Manchester City and Southampton will meet in an intriguing clash of styles in the Carabao Cup with the winner moving on to the quarter-finals.
Manchester City (1/8)
City just never seem to know when to stop raising the bar. In the Premier League they’re really pushing Liverpool all the way, making it be known that Pep Guardiola still has his heart set on forging a legacy both for himself and the club. Whether or not they can sustain that kind of forward-thinking momentum is a different matter, though, because they’re having to defend their title in three different competitions whilst also going after the Champions League trophy.
In their last six games Manchester City have only lost once, with that defeat coming at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Aside from that they’ve done a really great job of tidying up their playing style, winning five of their last six via two goals or more. They beat Aston Villa, Atalanta and Crystal Palace, with the older results being two huge wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Everton.
Southampton seemed as if they could be a club that doesn’t struggle with the relegation battle this season, but if anything, it’s the opposite that is true. They continue to possess this lethargic playing style that is showing no signs of budging which, in itself, is a really concerning thing. If they can string a few wins together in this competition then turning things around won’t be all too much of a challenge, but that logic fails upon realising that it’s Manchester City they have to play.
Southampton’s only win in their last six games was a 4-0 battering of bitter rivals Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup that helped to get them to this point. They also grabbed a surprise 1-1 draw with Wolves, and fought hard in defeats against Chelsea, Tottenham & Bournemouth (with the latter hurting the most). In their last outing, they were well and truly humbled in a 9-0 loss to Leicester.
Southampton would have to summon one of the great League Cup upsets in order to win and progress into the final eight, and we just can’t imagine a scenario in which that happens. Even if City play a weakened side, which is a strong possibility, they should make their way through fairly comfortably. We think there’s a chance the Saints will also be able to get on the scoresheet but even if they do, it almost certainly won’t be anything other than a consolation for the visitors at the Etihad.
We think this one will hit the over 2.5 goal threshold with relative ease, as City continue to assert their dominance on English football and continue to roll towards Wembley.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 1/8 and the over 2.5 goals scored at odds of 1/3. (All odds are taken from bet365).