The English Premier League match between title favourite Manchester City and relegation favourite Crystal Palace at Etihad Stadium should be an easy one for the camerapersons to shoot because most of the action should unfold in one half of the field – the home team’s attacking half.
Tony Pulis has set about improving Crystal Palace’s defence since the Eagles finally decided to go with their initial gut instinct and employ the former Stoke manager. Pulis may not have the tall timber at his disposal at Crystal Palace that he did during his many years battling against the odds at Stoke but he knows how to organise troops and the Eagles have kept five clean sheets in their first eight games under new management. Pulis deserves considerable credit for that.
However, one should acknowledge that Pulis has had the help of a relatively benign English Premier League fixture list since he succeeded Ian Holloway at Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace has played home matches against Cardiff, Everton, Newcastle and West Ham and away games versus Aston Villa, Chelsea, Hull and Norwich under Pulis, shutting out the Bluebirds, the Hammers, the Tigers, the Toffees and, on Boxing Day, the Villans who simply cannot win at home.
Backing Manchester City to beat Crystal Palace to nil and, also, supporting the Citizens on one of the handicaps are attractive ways to bet on the English Premier League match between the haves and the have nots. Paddy Power is offering odds of 1.80 about Manchester City defeating Crystal Palace and keeping a clean sheet in the process, taking a chance probably because the Citizens have allowed their opponents to score in each of their last seven games, conceding 12 goals in their sequence of six wins and one draw.
But surely Pulis and his defence-minded Crystal Palace, the English Premier League’s lowest scoring side with only 12 goals in its 18 matches, will find it difficult to get out of its own territory at Etihad Stadium and it will be a case by how far Manchester City wins. Crystal Palace has failed to score in five of its nine top-flight road games and only scored one goal in each of its other four matches away from Selhurst Park. Backing Manchester City at odds of 1.80 to beat Crystal Palace to nil is more appealing than backing the Citizens at odds of 1.14 simply to collect three points.
Crystal Palace has yet to lose an English Premier League road game by more than two goals but Manchester City has been scoring goals for fun in recent weeks, both at Etihad Stadium and around Europe. One can get odds of 2.00 with Bet365 that Manchester City defeats Crystal Palace by more than two goals and, like the win-to-nil punt, that looks like it should be well into odds-on territory. Also, one should consider dutching some scores based on Manchester City not conceding a goal and Crystal Palace keeping the score respectable. Ladbrokes and Paddy Power are offering odds of 7.50 about a Manchester City 3-0 victory, Ladbrokes is offering odds of 10.00 about a Manchester City 4-0 victory and BetVictor and Ladbrokes is offering odds of 15.00 about a Manchester City 5-0 victory. Dutching those three scores equates to odds of 3.33. And, of course, one could cover one’s handicap bet by including a Manchester City 2-0 victory at odds of 7.50 with BetVictor, Ladbrokes and Winner. That score reduces the dutched odds to 2.30.
One can understand why Paddy Power is taking a chance with Manchester City in the win-to-nil market and, in particular, Ladbrokes does not mind being top price about the scores in which the Citizens keep a clean sheet but the odds are too big to ignore given the gulf in class between the two teams, the free-scoring form of the English Premier League’s title favourites and the conservative approach that the Eagles, whose boss is sufficiently smart to realise that losing at Etihad Stadium will not define his side’s season unless it is a bloodbath that undermines its confidence for its future assignment, is likely to adopt against an all-star offence.
Once or twice per month we will provide you with the latest sports tips and keep you updated about the biggest events.