Jake Pearson previews Manchester City's Champions League opener against RB Leipzig, and he is fancying another controlled victory for the home side.
1pt Manchester City to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 5/4 (Bet365, MansionBet)
Manchester City are second favourites to win their maiden Champions League this term. The team ahead of them in the betting: PSG.
Intriguingly, both sides have been drawn in Group A, meaning we will see Pep Guardiola’s side take on Lionel Messi’s new club at least twice this season, just like last campaign, when the pair met in the semi-final of this competition.
City won both of those meetings, but PSG now have the added threat that Lionel Messi will undoubtedly bring, leaving the group excitingly poised.
The difference that makes to this campaign is that, unlike in previous years, neither Manchester City nor PSG can realistically afford to drop unnecessary points; if they want to top the group that is.
That means Guardiola will show little mercy to RB Leipzig in their group opener, and that spells danger for the German outfit.
After a summer of upheaval, losing their manager to Bayern Munich as well as having a lot of their squad decimated, Leipzig have made a poor, but understandable, start to their Bundesliga season.
They have won just one of their four fixtures so far, losing the other three, including a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich at the weekend; hardly ideal preparation for a huge fixture away at Manchester City.
Leipzig can be forgiven for entering this match in something of a fragile state, and this is far from the easiest match from which to really kick-start your season.
Leipzig have scored five goals in the Bundesliga this term, but four of those came in one match, leaving two games they have failed to score in, something they failed to do on just four occasions throughout the entirety of last season.
RBL may have lost Julian Naglesmann, but they still have the defensive stability he left at the club to build from.
In his first season Leipzig boasted the second best defensive record in the league, as well as conceding the joint-lowest expected goals against (xGA). Last season they conceded the fewest goals in the Bundesliga and their xGA was more than 11 goals better than any other side in the division.
Dayot Upamecano may have vacated the centre of defence, but Leipzig should have enough defensive quality to at least keep the score down.
Sometimes it can become easy to overcomplicate things when looking for a niche bet in these sorts of matches, but the simplest solution is the often the correct one.
It seems like every match involving Manchester City ends up being MANCHESTER CITY TO WIN AND UNDER 3.5 GOALS, but it is a tip that continues to win, and continues to be priced up at backable odds.
Besides from a 3-1 victory over Porto in their Champions League opener last season, each of Manchester City’s wins in this competition came with fewer than four goals in the match, while 16 of their 27 league victories last term came with Under 3.5 match goals.
Admittedly, City have netted five goals on two occasions already this season, but it would be a huge shock were Leipzig to produce a performance as poor as those that Norwich and Arsenal turned in.
Score prediction: Manchester City 2-0 RB Leipzig (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)
Odds correct at 1500 BST (13/09/21)
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