Sports Betting Weekly

Manchester City v West Ham

When: Sunday, 19 April 2015 @ 19:30 (FINISHED)
Where: The Etihad Stadium
With their season in complete disarray, Manchester City now face the difficult task to trying to generate enough points to finish ahead of Liverpool and qualify for the Champions League in fourth position – an achievement which should be the bare minimum requirement for such a gifted squad.

With the title now surely out of their grasp due to there being a mammoth 12-point gap between City and Chelsea, manager Manuel Pellegrini will almost certainly be sacked in the summer by the club’s hierarchy, but before then, qualifying for the Champions League will be imperative.

Even a single season outside the Champions League could have horrific consequences for City in regards to player sales, as world class talents like Sergio Aguero are unlikely to hang around if they are instead forced into facing Thursday night appointments in the Europa League.

It would also be incredibly difficult for the manager – whoever that may end up being – to have a proper clearout and subsequent recruitment drive if the club are out of Europe’s premier club competition, as attracting top quality players will be that much harder.

It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall when Pellegrini and West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce have their post-match chat on Sunday, as the Hammers boss is also under severe pressure.

West Ham have been a lot better this season in regards to the style of their play, with many praising them for getting the ball down and trying to play attacking football in order to win over the supporters so vehemently against Allardyce’s perceived long-ball tactics.

However, since the year began, West Ham have been in relegation form with just three wins in all competitions – one of those being against League One side Bristol City in the F.A. Cup – and as such, calls for Allardyce’s head have grown louder and louder. Rumours of a West Ham reunion for ex-Hammer, Slaven Bilic, continue to intensify – especially with the current Besiktas boss refusing to deny reports that he could be sitting in the hotseat at Upton Park next season.

Whether that switch materialises or not remains to be seen, but as far as this fixture goes, it should be a guaranteed three points for City against a West Ham side clinging onto a top 10 position by their fingernails. The market agrees, and City’s best price for a victory is 3/10, while by comparison a West Ham win can be had at 12/1 with a draw also on offer at 11/2. In fact, even City to score three or more goals is available at just 2/1, with the bookies expecting a mauling from Pellegrini’s side.

City’s star forward and the league’s joint top scorer, Aguero, is 8/11 to score anytime, 3/1 to score first or 14/1 to bag a hat-trick, while West Ham’s best chance of scoring lies with Diafra Sakho, who is priced at 7/2 to score at any point in the game.