Negredo to score first with Cardiff and net Man City’s 100th goal of season
Manchester City’s 5-0 romp over Blackburn has already taken them to 99 goals for the season and it will take a brave punter to back against them breaching the 100-goal milestone in their next Premier League game at home to Cardiff.
For those interested, the odds on Cardiff keeping a clean sheet at the Etihad are 16/1 and punters have to look back to January 2012 to find the last instance of Man City drawing a blank at home, when a Steven Gerrard penalty secured Liverpool a 1-0 League Cup success.
The big question, therefore, is whether Man City’s 100th goal of the campaign will be the opener against Cardiff, or whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men can follow the likes of Everton and Liverpool by striking first at the Etihad?
Considering that Cardiff have only netted a single goal across their last six away league games and that was a second-half consolation against Liverpool, it is hard to foresee Man City not breaking the deadlock.
Strikers have been responsible for all of the milestone Man City goals so far this season, with Sergio Aguero netting the 25th in the October victory over Everton and the 50th in the 6-0 thumping of Tottenham.
Edin Dzeko then got in on the act with the 75th in the December League Cup success at Leicester and for this reason, it may pay to keep it simple and back either Aguero, Dzeko or Alvaro Negredo to open the scoring against Cardiff.
Aguero has scored the first Man City goal in nine games this season, which is more than any of his fellow squad members and he is 3/1 to score first.
The Argentine also scored 49 seconds after being brought on as a substitute in the victory over Blackburn, showing no ill effects from the calf injury that had forced him to miss a month of action.
However, Manuel Pellegrini may decide that 18 minutes against Blackburn is not enough to throw him straight back into the starting line-up for the Cardiff game and so his price may be best opposed.
This is especially true given that Man City face West Ham in the League Cup after Cardiff and this would be a better fixture to start Aguero, with the tie already won.
Therefore, it is Negredo that looks the striker most likely to open the scoring and he can also be backed at 3/1.
Not only has Negredo scored 17 goals in his last 13 appearances at the Etihad, he has been on target in all of Man City’s last four games, which includes the team’s first goal on three occasions.
Alternatively, Dzeko can be backed at 7/2, but the danger with backing the Bosnian is that he has started all of Man City’s last six games and so if anyone is to be dropped to accommodate a possible return for Aguero, then it is him.