Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Manchester City - WBA

PICK: Manchester City 1st half AH -1 @1,878 PINNACLE 3/10

Etihad will host last home match of Manchester City who will face 8th placed West Bromwich Albion, who's manager is well known Tony Pulis. When WBA has "nothing to play to", Manchester City is still fighting for Champions league positions and even if it looks that they are in good position one little slip could change things and that's why I am sure that Guardiola's men will do everything to win last two matches and finish on 3rd place. Moreover it will be the last match of Pablo Zabaleta on Etihad!

Manchester City is currently on 4th position but with one match less than Liverpool and with only 1 point less, they have a chance to jump on 3rd place and be 2 points in front. In case of todays win and draw in last match in Watford, if Liverpool will win, both teams would have the same amount of point, so goal difference will be important as well. Right now City have +34, while Liverpool have +33. Even if Guardiola said on press conference, that they aren't looking on the goal difference, but just focusing to win both matches, I believe that this fact will be somewhere in minds of players. Bravo, Delph and Gundogan are out of the squad due to injuries. In last matches Pep trusted Fernandinho on right full back position, but as today is last home match of Zaba, it might happen that Fernandinho will stay on the bench.

WBA had a solid season, but recent results are far from good as their last win was on 18th of March at home against Arsenal. Moreover, last away win was right before the new years eve against Southampton. Tottenham trashed them with 4-0 (2-0 at half time), Everton with 3-0 (2-0 at half time), and even if they luckily stole a point in Old Trafford (Mourinho was without Ibra, Pogba, Mata and Herrera) it was match where United created lots of chances, while WBA didn't even have a shot on goal. Not in target, not wide, nothing! Pulis won't be able to count on midfielder Matt Phillips, while Robson-Kanu and McAuley, another two important players fitness condition are under the question mark, and they remain doubtful for the match.

City knows, that they need the strong first half, if they want to have play calm match. Against Leicester in last round, they created dozens of chances, but as usual they missed almost everything. Luckily for them Gabriel's penalty and shot of Silva went in, but even if Leicester didn't create something special, one slip of Otamendi, and cross of Albrighton was enough that they conceded a goal (I need to admit that it was a beautiful goal of Okazaki). Even though matches of WBA are intense, Pulis brought his mentality from Stoke, they love to fight on the pitch, to go in strong duels, being strong in air, playing a lot of long balls, long throw-ins, specialised in corners, set-pieces (they've lost last 4 home matches all by 0-1) I think that Manchester will exploit them today. With "electricity" up front (especially Sane & Jesus) and intellectual midfield (Silva & Kevin) and what is even more important for this match, with Kompany finally capable of playing matches in row without injuries, they are strong enough to beat everyone in the league, and if they won't have a catastrophic day with goal conversion rate, I predict more than a goal difference already in half time. As I've said, I am not fan of "must win" matches in situations, when underdogs are playing to avoid relegation against mid-table or even 5-10 positioned teams (like Caen-Rennes match for example) as there is pretty big difference in the quality of the teams and if they are for example 30 points above them it probably means something. But here is different. We are going with team who is in top4, who is fighting for 3rd place, who is 28 points above the opponent and who in my opinion would be much higher, if they would have Kompany and Jesus in squad for at least whole second part of the season.

FT: 3-1

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