Soccer Picks: Manchester City vs. CSKA Moskva

Richard O'Hagan

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 12:29 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 12:29 PM UTC

Manchester City took the 2-1 win in Russia over CSKA Moscow in the first leg, but can City extend their lead with a strong showing back in the UK? Find out what the soccer odds boards are offering up on a similar result.

The fortnight since these teams met in Moscow has been a turbulent one for City, to say the least. First of all there was the row over the racial abuse of captain Yaya Toure during that game, with manager Manuel Pellegrini even going so far as to warn the visiting Muscovite fans not to repeat the same thing in Manchester during this game. Whether this will have any impact at all on a group of fans who are famously disinclined to listen to anyone pointing out their own ignorance – a stance tacitly accepted by football’s authorities, who have done nothing about the problem over the years and who reacted to the latest insult merely by telling the club to close a section of their ground for their next home European match (thus prompting one wag to suggest that they would probably close the away end in order to avoid further complaints) – is a moot point. The bigger issue is the extent to which City allow themselves to be distracted by the visiting supporters. They did a good job of playing through that in Moscow, but can they do the same again a second time and on their own patch?

Overshadowing even this, though, has been the debate over the form of goalkeeper Joe Hart, who finally lost the starting role after another blunder (although not one entirely of his own making, it must be said) in the game after these two sides last met. Replacement Costel Pantilimon hasn’t exactly set the world alight since taking over the gloves and this will be a big night as the Romanian makes his European debut for City. You can bet that CSKA will be looking to test him early on and often. Captain Vincent Kompany will again be missing with injury, as will Steven Jovetic, but neither played in the Moscow leg of this tie, either. Hart aside, City should be unchanged.

CSKA were rocked by that home defeat, not something which they are used to experiencing, especially after being a goal up. Ironically, only a fine save from Hart, using his leg to stop Keisuke Honda’s shot, prevented them taking a point, whilst Zoran Tosic was a constant thorn in the side of their defence and scored the opening goal. Despite being the home side, it could be a long evening for the City rearguard here.

That said,  victory here would take City to nine points and almost certainly guarantee them a spot in the knockout stages for the first time. That should be a very big incentive for Pellegrini’s men and that is reflected in the market, with City currently a best price of 1.22 at Paddy Power, whilst CSKA are a whopping 18.0 at Bet365. Even the draw is offeres at 7.5 on most soccer odds boards.

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With so little value in backing a City win with your soccer picks, you need to consider other markets, such as the correct score, where BetVictor will give you a very nice 12.0 on a repeat of that 2-1 Moscow scoreline. You can then get good odds on any Moscow player scoring first, with Bwin offering 29.0 on Tosic being the first to find the net again. You can even get 2.38 with BetVictor on both teams scoring in this game. None of which is a massive vote of confidence in a Moscow side who still harbour their own hopes of at least making it through to the Europa League playoffs by finishing third, or even snatching second qualifying spot. That might even make in-play betting an attractive option for extra sports picks, as City’s odds will surely lengthen if their guests have a good opening half.

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