Manchester City games have been free-scoring all season but with a few injuries and a Champions League tie coming up, this one could go against the grain, says Jamie Pacheco.
"They’ve got a mid-week Champions League game coming up and at 1-0 or 2-0 up Pep may just decide that will do. All things considered, under 2.5 goals, looks worthy of interest."
Manchester City v Leicester
Saturday February 10 17:30 GMT
Live on Sky Sports
Silva in for...Silva?
So, City aren't perfect after all. Saturday's draw with Burnley was their second game in four in the league where they dropped points. Pep Guardiola will look back at Raheem Sterling's horrendous miss as the point where the game should have been won.
And remarkably for a side with such resources, they actually looked a little light on attacking talent. With no David Silva, Leroy Sane or Gabriel Jesus in the squad, they had little to bring off the bench when they looked a little blunt in attack during the second half. It makes you wonder whether they should have bit the bullet and agreed to meet Arsenal's valuation of Alexis Sanchez. Or Leicester's on Riyad Mahrez for that matter (see below).
Bernardo Silva had a decent game but may have to give way if David Silva is fit again. Alternatively, the former Valencia man may come in for Ikay Gundogan as part of the midfield three.
The new Mahrez
Will he won't he? Probably not. It's hard to imagine Riyad Mahrez will feature here having not trained for almost two weeks. Only the Algerian, his team-mates and Manager Claude Puel will know whether and when the situation can be remedied but one thing is for sure: the club will we far happier seeing him out on the field than on the sidelines, even if they are (allegedly) collecting a fair amount of cash from him in fines.
Still, it's not all bad. The unknown Fousseni Diabate started on Saturday and was brilliant. An agile, skillful, creative, wily left-footed player who almost reminds one of...a certain Mahrez. He was the best player on the park.
He'll be filling in for the Algerian for the time being and if Puel can get them both on the pitch together, he'll have no shortage of supply for Jamie Vardy.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the [15.5] about Leicester is a decent price. After all, no side has a better record at beating City on their own patch in the Premier League than the Foxes: a remarkable four times out of six, as Opta tell us.
But, as ever, there are other stats to make you think twice about placing that bet; such as the one that says Leicester haven't collected a single point in their last nine games against sides who were top of the table on the day they played them. Leicester have also failed to pick up any points from their last four games on the road.
A speculative lay of City at [1.24] would probably be your best option if you wanted to play this market. This is the most vulnerable City have looked all season and that's a pretty short price about a side with a freakishly poor home record against this lot.
There are reasons to think the [3.2] about under 2.5 goals is value. Five of the last eight games between these two has ended with less than three goals and five of Leicester's last seven in all competitions would also have seen 'unders' pay out.
The return of (David) Silva would certainly give City a boost but there must be some slightly weary legs in the team right now. Players like Kevin de Bruyne, Sterling and Sergio Aguero have played virtually non-stop for weeks on end now and that may start to tell when it comes to making a vital sprint or putting in a big effort late in the game.
They've got a mid-week Champions League game coming up and at 1-0 or 2-0 up Pep may just decide that will do. All things considered, under 2.5 goals, looks worthy of interest.
Whether under 2.5 goals comes in or not, City haven't been great at the back of late. They've conceded in seven of their last nine games in all competitions and if that's to happen again, there are no prizes for guessing who could get that goal. Jamie Vardy came good for us last week and there's evidence to suggest he may come good again. In December 2016 he scored a hat-trick against City and also scored from the spot against them in the EFL Cup in December of last year. He's also scored in each of his last three Premier League games. Should he be as big as 13/5? Maybe not.
Assuming Guardiola can forgive Sterling for that miss (or doesn't want to cut his nose to spite his face), he may provide a good alternative at evens to the 1/2 on Aguero. He misses a few but Sterling has having a fantastic season nonetheless; he has 19 goals in all competitions and at least seems to always get himself in a couple of decent positions every match.
Mike Jones takes charge. He averages just under four yellows a game and has sent off three players in 20 games this season. Nicolas Otamendi (7) and Fernandinho (6) are the players who have seen yellow most often for City in the league this season. Just because they're hot favourites to win the game doesn't mean one or both of that pair can't be booked.
Jamie's P&L 2017-18
Staked: 34.5 pts
Returned: 32.85 pts
P and L: -1.65