Man City treble looks terrific after tasting Capital One Cup glory
Manchester City took the smallest of four steps required to claim a historic quadruple when they came from behind against Sunderland to win the Capital One Cup on Wembley’s hallowed turf.
Coral offer odds of 175/1 on City adding the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League crowns to that silverware. The possibility is remote then, and such a gamble would border on the foolish side of brave as you will see below, but backing a domestic treble is much more tempting at 3/1.
Their previous visit to the home of football ended in heartbreak last season as Wigan Athletic performed an FA Cup giant-killing. Ghosts of that day have been dispelled now, however, and can be finally laid to rest in City’s next outing as they host the Latics in this term’s quarter-finals.
A repeat of that upset looks highly unlikely. City are heavily odds-on at 1/16 to qualify for the final four, and make another trip to Wembley, from their next tie.
Holders Wigan, managed by former Maine Road favourite Uwe Rosler, are 9/1 outsiders to keep their cup run going. City are also odds-on at 4/5 to complete a domestic cup double.
Thereafter, Manuel Pellegrini faces his toughest task in trying to overturn a Champions League deficit of two away goals against Barcelona in the Nou Camp.
City’s Chilean coach has a 13 per cent winning record (or three from 23) against Barca, but two of his victories at Villarreal came by a scoreline that would be enough to send his current club through.
Pellegrini holds a single win as a visiting boss to Barcelona, however, and a repeat of the 2-1 result his Yellow Submarine managed in 2008 would not be enough to keep City in Europe.
Since the current Champions League format was adopted, no side has gone to the Nou Camp and overturned the margin which the Catalan giants enjoy.
Barca’s rare losses in continental competitions of recent years have been narrow ones. Coral are thus sanguine about City chances, and so should punters. Pellegrini’s team are 5/1 for a win in the Nou Camp, 10/1 to qualify for the Champions League quarters and 50/1 outsiders to lift the European Cup.
It is this aspect of the quadruple which frankly looks beyond City. The treble, however, remains a distinct possibility.
As they didn’t play in the Premier League because of Capital One Cup commitments, City slipped to fourth place, but have two games in hand on Arsenal (now 20/1 outsiders for the title), Liverpool (11/2) and leaders Chelsea (5/4).
Win those and, because they already possess the best goal difference in the top-flight, Pellegrini will be sitting pretty at the summit.
But these points are not yet on the board, that is why his side are 13/10 second-favourites to be Premier League champions. City’s title tilt will be shaped most by their four fixtures before Easter.
Away trips to neighbours Manchester United and Arsenal come before a home game with Southampton and an encounter with Liverpool at Anfield. Matches where City host Aston Villa and Sunderland at the Etihad are yet to have rearranged dates confirmed.
Punters’ best bet is back Pellegrini to produce the treble, so take 3/1 now.