good value for punters once again ahead of Saturday’s showdown.
|Manchester City (-2) at 9/5 (2.80) for a 1pt stake with Paddy Power|