Manchester City kept their sixth successive clean sheet since losing to Tottenham in November but the Citizens' firm foundations weren't enough for Pep Guardiola's men to earn maximum points in Saturday evening's Manchester derby at Old Trafford. In a 0-0 devoid of quality and excitement, neither side were able to carve out a decisive opportunity.
Gabriel Jesus was off target and Riyad Mahrez brought a routine save from David de Gea with City's best first-half chances, while Scott McTominay was inches away from Victor Lindelof's flick as United sought the breakthrough. The hosts had a penalty overturned by VAR but there was little else of note in a goalless game devoid of clear-cut chances.
Post-match, Guardiola seemed satisfied despite the dour display, saying: "They started well after we finished the first half well. We created three or four clear chances, you cannot expect many against a team like United and it was a good point in the end - it will be a good point in the future."
Sergio Aguero remains doubtful but Eric Garcia is an absentee.
West Brom slide to St James' Park loss
Pressure continues to pile on West Brom boss Slaven Bilic after the Baggies fell to a 2-1 reverse at Newcastle. The hosts were playing their first game since a coronavirus-enforced absence but were ahead inside 20 seconds, and then clinched top honours eight minutes from time at St James' Park with Darnell Furlong's equaliser sandwiched in between.
With his side now beaten in five of their past six, Bilic said, "I don't get those signals or that information" when asked if his position is under threat. He added, "It's about the result of course, but we showed again that we are in the game to the end. We showed the character and the mentality and the quality to some degree, and the team is very much alive."
West Brom arrived in the north-east of England with only one away point all season, a single win in the Premier League and on the back of a capitulation on being reduced to 10 men in the 5-1 defeat by Crystal Palace. But the Baggies were disjointed and toothless, missing the guile of Matheus Pereira, who has begun his suspension for last week's red card.
It's fair to say Manchester City have enjoyed taking on West Brom over the past decade. The duo have met on 17 occasions across all competitions with the Citizens succeeding in no fewer than 16 (W16-D1-L0).
The hosts are unbeaten at The Etihad against the Baggies since 2003, triumphing in each of their past nine here when welcoming Albion.
Manchester City1.12 have posted W38-D4-L1 when entertaining bottom-half opposition in the Premier League during Pep Guardiola's reign, an 88% win rate. The Citizens have scored three or more goals in 52% of those fixtures, beating the -1 handicap in 63% of Etihad matches. Twenty of those triumphs arrived alongside a clean sheet.
West Brom 34.00 gave Chelsea a good run for their money at The Hawthorns back in September but since the Baggies have picked up just four points, all of which were earned against fellow bottom-six battlers. Albion have fired blanks in half of their 12 tussles this term, and toiled on their travels (W0-D1-L5) with a -9 goal difference in games as guests.
Over 2.5 Goals is unsurprisingly too short to consider with Over 3.5 Goals paying 1.84. However, eight of Man City's 11 Premier League showdowns have fallen below this line, as well as the standard 2.5 goals barrier in 2020/21. The Citizens' outings are only averaging 2.55 goals per-game with just one blowout domestic victory earned against Burnley.
Since the start of October, just two of West Brom's league matches have beaten the regular 2.5 goals line, conceding no more than three goals in any Premier League match-up when Slaven Bilic's men have managed to keep 11 men on the field. With that in mind, I'm happy dip into the Same Game Multi market on Betfair Sportsbook.