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Man City v West Brom Tips: Gallagher to find the target at the Etihad

Man City v West Brom Tips: Slaven Bilic's side travel north sat in the relegation zone
Man City v West Brom Tips: Slaven Bilic's side travel north sat in the relegation zone

The Etihad is the destination for Slaven Bilic's West Brom side in the final Premier League action on offer on Tuesday evening. I've picked out three football predictions of interest from the shots on target and cards market at odds of; 7/2, 13/2 and 19/4. You can combine the three for a long-shot at odds of 165/1.

Man City will look to make ground on Liverpool and Tottenham as they welcome a Baggies side currently dwelling in the relegation zone. Pep Guardiola's side are painfully short at 9/100 as the hosts are expected to bounce back from a drab 0-0 draw vs neighbours Manchester United at the weekend. Eric Garcia is City's only confirmed absentee but Sergio Aguero is also a doubt.

West Brom will be without the injured Conor Townsend and Hal Robson-Kanu. Matheus Pereira also misses out as he is suspended. Following defeat to Newcastle, Bilic could reinstate Jake Livermore to centre midfield. 

Premier League betting
Jimmy the Punt: Man City v West Brom
Tue, 20:00
Conor Gallagher 1+ SoT
  • With a shots per game average of two, nobody in the West Brom side has averaged more then Conor Gallagher this season
Odds correct as of 2020-12-15 09:20 Odds subject to change.

With a shots per game average of two, nobody in the West Brom side has averaged more then Conor Gallagher this season nor has anyone found the back of the net more than his total of two.

The Chelsea loanee is expected to start in centre midfield with Sawyers and Livermore this evening which should give him more attacking freedom. Not that he has needed a second invitation to get forward as of late, in his last three games he has being responsible for 33.3% of West Brom's shots (12), seven of which have been goal-bound!

As he has demonstrated already this season, he isn't one to shy away from a challenge and has being the Baggies stand out performer. He tops their charts in most departments; shots (2), goals (2), yellows (3) and tackles (3.5) and I don't think he will let tonight's game bypass him either. He'll be keen to prove himself against the best in an effort to get a result for his current employers and to prove a point to his parent club. 

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Semi Ajayi to be booked
  • In a back three he has averaged two tackles and committed 1.5 fouls per game
Odds correct as of 2020-12-15 09:20 Odds subject to change.

As eluded to above, West Brom have switched between a back four and a back five this season and Semi Ajayi's statistics differ massively depending on which system he plays in. 

As part of a back four he is far less exposed, averaging 0.75 tackles and 0.25 fouls per game (excluding the Everton game where West Brom had a man sent off and switched formation). In a back three he has averaged two tackles and committed 1.5 fouls per game. Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, vs teams with greater attacking output he has committed more fouls averaging 2.33 vs Man Utd, Spurs and Leicester. 

Tonight, he is 13/2 to be carded with Betfair, Paddy Power and BetVictor whereas he is as short as 3/1 with Boylesports. Both of his cards this season has come when playing in a back five and, staggeringly, he has conceded just one foul as part of a back four! This evening he faces perhaps his toughest test to date as his direct opponent will likely be Raheem Sterling, Man City's third-most fouled player (1.5 pG).

Romain Sawyers to be booked
  • Has picked up two cards in his last five games
Odds correct as of 2020-12-15 09:25 Odds subject to change.

This bet is only 7/4 with Boylesports and 2/1 with bet365. That said, this price should hold as it is only fractionally shorter with Sky Bet, William Hill, Betfair and Paddy Power at 9/2. 

Romaine Sawyers averaged ten cards per season in his last two in the Championship, receiving 19 yellows and a red playing for West Brom and Brentford. That is a card every 0.24 games played so at odds of 19/4, and an implied probability of 17.4%, his price represents some value as it is. 

After a sluggish start, he's beginning to find his feet - or rather find the opponents feet - amongst the English elite, picking up two cards in his last five games. 

The influx of cards, I think, is due to Slavan Bilic's tactical tweak. Playing in a pairing in centre midfield (in a 5-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation) Sawyers received zero cards. Both of his EPL bookings have come when he is anchoring a midfield five on his own. This is due to the fact that the Baggies have become so vulnerable in transition after any sustained period of pressure. 

However, this angle isn't without its flaws. Bilic opts for the 5-4-1 we saw in the Baggies first three games of the campaign vs the more threatening sides - he reverted back to it vs Manchester United - and he could do this at the Etihad tomorrow.

This makes this angle less appealing because the low blocks compactness and deep defensive line makes the likelihood of Sawyers becoming exposed far less. It is even less then when he is in a midfield three - despite the fact that they still deploy a low block - because in a flat four the Baggies use a double pivot as a pose to the single pivot they use in a midfield three. 

Gallagher SoT, Ajayi and Sawyers to be booked
  • With a shots per game average of two, nobody in the West Brom side has averaged more then Conor Gallagher this season
  • In a back three, Ajayi has averaged two tackles and committed 1.5 fouls per game
  • Sawyers has picked up two yellows in his last five games
Odds correct as of 2020-12-15 09:25 Odds subject to change.

You can combine all three of these selections at odds of 165/1 with Betfair but please stake responsibly!

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