League leaders Manchester City have stuttered of late, suffering defeat at the hands of Sunderland, arch rivals Manchester United, and Liverpool.
Somewhat fortunately for the Citizens, two of these three defeats came in cup competition, meaning they remain atop the Premier League, albeit on goal difference ahead of their game in hand against Wigan.
City’s assistant manager David Platt has confirmed that playmaker David Silva should shake off an ankle knock to re-inject the invention back into City’s midfield, and the schemer is 5/1 to hit the first goal in the match.
The Spanish maestro was sorely missed in City’s last two games, and should appear in place of Mario Balotelli, who picked up an injury in the League Cup defeat to Liverpool.
City haven’t conceded in the past four meetings between the sides, and even in the absence of suspended captain Vincent Kompany, punters could do worse than to back the Eastlands club to keep a clean sheet tonight at 11/10.
5/4 is the price attributed to Manchester City winning the game without conceding, and although their backline has looked more vulnerable without Belgian Kompany, stand-in skipper Micah Richards could move to centre half to shore up the team’s foundation.
Top scorer Sergio Aguero is 3/1 favourite to pop up with a 15th of the campaign to open the scoring, but with games coming thick and fast at this stage of the season, the Argentinian may be rested by Mancini.
Bearing that in mind, Edin Dzeko, used more sparingly in recent weeks, could be a good proposition to score first at 7/2, with all losing first goalscorer bets refunded by Ladbrokes should Adam Johnson hit the net at any time.
The home side will be missing Mohamed Diame, who is away on international duty, with Hendry Thomas expected to deputise.
Albert Crusat could also return for Wigan, but is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.