City set for Thrilling Victory

  • By: Ben Coley
  • Last Updated: October 3 2012, 16:35 BST

Milan have been frustrated at times this season

2pt double under 2.5 goals in both Group C games at 2.24/1 (BetVictor).

1pt Manchester City to win not to nil at 11/5 (Coral).


Wednesday night's action in the UEFA Champions League looks rather less predictable than Tuesday's, and none of the favourites make any great appeal.

Yes, Arsenal should be too good for Olympiacos and yes, Schalke could also have far too much quality for Montpellier, but both Group B bankers are accordingly priced.

Instead, we'll head to Group C, a fascinating make-up of Zenit, AC Milan, Anderlecht and Malaga, but one that may not provide much fascination on matchday two.

First up Zenit host Milan in Russia, and their respective coaches Luciano Spalletti and Massimiliano Allegri are already under immense pressure.

Spalletti's Zenit haven't started particularly well in Russia, and having spent millions bringing in Hulk and Axel Witsel from Portuguese sides this summer expectations are perhaps unreasonably high.

They were comprehensively beaten by Malaga on matchday one and although they did offer something going forward, the bottom line is that Zenit lacked cutting edge in the final third.

Milan, meanwhile, are already missing the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, failing to score in three of their seven games in all competitions and picking up just six points from a possible 18 at home.

Throw in their failure to score against Anderlecht in the opening round of fixtures, and what you have is a side lacking in attacking confidence who may be set up to take a 0-0 draw from this game. Their reliance on Stephan El Shaarawy is clear and if Zenit can stop him, they can keep a clean sheet.

With that in mind, we'll back under 2.5 goals in a double with the same scenario in Belgium.

Anderlecht have been in free-scoring form domestically, but the Champions League is a different matter altogether and they're likely to approach Malaga with caution.

The Spanish millionaires got off to a perfect start in the competition and should be more than happy to bank on home performances getting them through to the knockout stages, particularly as they travel to Atletico Madrid in La Liga on Sunday.

So far this season, two of their four away games have ended 0-0 and the other two in 1-0 wins, and BetVictor's approximate 9/4 about a pair of low-scoring games looks a solid wager.

In contrast, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund have both been involved in some high-scoring games and an entertaining encounter looks in store at the Etihad.

City have rightly earned a reputation as the toughest side to beat in the Barclays Premier League, and they underlined that with what's now a trademark comeback to beat Fulham on Saturday.

Indeed, you have to go back to September 2011 for the last time anyone managed to beat City by more than a goal, and clearly Dortmund have their hands full.

The German outfit have a squad packed with attacking flair but a 3-3 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt rather underlines how difficult they find it to keep clean sheets on the road, and points don't come easy either.

So far this season, they've suffered defeat at Bayern Munich and Hamburg, with a pair of draws thrown in too, and everything points to a home win of some sort.

For all their undoubted quality going forward, City do share Dortmund's defensive frailties, so there are two bets that interest us: City to concede but win at 11/5, and City to win by exactly a goal at 3/1.

City's last five wins have all involved a goal or more from the opposition, and four have been by exactly a goal - their 3-1 win over QPR is the exception, but even that required a 90th minute goal from Carlos Tevez.

Given that Roberto Mancini's don't look like adding to last year's modest total of three 1-0 wins in all competitions, let alone against a City as strong as Dortmund going forward, the former bet looks safer and gets our vote.

  • Preview posted at 1615 BST on 02/10/2012.