Both teams to score in both semi-final second legs

Backing both West Ham and Manchester City to score in their English Capital One Cup semi-final second leg is a cracking bet as the free-wheeling Citizens take a 6-0 lead and an understandably carefree attitude to the Boleyn Ground.

Manchester City has played 34 games across all competitions this season for 25 wins, four draws and five losses, the last of which was away to Sunderland of all teams in the English Premier League two months ago. Manchester City has scored at least one goal in 31 of its 34 matches, with its three blanks coming on the road to Stoke and Sunderland in the top flight and away to Newcastle in the English Capital One Cup when it required extra time to defeat the Magpies.

It is impossible for Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini to put out anything other than a strong side and, even if the Citizens run out in east London at a notch or two below full strength, the fact that they will be able to play under zero pressure should see them create sufficient chances to score at least one goal versus a West Ham team that has kept just one clean sheet in its last eight matches. West Ham’s only clean sheets in its last 15 games have been against the English Premier League’s 17th-, 19th- and 20th-placed sides. West Ham is, of course, positioned 18th on the ladder.

Manchester City’s away record, at least defensively, is what makes backing both teams to score at the Boleyn Ground worth doing at odds of 1.67 with Paddy Power. Even when it matters Manchester City has been leaking goals on its travels, with the Citizens conceding in all bar four of their 17 matches on the road this term. Newcastle (twice), Plzen and Stoke are the only three sides that have failed to score a home goal versus Manchester City – a surprising statistic.

Betting on West Ham and Manchester City going over three and a half goals at odds of 2.10 with many bookmakers, including Betfred, is another option worth considering given that the game could become an end-to-end affair but one’s preference is for the odds-on option.

Manchester United entertains Sunderland in the other English Capital One Cup semi-final second leg and that looks ripe for a punt on both teams to score as well, especially as BetVictor and William Hill are offering odds of 2.05 about the Red Devils and the Black Cats each registering a goal.

David Moyes-managed sides have a history of choking in big matches but, if anything, the fact that Manchester United has to come out and play against Sunderland is probably not a bad thing for the Red Devils. Manchester United ought to fancy its chance of salvaging the tie at Old Trafford, not least because Sunderland, while it has improved markedly under Gus Poyet, is second from bottom on the English Premier League ladder. What Poyet has done to Sunderland – and this is crucial for the suggested bet – is instil a positive attitude among the Black Cats and one can safely assume that the visitors will not sit back and wait for Manchester United to score a tie-swinging goal. One can expect Sunderland to be positive, particularly because Manchester United’s best defender, Nemanja Vidic, is out following his unnecessary red card over the weekend.

With Manchester United’s season on the line – the English Capital One Cup represents the best chance that the Red Devils have of winning a major piece of silverware this term – at home to a Sunderland side that remains one of the top flight’s weak links, a home goal looks like a banker. While Sunderland has found the back of the net in six of its last seven matches, including its last three away games.

Finally, Milan did not rise to the occasion for its first match under Clarence Seedorf, creating very little in the way of goal-scoring chances and only getting the better of Verona thanks to a late Mario Balotelli penalty. Backing Milan and Udinese to go under two and a half goals in their Coppa Italia tie at the San Siro appeals at odds of 2.05 with BetVictor. The corresponding Italian Serie A fixture resulted in a 1-0 victory for Milan back in mid October.

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