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Stuart Dalgleish 21st Nov 2011 - 18:34

City to qualify in style

Napoli v Manchester City preview - Tuesday 19:45 live on Sky Sports 2

27 September 2011, around 21:00 in the evening and the pundits were all of the opinion that Manchester City's season could be crumbling around them.

That was the now infamous night that Carlos Tevez decided that he didn't want to help his employers who pay him such vast amounts of money each week, and remained motionless on the Munich bench instead of answering his manager's call to come on and help get his team out of a hole.

City lost that game 2-0, and after a first round draw they were odds-on to not make it through the group.

Since that night, they have become the odds-on favourites to win the league (4/6) and are well fancied to have a crack at Europe's premier competition too (8/1 for the outright).

The Citizens have become ruthless over the last two months, having won nine straight games with several of those in convincing fashion too, the squad all seem united (although their fans won't like that choice of word!) and Tevez is looking rather foolish now.

If they notch up their 10th win (11/10) in a row at Napoli (5/2, draw 23/10) they'll qualify for the knockout stages.

You would have to say, with the respective teams form, it's a very good bet that Roberto Mancini's men will get the job done.

And what would be rather poignant for the Italian is that it will be at the ground where he has one of his finest playing memories; as a Sampdoria player he hit a sensational volley at the San Paolo to help his team win 4-1 en route to them claiming the title.

That Mancini goal came when Napoli were at their peak, and for a short while this season they were looking like getting back to somewhere near that sort of form, but recent results have seen them drop out of the Champions League places.

The Azzurri have won just one of their last five league games and were disappointing in drawing with Lazio at the weekend, it could well be a long time before they are dining at Europe's top table again if this form continues.

They will at least be guaranteed Europa League football in the New Year if the night's results go as planned, but after the start they had in this competition that will come as a poor consolation prize.

You just cannot see City losing at the minute, and with their big wins of late I'd be looking at the handicap markets for this one.

City -1 goal is 13/5 and a real tempter, and if you think that the red half of Manchester will be comfortable too you can back both teams to win by 2 or more goals at a really cracking price of 8/1 in our special Match Winner offer.

Maverick striker Mario Balotelli (6/1 first goal) is back in favour with Mancini, and the anytime goal wincast price of 14/5 looks a cracking bet with his current form.



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