Rashford to the fore, Ten Hag liked what he saw
Alvarez stepping up in absence of De Bruyne
Rashford & Alvarez represent value in midweek CL card
Ten Hag's system tweak set to ignite Rashford
Keeping your ears open is a key weapon on the path to making profitable betting decisions. Listening to manager reaction can help build or add weight to a particular angle of attack.
In truth, most of what the head honchos say is propaganda and guff, in an environment where they rarely allow themselves to relay too much strong opinion.
Erik ten Hag usually fits that bill but I was taken by his positive comments regarding Manchester United's performance as they switched to a diamond midfield in their defeat to Brighton.
To accommodate the current absences of Antony and Jadon Sancho, he decided to add an extra body into midfield which allowed Marcus Rashford to play with almost no defensive responsibilities in a dangerous central/left position off Rasmus Hojlund in what was an unorthodox front two but one that did create lots of problems for Roberto De Zerbi's side.
Ten Hag said: "Stick to the plan, stick to the rules. You have to believe, you have to fight as a team and we will turn it around."
If Ten Hag does keep to his word, then Rashford is going to flourish in this system. Almost 46% of Manchester United's attacks came down the left flank in that defeat with Rashford attempting eight dribbles - the most he's ever attempted in one game under Ten Hag.
United posted 14 shots with Rashford responsible for nine of those to an expected goals tally of 0.69 in a performance that really should have merited the striker at least one goal.
It was the most amount of shots Rashford has ever had in a single Premier League game. A player with his track record in front of goal - 17 Premier League goals last season with a 21% conversion rate - is going to thrive in such a system which is built around his skillset coming off the left.
The 10/111.00 for him to score first on Wednesday night in Bayern Munich is worth an investment - as will be his goalscorer prices back in Premier League action over the coming wee
Alvarez shows there will be life after KDB
Keeping with the listening to managers theme, it was nice to know that Pep Guardiola's assessment of Julian Alvarez's performance in Manchester City's win over West Ham mirrored my own.
His boss hailed him as "undroppable" after running the show from the pockets of space in and around Erling Haaland. Trying to replace the influence of Kevin De Bruyne has to be one of the toughest tasks a footballer can take on, yet, Alvarez is showing there is and, will be, life after the mesmerising Belgian.
Perhaps this is why there is no need to Phil Foden to play more of a central role for City. They have Alvarez, who possesses a greater edge of physicality than Foden to flourish when amid the midfield battle. That mix of power and quality bodes so well for City's title defence.
The sample size is just five games, but Alvarez (1.00) is working at a higher goal involvement (goals & assists) average per 90 than what De Bruyne (0.85) posted last season. Plus, his attacking output in terms of expected goals and shots per 90 is trending higher than what the legendary City midfielder achieved last season.
This attacking output includes undertaking free-kick duties for Manchester City - such a situation he struck the post from against West Ham on Saturday.
Alvarez also fired three shots from outside the box, including a free kick that was on target, against Sheffield United as backers of him hitting the target from outside the box continue to show a profit. Those that are taking the inflated prices of a goal from outside the box won't be long in following to the winners enclosure.
City are 1/251.04 to beat Serbian champions Crvena Zvezda on Tuesday night and Alvarez, as Guardiola referenced, will be front and centre. He is of course well found in the market but with such a one-sided encounter predicted, backing the flourishing Argentinian to both score and assist using the Bet Builder feature at around 11/43.70 seems a sensible plan of attack.
Lewis Jones, aka Jones Knows, is Sky Sports' resident betting expert - follow his Premier League tips and predictions across Sky Sports each week.
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