Pep Guardiola’s side have only won the first-half once in their last nine matches in all competitions.
Man City v Middlesbrough - Saturday 15:00
Man City recovered from their dip in form emphatically, thrashing the normally resolute West Brom by four goals and following it up with a highly impressive 3-1 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League. Sergio Aguero was irrepressible against the former with two well taken goals and an assist to his name, whilst Ilkay Gundogan scored a brace in both games and looks to be settling nicely in Manchester since returning from a knee injury last month.
Middlesbrough required a spectacular solo goal by Gaston Ramirez to open the scoring against Bournemouth in a tight first half, doubling the lead through Stewart Downing in the second half, though Alvaro Negredo looked woefully short of confidence when played through on goal. Overall it was a good team performance, and Aitor Karanka will be much more satisfied with his team than in recent weeks.
City have been excellent at home where they are unbeaten in their last 13 matches across all competitions, winning six out of eight at the Etihad this season. However, with little value in backing the Citizens outright we think the half-time/full-time market is more interesting. Guardiola’s side have only won the first-half once in their last nine matches (all competitions), whilst Middlesbrough have drawn the first period in 10 of their last 12 away league fixtures, and in three of their last four in the Premier League. Furthermore, The Citizens tend to start slowly after their mid-week European excursions, only winning the opening 45 minutes in five of 16 such matches since the start of last season. As he did at the Emirates, Karanka will set his side up to be difficult to break down, and so we think the value lies in backing draw/Man City (HT/FT) at 4.6.