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Bill Edgar: Goals dry up for City but expect an avalanche soon

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Are Pep's boys about to destroy Watford?

The Times' football stats guru Bill Edgar drops in with more illuminating numbers on the beautiful game including Manchester City's current goals 'drought'...

"On Saturday City are at home to Watford, who lost their last away game 5-0 to Liverpool. City are evens with the Betfair Sportsbook to win by at least a three-goal margin via the "minus two goals" handicap bet."

City still in the flow

Having scored 19 times in a three-game sequence in January and 15 times in three matches two months earlier, Manchester City's goals have suddenly dried up. They played out a goalless 120 minutes before beating Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out in the Carabao Cup final, and have followed that with 1-0 wins over West Ham United and Bournemouth via a penalty and a shot that squeezed in at the near post past a goalkeeper who perhaps should have saved it. Yet City carved out plenty of chances in those two league matches, recording 43 shots to only two by their opponents in total (20-2 v West Ham, 23-0 v Bournemouth), indicating that their free-flowing form is still intact. On Saturday City are at home to Watford, who lost their last away game 5-0 to Liverpool. City are evens with the Betfair Sportsbook to win by at least a three-goal margin via the "minus two goals" handicap bet.

Warrior Warnock fights drop again

Neil Warnock is in familiar territory as he battles against relegation with Cardiff City, who are two points below the safety mark. A manager who has spent most of his career in the second tier, he has guided five teams in the top-flight but has yet to record more than one point per game over a season. In Warnock's defence, he has been in charge of relatively weak sides, having taken four of them up to the top division himself: Notts County, Sheffield United, Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff. His current club have recorded five of their seven league victories this season at home, so they will be desperate to win their match at home to West Ham United on Saturday as it is arguably one of the two easiest of their remaining nine fixtures (their other home matches are against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Liverpool). Cardiff are [3.6] on the Betfair Exchange to beat West Ham.

Rotherham's wretched run on the road

Rotherham United are only in the Championship relegation zone on goal difference - level on points with Reading - yet they have failed to end their remarkable run without victory on the road in the second tier. They have won none of their 17 away league games this season, and they also failed to win any of their 23 away matches in their previous campaign at this level (2016-17), at the end of which they were relegated. Given that Rotherham won neither of their last two away fixtures in 2015-16, it means they have played 42 Championship away games in a row without victory. There is, though, some reason for optimism that Paul Warne's team can finally end that sequence as they have drawn their past three away matches against Millwall, Hull City and Reading. On Saturday they visit Sheffield United hoping to be the second successive South Yorkshire opponents to hinder United's promotion push, Sheffield Wednesday having drawn against their city neighbours this week. Rotherham are [9.2] on the Betfair Exchange to win at Bramall Lane.

Bill Edgar,

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