Eastlands has fast become a fortress for Manchester City, who have won all three Premier League games to date in front of their own supporters. They have also scored nine goals without reply, with Everton coming closest to stifling Roberto Mancini’s side before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat.
Aston Villa are likely to adopt similar tactics on Saturday in a bid to claim a point, with the visitors’ defence featuring two ex-City players who will need no extra motivation against their former club. Richard Dunne was harshly released three seasons ago, while Shay Given was finally allowed to leave in the summer after warming the bench for the whole of the last campaign.
Manchester City are massive favourites at 4/11 (bet365 – £200 free bets) to keep their Premier League title challenge trundling along, although most of the strikers on the books appear to be unavailable.
Carlos Tevez is apparently ‘finished’ at the club, with Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli nursing injuries that prevented them from playing this week and that could mean that Edin Dzeko ploughs a lone furrow in attack.
Dzeko is a 7/2 chance (Paddy Power – £100 free betting) to break the deadlock and the Bosnian will want to get on the scoresheet as quickly as possible following his tantrum in Munich after Mancini subbed the former Wolfsburg striker.
However, after the international break, teams often struggle to regain momentum and it is easy to see the Villans getting a point from this match, especially as they are still unbeaten in the Premier League this term.
Alex McLeish is doing a sturdy job as manager and the 4/1 about the match finishing all square makes some appeal, especially with Gabby Agbonlahor’s pace likely to trouble the home defence who are going for yet another shut-out.
If City are to win the match, the breakthrough might not come until the second half and 7/2 about Draw / Manchester City looks more attractive than City / City on the HT / FT market.