After a six game winless run Pep Guardiola answered his critics emphatically with a 4-0 win at West Brom and then backed it up with a thrilling comeback against Barcelona in midweek. They’ll now look to return to winning ways in the league at the Etihad, where they’ve drawn their last two. They welcome a Middlesbrough side that ended their seven game winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth.
Unsurprisingly, City have a fantastic record at home against promoted sides having triumphed in 17 of 18 such encounters since 2010/11. In normal circumstances we would back another comfy home success, but the Citizens do have a tendency of starting slowly after their mid-week excursions: their record after a Champions League game since the start of last season reads W7-D4-L5 and they’ve been ahead at half-time in just five of these.
Boro proved at the Emirates that they can make life difficult for their opponents as they held out for 90 minutes against the Gunners. Goals may not be flowing as they’ve managed just nine thus far, but Karanka’s side are certainly well-organised. They’ve not conceded a goal in the first half in their last four, while three of their five road games have been goalless at the break. Boro will look to frustrate the hosts but with the quality Guardiola has at his disposal, expect City to prevail in the end. We’re backing Draw/City HT/FT, as has been the case in five of their last 11 home wins against promoted sides.
Best Bet: Draw/Man City HT/FT at 4.2