Sterling gets early chance to shine as Man City open campaign

As the only major outlay of Manchester City’s transfer window so far, a lot rests with Raheem Sterling as the club look to overhaul the gap between them and Chelsea from last season’s Premier League table.

It is perhaps unfair to suggest the Citizens’ entire title challenge rests squarely on the England international’s diminutive frame, but it will be intriguing to see how the £49m man shoulders not just his hefty price tag, but the increased pressure of playing for a silverware contender.

Sterling is expected to make his competitive City debut against West Brom on Monday Night Football and with Sergio Aguero and David Silva both expected to be available after overcoming viruses, the former Liverpool forward’s early burden will look to be shared.

Judging the two sides on their form from last season’s run in, then City should arguably be far shorter than the 4/6 Ladbrokes currently offer on Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

The Etihad outfit ended last term with a run of six straight wins, scoring their opening goal inside the first 31 minutes in each of those games, while West Brom stuttered somewhat to finish line in winning three of their final half dozen league outings.

9/2 can be backed for a shock home win to complete the top-flight’s opening round of games, while the draw is available at 11/4.

For those looking for a price boost on the fixture, the bookmaker has stretched their price on Man City winning in a game where both teams score from 11/5 to 11/4.

Aguero is the favourite to open the scoring, at 10/3, with Wilfried Bony just behind the Argentine at 4/1 and Sterling third in the market at odds of 11/2.

The Citizens have done the double over the Baggies in each of the last two seasons. They have scored exactly three goals in all four of those games and it’s 2/1 that the visitors score over 2.5 on their latest trip to the Hawthorns.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.