Champions League: Trends hint at Man City last 16 win

Manuel Pellegrini has ended Man City's group stage hex

Manuel Pellegrini may have left his calculator behind, but Lewis Jones has been tapping away at his to analyse whether Man City missing out on Group D's top spot is as damaging as punters think?

"When you consider that the runners-up usually go into the ties as underdogs and have to play the second leg away from home, the fact that they have recorded 18 wins over two legs from the 48 ties is an eye-bulgingly fruitful ratio (38%)."
Best Bet: Back-to-lay Manchester City to win the Champions League @ 17.016/1

Manuel Pellegrini: a stonking football manager, a stinker of a mathematician.

Man City's supremely impressive comeback at Bayern Munich has been clouded by a dollop of embarrassment after Pellegrini and his staff failed to realise that one more goal late on in their 3-2 victory would have resulted in them topping their group.

Pellegrini's men sprung into life after going two goals down in the Allianz Arena to turn the game on its head, but a 4-2 win would have lifted City above the European champions, therefore avoiding a fellow European bigwig in the second round. Instead, Pellegrini made tactical changes that stunk of defensive thinking by taking off David Silva and Edin Dzeko.

The absence of a calculator on the City bench could prove costly to their ambitions of progressing into the latter stages. Assuming Barcelona, Chelsea and Arsenal top their groups, they will face one of Barca 6.05/1, Real Madrid 6.611/2, Paris St-Germain 19.018/1 or Atletico Madrid 21.020/1 in the last 16.

However, is finishing second as significant a blow as most people assume? Looking back over the last six years of Champions League second round fixtures, there's certainly an argument to put forward that all is not lost for City and their Champions League-winning hopes, which currently trade at 17.016/1.

Of the 48 fixtures played over two legs in that period, as expected, the group winners have a better record of progressing to the quarter-finals than the runners-up, but not by a landslide verdict.

When you consider that the runners-up usually go into the ties as underdogs and have to play the second leg away from home, the fact that they have recorded 18 wins over two legs from the 48 ties is an eye-bulgingly fruitful ratio (38%).

Pellegrini should also take substantial hope from the performances of fellow English teams that have gone into the second round draw as group runners-up in the last six years.

Chelsea came through a very tough tie against group winners Juventus in 2009, where a 2-2 draw in Turin was enough for a 3-2 win on aggregate, while Liverpool beat Inter 3-0 in 2008 over two legs and Arsenal scraped through on penalties against Roma after a 1-1 aggregate score in 2009.

None of the group winners will want to play the dangerous Citizens in the last 16 and, despite a few factors being against them, they look a fantastic trading opportunity at 17.016/1 or bigger when they draw a big gun, to follow in Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea's footsteps and make the last eight.

Best Bet: Back-to-lay Manchester City to win the Champions League @ 17.016/1

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