City to finally shine on European stage

Tonight’s the night that Manchester City find their feet in the Champions League, with a home tie against a hapless Villarreal.

City to finally shine on European stage

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October 18th, 2011

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Roberto Mancini’s men, irresistible in the Premier League so far, have found life tough at Europe’s top table in their opening two games, struggling to a 2-2 draw at home to Napoli and going down to a 2-0 reverse on that now infamous night in Munich.

But all of that is about to change tonight, according to our completely unscientific predictions, as a relatively average Spanish side land at the Etihad.

Villarreal, to their credit, boast something that City don’t have; a respectable pedigree in this competition. El Submarino Amarillo mad it to the semi-finals in 2006, the quarter finals in 2009 and the knock-out stages in 2010. All of that has been achieved on a relatively shoe-string budget, so they aren’t to be completely written off.

That said, we’re going to write them off because, in short, their form in La Liga has been woeful. Hit hard by the loss of Santi Cazorla and forced to bring in troops that don’t have a price tag around their necks, Villarreal have struggled so far this season. With just one win in the league and another success in Champions League qualifying against OB Odense, things aren’t looking good for the men from Castellón.

You’re not going to find value in the win/draw/win market, with the best price about a City win currently 1/3, but we like the look of the 5/4 about City to win with a clean sheet to their name. Villarreal have lost five times this season in all competitions, failing to score in every single one of those reverses.

Another place where value is thin on the ground is over in Romania where you’ll get no better than 2/9 on Manchester United to beat Otelul Galati.

Still seething from the dropped points against Basel last time out in Europe, United’s players will be keen to avoid another Fergie tongue-lashing and take some good form into this weekend’s Manchester Derby. On that basis, we think that 8/5 on United -2 is worth a look.

Also on the handicap, we’re going to chuck in a third bet by backing Barcelona -3 against Plzen  at even money.

Our picks:

Manchester City vs Villarreal: City to win ‘to-nil’ at 5/4

Otelul Galati vs Manchester United: United -2 at 8/5

Barcelona vs Plzen: Barcelona -3 at evens

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