Michael Lintorn advises betting on at least one penalty being awarded as Man City entertain Steaua Bucharest...
"There have been a whopping five penalties awarded in Guardiola’s initial three fixtures as Man City boss."
Man City 1.222/9 v Steaua Bucharest 18.5; The Draw 7.613/2
Live on BT Sport 2
The Citizens weren't so much criticised after their narrow opening-day victory over Sunderland but given a "meh", with the British public apparently expecting more than a late success secured by a Paddy McNair own goal after six months of hype for Pep Guardiola's Etihad Stadium dugout debut.
However, they have swiftly set about showing that it isn't wise to draw too many conclusions on day one, dominating the first leg of this tie 5-0 in Romania and then following up with a 4-1 triumph at Stoke, where they were admittedly indebted to a brace from substitute Nolito for applying gloss.
There is still no love for Joe Hart, Eliaquim Mangala, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony from Guardiola, with none of them playing a single minute and the latter four not even making the bench. Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane arrived injured, captain Vincent Kompany remains sidelined and Bacary Sagna is a doubt.
Everything looked cheery for Steaua Bucharest little over a week ago. They gave themselves a shot of reaching the Champions League group stage for just the second time this decade by dismissing Sparta Prague and began their bid to dethrone Astra Giurgiu in Romania with three wins in a row.
Last week's home humiliation at the hands of Man City, in which Sergio Aguero failed to convert two penalties in the first 21 minutes but still went on to score a hat-trick, changed everything though.
Not only is the dream of a Champions League adventure already over, transformed into a mission to avoid increasing their embarrassment in the away leg, they also yielded some domestic ground in the aftermath with a home draw against Dinamo Bucharest. Damage limitation is now the priority.
Man City finally have a Champions League record as hosts that they can be proud of, and that is surely going to improve further under Guardiola, who has progressed to at least the semi-finals in all seven of his participations as a coach.
Having posted figures of P12 W3 D4 L5 at the Etihad Stadium in the competition between October 2012 and September 2015, they prevailed in three and drew the other two of their five since, beating Paris St-Germain and shutting out Real Madrid in the process.
Guardiola has lost a mere three of his 43 home games in Europe, and none of the 12 over the past two campaigns, and so it is no surprise whatsoever that Man City are as short as 1.222/9 to win again.
Steaua Bucharest's only away Champions League victories in their last 20 trips were achieved at Vardar, Dinamo Tbilisi, Stromsgodset and Trencin - all in qualifiers - explaining their 18.5 odds.
There have been a whopping five penalties awarded in Guardiola's initial three fixtures as Man City boss: the one that Aguero netted in the fourth minute at Sunderland, the two that he spurned in the opening 21 minutes in Bucharest, the one that he seized in the first half hour at Stoke and then the one that Raheem Sterling conceded after the interval in the same match.
When the spot kicks are being doled out at a rate of 1.67 per Citizens encounter, how can you possibly turn down odds of 4.03/1 on at least one being whistled for at the Etihad on Wednesday?
Back there to be a penalty taken @ 4.03/1