Manchester City v Aston Villa Tips: Walker is a huge price in the cards market
Manchester City welcome Aston Villa to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening in what looks to be an intriguing affair. With both sides having games in hand on their nearest rivals in the Premier League table, it’s a great opportunity to continue their respective positive form, albeit this will be the first match for Villa’s first team since New Year’s Day when they narrowly lost out to another Manchester side in United.
- Manchester City to win; Over 1 Goals in the Match; Over 0 Manchester City Cards & Under 4 Match Cards – 2.5 points @ 9/4 with bet365
- Ilkay Gundogan 1+ Shot on Target – 2.5 points @ 11/10 with Betfair
- Kyle Walker to be carded – 1 point @ 8/1 with bet365
Should Manchester City win on Wednesday they will top the Premier League table and it’s a position that you would not be surprised to see them relinquish before the end of the season considering the quality the squad possesses.
Pep Guardiola’s men look imperious at the moment at both ends of the pitch, finding their feet in front of goal again after a start to the season which saw the balance of the team tip too much in the opposite direction in an effort to tighten up at the back. Four successive wins without conceding in all competitions was made to look effortless with just 5 shots on target conceded.
With the COVID outbreak that affected the squad seemingly subsided, City have a number of top class talent to be able to interchange to manage a hectic schedule. With a League Cup final secured, deep progress into the FA Cup almost certain, a European knockout phase to look forward to and the best form in the Premier League, City look in a wonderful position to push on and win yet more trophies.
Looking at this game specifically, City can be backed on the outright market at 2/7 best price. That may seem harsh on Aston Villa but it’s a reflection of how dominant the Sky Blues have been in recent weeks. I’m sure some punters will look at the 12/1 price on Villa as an appealing proposition but you’d have to be very brave to back just a second home league defeat in 21 for the Citizens.
As impressed as I’ve been with Villa going forward this season – and I do think they can cause the home team problems here on the break – it’s hard to see them having the defensive personnel to win their individual match-ups when tasked with having to do as much defending as they will be on Wednesday.
Perhaps we should cast our eyes over last Wednesday’s solitary goal success against Brighton as a warning to not expect a handicap win, but I do want to get goals on side again.
We can use bet365’s bet builder to find some value here – Manchester City to win; Over 1 Goals in the Match; Over 0 Manchester City Cards & Under 4 Match Cards. It’s priced at 9/4 and it’s worth a 2.5 point play in my view.
I think we’ve covered the case for City to win above and on the goals front, you wouldn’t back against the Etihad club notching 2 or more goals by themselves with Foden and De Bruyne in particular in spectacular form.
As I touched on before, it wouldn’t surprise me however if Villa did find the net considering they have done so in 12/15 league fixtures this season but it’s likely to be a case of them being outscored against the team with the best Expected Goals Scored (xG) in the division. Whilst there is no doubting the improvement in Villa post-lockdown and into the new campaign, it may be tough to get over the phycological hurdle of not having suffered defeat to their opponents in the last 5 meetings, conceding 19 goals in the process.
On the cards front, it may look like a juxtaposition but there is some logic to it. Villa are the most fouled team in the Premier League this season which is no surprise given how brilliant their captain Jack Grealish is at dribbling. The England international is constantly fouled to stop him getting near to goal and with City no stranger to tactical fouls under Guardiola, I’m willing to back that they’ll pick up at least one booking here with Rodri, Gundogan or Walker the most likely candidates to be tasked with stopping Grealish travelling with the ball.
The referee here is Jonathan Moss. His 2020/21 season average of 2.7 cards per match is typical of his career bookings record (hence the under 4 match cards) but it’s interesting to look back at his past matches in charge of Villa – dishing out a fair few cards to opponents so he clearly has little patience when it comes to seeing the Midlanders fouled time and time again.
Manchester City have been fouled just 8 times per game on average at the Etihad so although I think the home team will have at least one name taken, I can’t see a card fest overall. Moss refereed one of the head-to-heads between the two last season – the 6-1 mauling of Villa on their own turf – awarding 3 cards in total and 1 to City that day.
We backed this last week with some success so as the old saying goes – “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”.
Experienced German Gundogan has become an integral presence in this City team and in recent times has shown that he has such a versatile range of qualities that, for me, make him one of the best in the game in his position.
Gundogan bagged yet another goal in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend to make it six matches in a row registering a shot on target when he curled a beauty into the top right corner past the helpless Guita in the Eagles' goal. I’m amazed therefore that we’re getting 11/10 again with Betfair for a repeat trick of a shot on target, the price we won this bet with last week.
As per a week ago, I’m happy to have 2.5 points on this considering the amount of efforts Gundogan is having on goal (3, 2 and 4 in the last three league matches), the fact that the German stands over some direct free-kicks for the Cityzens and his confidence levels to have a pop at the moment, which must be sky-high considering his current scoring streak.
My final selection is a price play more than anything but as highlighted above, up against Grealish it won’t be plain sailing for former Villa man Walker.
The right-back has been shown 5 yellows and a red card for club and country this season so I think the price is too big based on that alone. Granted, his career record doesn’t stand out in terms of always finding his way into the referee’s notebook but you have to put into context the opposition here with a few one-on-one battles with Grealish – the most fouled player in the league – almost certain.
In 3 of the 4 games referee Jonathan Moss has taken charge of Villa since their promotion back to the top flight he has booked an opposition right-back (Castagne this season and booked Wan Bissaka/sent off Maitland-Niles last season) so there’s a pattern forming there that it makes sense to back again.
The next best price you can find at the time of writing is 11/2, so we’re getting some decent value on side here.
Gamble responsibly and always bet what you can afford.