Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Such words were written by William Shakespeare several centuries ago, although they are also an apt description of the way Manchester City play their football, with Pep Guardiola’s side shortest in the odds to win the 2018/19 Premier League title.
It’s impossible to say, but you get the feeling that the Spaniard was happy enough to draw Arsenal as his team’s opening game opponents and a 2-0 victory at the Emirates was the perfect tester to see where his team were placed going into the new campaign.
Despite a squad dripping with quality and a previous title victory by twenty points, there’s always an element of uncertainty regarding a team’s ability to retain the title, something that can be seen in recent years where the previous season’s champions have nearly-always let their crown slip.
City Win Looks Likely
This looks unlikely with City whose slick well-oiled machine rolled out of north London with three points in the bag thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva. The latter seems to be the apple of his manager’s eye at the moment, while Benjamin Mendy’s performance at left-back indicated that the team effectively have a new signing this season considering the World Cup winner spent most of the last campaign on the sidelines.
Saturday’s clash against Huddersfield looks like a mismatch of sorts. Perhaps these type of matches shouldn’t be allowed in the same way that you wouldn’t have a heavyweight boxer squaring up to a featherweight which is effectively the same as allowing the Terriers to take to the pitch against City.
Even so, David Wagner is cementing his reputation as an effective coach and he deserves enormous credit for keeping Town in the Premier League last season literally against the odds. The best bookmakers had Huddersfield at odds-on for the drop before a flying start saw plenty of points in the bank before a difficult winter which left the Yorkshire club scrapping away in the New Year.
This season represents an even more difficult challenge considering that the lacklustre trio of Stoke, West Brom and Swansea have been replaced by Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham. Finishing above these teams looks like a taller order and there aren’t many other sides that could get scrapped into a dogfight.
A Draw Would Suit Huddersfield
Wagner will look for damage limitation in this game. City can’t realistically be contained for ninety minutes and the visitors will have to show some scoring ambition without risking the prospect of the home side carving through them like a hot knife through butter.
Steve Mounie came close to scoring an equaliser against Chelsea last week although it was a typical tale of woe in defence against a top six team, with the Blues coming out as facile 3-0 winners in the end, with Jonathan Hogg and Phillip Billing likely to have their hands even fuller in midfield for this encounter.
When it comes to betting on this sort of mismatch, we always look towards the correct score market for some interest, with City focused on bagging as many goals as possible considering that goal difference could be a realistically decisive factor in a title race against Liverpool. Karamba have a 2-0 Man City win at 23/4.
Don’t be surprised to see Sergio Aguero getting a first hat-trick of the season providing he starts the game ahead of Gabriel Jesus, although that man Kevin de Bruyne should be back in the midfield to orchestrate affairs.