Swansea City v Manchester City Saturday March 16, 17:20 Live on BT Sport
Struggling Swansea better than results suggest
It's far from unusual to see a side struggle to readjust to life back in the Championshipafter relegation and that's been the case for Swansea. They won their first two games, away at promotion hopefuls, Sheffield United, and at home to Preston but it's been a rollercoaster ride since. After a good run, they've now lost four of their last five, or if you prefer, five of their last seven in the Championship. The Swans are now languishing in 15th place.
In their defence, their last five losses have come against two of the three sides vying for automatic promotion, Norwich and Leeds, possible playoff protagonists, West Brom and Bristol City, and a rejuvenated Sheffield Wednesday side, enjoying life under new boss, Steve Bruce.
And they've also played their last two games without top-scorer, Oli McBurnie.
They played well at Norwich at the weekend, losing 1-0, but that was the Canneries' only shot on target and Wednesday night's 3-0 defeat at West Brom arguably flattered the hosts, with the Baggies aided considerably by this bizarre penalty miss by ex-Manchester City player, Bersant Celina, with the score at 1-0.
City juggernaut powering on in style
The curb was clipped in December, with defeats at Chelsea, at home to Crystal Palace, and away at Leicester on Boxing Day, but a 2-1 loss at Newcastle is the only defeat experienced in 2019 and the Manchester City juggernaut is powering on in some style now.
The Carabao Cup has already been won and after Tuesday's 7-0 demolition of Schalke, the Citizens are in to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, top of the Premier League, and red-hot favourites to brush aside the Swans and make it to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, for which they're already odds-on favourites to lift.
City are 11/2 with the Sportsbook to rip up the record books and achieve the Quadrupleand they're only 11/8 to be the first club in history to win the domestic treble in England. City manager, Pep Guardiola, can disregard the idea all he wants but winning all four trophies is a distinct possibility now with only a maximum of 16 games left and it's very hard to see Swansea forcing them off track on Saturday.
Hard to envisage another huge shock
Swansea City's one and only stint in the Premier League, that ended with relegation last season, began on the same day that the Cityzen's most successful striker pulled on a Manchester City shirt for the very first time - August 15, 2011. The Swans battled well for almost an hour, showing that they'd be a force to be reckoned with in the top-flight and they ended that season in a very respectable 11th place, but they couldn't handle Sergio Aguerowhen he came on at halftime and the game finished 4-0 with the new signing notching the first and second of his 226 goals (so far) for City.
Swansea won the reverse fixture in March 1-0, thanks to a late Luke Moore strike that looked, at the time, to have potential delivered a fatal blow to City's title challenge. The Citizens recovered though, losing only once more, and they finished up champions for the first time since 1968 and that was the last time they lost to Swansea.
Since that game, now just over seven years ago, City have played the Swans 12 times in the Premier League, winning ten and drawing two, and once in the League Cup, when they won 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium in September 2016.
City lost to bogey side, Wigan, at this stage last season (the third time the Lactics had beaten them in the FA Cup in six seasons!), and they were a division below Swansea who trade at around 23.00in the win market.
It would be ridiculous to dismiss the home side completely but it's very hard to see a shock of that magnitude occurring again so soon. That was far and away the worst result under Pep and he'll be doing his utmost to avoid such a disaster happening again but I'm no fan of backing seriously long odds-on shots (City1.15 in the win market) so I've gone hunting for value in the side markets...
Goals on the agenda
City have been taking the FA Cup seriously from the start of the competition and they've had some whopping wins. They battered Rotherham 7-0 in round three, beat Burnley 5-0 in round four, and they travelled to South Wales in round five to get the better of Newport, 4-1, and there have been plenty of goals in Swansea's cup campaign too...
The Swans beat Aston Villa 3-0 at Villa Park in round three before beating Gillingham 4-1 in round four and they beat Brentford by the same score in round five. Over 2.5 in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market is trading at long odds-on and that makes perfect sense. And it's to the Over/Under market I'm going for my first two bets...
At least five goals have gone in - in five of the six FA Cup ties that these two have been involved in so far this season and we're more likely to see another high scoring match than we are a tight affair. City have been ruthless against lesser opposition, to the point that they've received ridiculous criticism for it from some quarters, so the chances of them letting up is zero.
I expect this to be a far more open affair than any City have played in the Premier League recently, where team after team sit extremely deep, intent on merely limiting the score. As a result, a goal from the home side is more than possible and the Over/Under markets look the best place to play. I've gone for Over in both the Over/Under 4.5and the Over/Under 5.5and some fun can be had for small stakes going even higher.
As much as I fancy goals are on the agenda, it has to be considered that City have been drawing at half time in their last three Premier League matches and it was 0-0 45 minutes in against Newport too so that looks like the value play in the Half Time / Full Time market.
Same Game Multi
If you fancy combining two or more scenarios to build a bet that pays handsomely, click on the Same Game Multi tab at the top of the Sportsbook market and pick two or more selections to build a wager. For example, Over 4.5 Goals and Riyad Mahrez to score pays £5.28 for £1 stake. It's never easy to predict a pep line-up but Mahrez didn't figure at all on Tuesday against Schalke and I'd be surprised if he doesn't start.
1 pt Over 4.5 Goals @ 3.50
1 pt Over 5.5 Goals @ 7.00
1 pt Draw/Manchester City in the Half Time / Full Time market @ 4.50