There wasn’t a lot to separate these two teams at Eastlands a fortnight ago, although the bookmakers have taken no chances with their odds on Manchester City winning at El Madrigal on Wednesday night.
After initially opening with even money about Roberto Mancini’s team, the price has shrunk to 8/13 (Coral – £30 free bets) with the visitors looking for three points that should see them move to second in Group A with two rounds of matches remaining.
Victory is essential for City considering that a trip to Napoli awaits them later this month and this match will probably decide which side go through to the last sixteen stage with Bayern Munich, who have collected seven points from their three games.
Even so, Villarreal need to win to stay in the Champions League and the Yellow Submarine will be looking for revenge after cruelly being beaten in injury-time at Eastlands having taken an early lead in the game.
The Spanish side’s miserable winless run finally came to an end on Saturday when they won 2-0 against Rayo Vallecano and Juan Carlos Garrido’s side will now go forth and attack the Premier League leaders, with Victor Chandler (£25 free betting) offering an eye-catching 6/1 that the home side come alive in Group A.
City’s price is probably too short although one can’t help but feel they have the players to exploit their opponents on the break, something that was illustrated in a recent 6-1 hammering of Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Mario Balotelli has probably done enough in recent matches to win a place in the starting line-up and the Italian is a 5/1 chance to score the first goal of the game, with Sergio Aguero likely to also start the match after proving to be the match winner two weeks ago.
For those expecting an emphatic win for the visitors, Blue Square offer 8/5 that City lead at half-time and full-time, while a 4-0 win in favour of Mancini’s men looks too big at 40/1 with Ladbrokes, especially as some firms offer just 18/1.