After a hard-fought victory over Sheffield on Sunday 29th, Pep will probably need to make some changes to win the next six games. That’s right; there six games to play this January. Luckily, most of them are easy fixtures.
Two of the games will be against Man United in the Carabao Cup semis while there’s also the match against Port Vale in the FA. In the EPL, all of the four teams the Citizens are scheduled to face rank in the bottom half of the log. Below are previews of each match and what to expect.
Everton might have won their last two games and defeated Chelsea early in December, but they don’t face a major threat to City’s squad. Most pundits and bookies also believe the game will be a comfortable win for the citizens.
City won 3-1 the last time they faced Everton. And with home advantage this time, there’s no reason for them to lose. The defence problem, which seems to have worsened in December, could improve should Laporte make it ahead of Everton’s game.
But even without Laporte, the Citizens should overpower Carlo Ancelotti’s men with a margin of two or more goals. Both De Bruyne and Aguero are in top form. And with the presence of Sterling and Mahrez, anything else but three points will be unexpected.
Versus Port Vale—FA
No one expects the Citizens to lose this game. Heck, even a draw will be a disappointment. Fortunately, Pep isn't known to lose the qualifying rounds of the FA, not especially to non-EPL teams. Obviously, the head coach will probably rest most first-team players in anticipation of the game against United.
It will be a great match for Foden and fellow youngsters to prove why they deserve more first-time playtime. Otamendi, Mendy and Gabriel Jesus could also feature while a few players on injured reserve will probably be back.
Versus Man United—League Cup
With both City and United out of contention for the EPL trophy, they will want to win the Carabao Cup and give their fans something to celebrate. Man United probably wants it more. But with the race toward another EPL trophy decreasing with each week, Pep wouldn’t hate to add another Carabao trophy to his bag.
Lucky for him, United have been unpredictable throughout this season. They might have won at the Etihad early in December but Pep’s men have what it takes to beat United at Old Trafford on 7th. It won’t be easy now that the red devils are back to winning ways.
Ole Gunnar’s men could end up winning at Old Trafford. But if Pep works everything right, he could get the job done at the Etihad later in the month.
Versus Aston Villa
Aston Villa are fighting to get off the relegation zone and nothing seems to be working for them. They lost to last-placed Watford 3-0 after a win to Norwich. They could grab a few points when they face Burnley, Full Ham and Leicester.
But when they host Man City on 12th, the game will only have one outcome: a win for City. Of course, there are always surprises in football. Aston Villa could work for a draw or get a surprise victory as Norwich did early in the season. But the chances of City losing the game are slim.
Versus Crystal Palace—EPL
Although they started this season splendidly, Crystal Palace have only won a single match since November. That win came against Bournemouth at the start of December. Since then, they’ve drawn three times and lost once.
In light of these stats, that will be another match in which City can collect all three points. Guardiola’s men beat Roy Hodgon’s men 2-0 the last time they met at Selhurst Park. And with Palace struggling in relegation danger, Man City should stroll past them at the Etihad on 18th.
Man City struggled to beat Sheffield at the Etihad. Guardiola could argue his team is plagued with injuries. But the truth is that the Blades have been incredibly sharp this season. They’ve given trouble to the big six, and as a result, sit ninth-placed with comfort.
Unless Man City approaches this game extremely tactfully, it’s a match in which Sheffield could walk away with points. They have home advantage and will have several of their previously injured players back in shape.
Versus Man United—Carabao
City’s final match in January will be against United in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals. The Citizens will be on home ground. But as United proved in the first leg of the EPL, they can grab all three points in Pep's backyard with ease.
So, who progresses to the EFL Cup finals? United have an advantage. They’ve regained their form and could beat Man City at Old Trafford. If that happens, they could draw or pick another win at the Etihad, steering them into the finals comfortably.
On the surface, Man City have a chance to win six out of six games in January. But the City playing this season hasn’t been consistent as the side that won the EPL back to back. So, what now?
Pick a few games you believe will give you the most value for your money. By value, avoid fixtures every bookie tips to win unrestricted. Instead, target the games against United, Sheffield or even Crystal Palace.
There are odds comparison websites which can help you find the best betting odds. Use them to your advantage. Bet different games on different betting sites if you have to. The objective is to maximize your profits and not necessarily to pay favourites to a bookmaker.
As always, take your time before you bet. Research each game carefully to learn which players will feature on both sides. Find out about injuries, form and whether there are better wagers than outright winners.
With the fixtures City have in January, betting correct scores, the number of goals scored and props could provide better value than money line wagers.