Friday, February 20, 2009

Next Up, Man City

By Gareth Freeman

Manchester City travel to Anfield on Sunday in Liverpool’s first league game after a short break and this should provide three much needed points for Rafa’s men. City have only won once on the road all season and I can’t see them doubling that at Anfield.

Even though I can only see this tie going one way it is still worth having a look at the opponents, with that in mind I thought I’d pick out City’s danger men and analyse where the threat will come from.

They have a lot of decent attacking players at City but they just don’t seem to be able to turn it on when they’re away from home. Robinho is still yet to score away from Eastlands and his erratic form is, in my opinion, the reason City are not good away. They still look for him every time they’re bursting forward but he just isn’t doing it for them on their travels. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Craig Bellamy will also create problems for Liverpool but I think Carragher and co should be able to cope with them.

My favourite City player is Stephen Ireland. He reminds we a bit of Gerrard in the way he reads the game and runs from deep and I’m sure he’ll put in a decent performance against Liverpool on Sunday.

The are where City have really let themselves down this season is in defence. Micah Richards and Richard Dunne have just not performed as well as they should have done this season and they’ve looked suspect against some poor teams. I had expected the arrival of Nigel de Jong as a defensive midfielder to help shore up their problems but so far he has done nothing to justify his hefty price tag.

I will finish with a few Premier League betting picks for the weekend. I think Arsenal and Manchester United will record home wins against Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers respectively.

I’m also quite tempted by Chelsea picking up a win away at Aston Villa, it will be Guus Hiddink’s first game in charge at Chelsea and I think the players will start to pick up their performances from now on. There is no doubting Villa are a decent side but it is probably the worst time to come up against Chelsea now. On Sunday I think Everton will be able to beat Newcastle at St James’ Park and I’ll probably double that up with Liverpool to beat City in my own football betting.

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