The festive period has always been a busy one for English football, and this year is no different. The upcoming week will see the Premier League play on Boxing Day, then again over the weekend, and then once again on New Year’s Day – three rounds of fixtures condensed into one action-packed week. This is, of course, a long-standing tradition – Christmas and the New Year just do not feel the same without football. Of course, jam-packed weeks like this one bring the opportunity to ‘earn’ some extra Christmas cheer, if you will. It is easy enough for fans to play their favourite markets, via the bet365 app.
Manchester City have been the best side in England, and one of the best teams in the world, over the past couple of seasons. They amassed an unprecedented 198 points over the last two completed league seasons, showcasing a level of football not seen before on English shores. However, this season has seen them fall behind Liverpool – at the time of writing, City were 11 points behind their Merseyside rivals having played a game more. It is not that City have been bad this season; they have once again played some truly spectacular football, as seen in their 8-0 mauling of Watford earlier in the season, and sporadically in games against Tottenham and Leicester City. However, their failure to recruit a replacement for Vincent Kompany has cost them dearly, with Aymeric Laporte’s injury making a bad situation worse. City have, at times, been shambolic defensively, and have especially suffered against rapid counter-attacks, as Manchester United showed a couple of weeks ago, as did Wolves earlier in the season. Pep’s side have also struggled while pressing their opponents, which in turn has led to them being able to mount such devastating counter-attacks. Additionally, while Raheem Sterling has carried on scoring goals, Sergio Agüero’s injury problems have also contributed to City lacking a ruthless edge this season. They remain a superb footballing side, capable of beating any team on the planet; however, Liverpool’s relentlessness has meant that the margin for error is almost non-existent this season, and Guardiola’s team are likely to fall foul of this in their quest to become the first side since Manchester United in 2009 to win the league three times in a row.
There is still a lot of value for punters if they want to plump for the Citizens. While their next couple of Premier League games are probably bankers – Wolves away at 1.33 and Sheffield United home at 1.16, one can find decent value from their Champions League campaign. They are currently priced at 5.00 to win the trophy outright by bet365, which could provide good value despite being drawn against Real Madrid in the round of 16. The odds for the first leg of that tie, to be played at the end of February, are also enticing with City priced at 2.45 for the away trip to Madrid; they are also classified as favourites to qualify for the next round at a price of 1.40. Thus, fans can find some festive cheer from these tips despite City’s inability to keep up in the Premier League race this season.