After failing to win for the fifth time in their last eight outings when going down 2-1 at Barcelona, Manchester City can’t be backed with any confidence at 1/2 to win at Hull, making the Tigers a must bet at 8/5 to avoid defeat in the double-chance market and decent 11/2 pokes for victory.
A 2-1 loss at the Nou Camp in the last 16 of the Champions League is nothing to be ashamed of, but going out of the FA Cup against Championship Wigan at the Etihad certainly is and that 1-0 reverse can hardly be classed as an outlier.
It took Manuel Pellegrini’s side 70 minutes break the resistance of Stoke, who hold the joint-second worst away record in the Premier League this term with seven points, at home in their last top-flight outing and they couldn’t find a way past 15th-placed Norwich at Carrow Road in their last away fixture in the division.
Hull have been far from imperious themselves of late and took a fair walloping from Newcastle at the KC Stadium recently, although midfielder David Meyler didn’t come off too badly from Alan Pardew’s ‘South London Kiss’, but that was only their third defeat in the last 10 games, of which they have won five.
New strikeforce Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic have bagged five goals between them for the Tigers since landing on Humberside in January and City are likely to plump for either Martin Demichelis or Joleon Lescott next to Vincent Kompany at centre-half, with Matija Nastasic still struggling with a knee complaint.
Republic of Ireland forward Long may be no Lionel Messi, but he does have enough tricks up his sleeve to humble the best defences around, as he showed when rising above all of Chelsea’s first-choice backs to nod home an equaliser for his old club West Brom in their 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.
Lescott and Demichelis have looked shaky at the best of times this season and after the schoolings handed out to each of them by Messi over the past couple of weeks, confidence in City’s defence will be in short supply in Yorkshire.
Jelavic has outscored his new teammate by the odd goal since leaving Everton and is 9/1 to break the deadlock by notching his fourth for the club here.
However, both of Long’s Tigers strikes have been openers and he fired first for Ireland against Serbia in his last appearance for club or country, so backing the Tipperary man to repeat the trick at the same 9/1 odds looks the way to play.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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