Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Prediction: West Brom vs Manchester City

Dan Steeden in Free Soccer Predictions 19 Sep 2017

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Verdict: Manchester City -1

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmakers: Bet 365

The third round of the EFL Cup, now known as the Carabao Cup, pits Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City juggernauts against a slow-and-steady West Brom side managed by Tony Pulis. With both teams vying for a place in the fourth round it remains to be seen in the Baggies can withstand the Citizens’ onslaught.

West Brom

Tony Pulis’ sides are rarely famed for their goal-scoring prowess, and that looks to be the case once again this season as the Baggies have failed to score more than one goal in any of their Premier League games thus far. However their conservative approach has resulted in only a single loss this season in all competitions – a surprising 3-1 defeat at home to newly promoted Brighton – and they have only conceded once at home where they are unbeaten, and a famously tough outfit. A 0-0 draw with West Ham won’t have provided the ideal preparation for this fixture, but it did provide another clean sheet – their third of the season.

There are more reasons for positivity too as the last EFL Cup meeting between the two sides, albeit back in 2010, ended in a win for West Brom courtesy of goals from Gianni Zuiverloon and Simon Cox. Though a lot has changed in seven years, the Baggies’ home form and Guardiola’s zealous belief in extreme squad rotation certainly will certainly give Tony Pulis reasons to be quietly confident of scraping a result, especially if his side can expose Manchester City defensively at set pieces. Whether or not anybody else will share Pulis’ confidence is a different question.

Team News

Jake Livermore will miss this game after being given time off to rest, both mentally and physically. Nacer Chadli (thigh) and Oliver Burke (hamstring) are likely to be late fitness tests.

Gareth McAuley returned to the bench on Saturday after extended absence and he could feature in this game.

Manchester City

The Citizens provide almost the perfect contrast to West Brom as it has become almost routine for Pep Guardiola’s side to score four or more goals in a game, a feat they have managed in half of their fixtures in all competitions this season. A 0-6 away win at Watford, a team who were previously unbeaten in the league, will give City a huge confidence boost going into this game. Despite a Sergio Aguero hat-trick in that game, City have actually seen five different scorers in their five Premier League games and this fact alone makes them a nightmare for opposing managers to prepare for. With wingbacks that play more like wingers, arguably the best strike partnership in the league, and Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva pulling the strings in midfield, City’s starting XI is frankly terrifying.

Mercifully for West Brom it seems highly likely that the rotation loving Pep Guardiola will mix up the team for this fixture. However City’s strength in depth is almost equally terrifying, and they almost have a second XI of Premier League quality just held in reserve. Both Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané have scored after coming on as substitutes this season, and the likes of Danilo, Gundogan and Bernardo Silva, who are all exceptional players, should feature in this game. We may also see academy graduate Phil Foden who seems to be a favourite of Guardiola after an impressive pre-season.

Team News

City captain Vincent Kompany is recovering from a calf injury and may not be risked in this game even if fit. Yaya Toure also looks set to miss out due to fitness concerns.

Ilkay Gundogan featured from the bench against Watford and should start this game to give either Silva or De Bruyne a rest.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Manchester City have won their last 11 games against West Brom.
  • City have scored 20 goals in six games across all competitions this season.
  • West Brom are unbeaten at home this season having conceded just once.
  • City have never won an EFL Cup game at The Hawthorns.
  • City have won the EFL Cup four times.

Conclusion

Pep Guardiola is a competitive manager who hates to lose, and he takes cup competitions very seriously, so all the signs point to another destructive victory. Past statistics fade into irrelevance when you watch this City team attack, and it will be all West Brom can do to keep the score line from getting embarrassing.

Verdict: Manchester City -1

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmakers: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Steeden


Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.

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