Manchester City put an end to Everton’s unbeaten start to the season by doling out a 3-1 beating at the Etihad. This result saw the Citizens close the gap between them and the top of the table to three points and Manuel Pellegrini’s side are now stand-alone favourites to reclaim the Premier League crown at 2/1 with Ladbrokes.
However, there are ample reasons to oppose the 2011/12 champions in what’s sure to be the most tightly contested title race in the competition’s history.
The first of these lies in their patchy away form.
A perfect season at home to date, where the club have chalked up four wins from four, is no doubt providing the foundation for their favouritism, but on the road they’re yet to pick up maximum points.
The past five eventual winners of the Premier League had at least three points racked up from their opening three away days at this stage, with the only side having failed to win was Manchester United in the 2010/11 campaign, in which they drew three on the spin.
Across these five seasons, only one side managed to win when hosting the eventual champions in the early exchanges, while two have already chalked up victories over City.
What makes the Citizens’ awful start on the road even worse is the fact that their three opponents – Cardiff, Stoke and Aston Villa – are not of an inferior ilk to their five fellow upper-echelon rivals. They’ve still got to play all of the big guns away from home, yet have only scored a solitary point against three forecast relegation battlers.
Furthermore, given the myriad of contenders at the fore, picking a winner at this early stage seems almost impossible, meaning punting on City at such short odds at this moment would be a risky move.
More consistent candidates like Chelsea would offer better value at this stage at 23/10 and, while many believe it’s only a question of time before the wheels come off for Arsenal, their 9/2 must also tempt given the solidity with which they’ve kicked off the campaign.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
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