City too slick for the Old Lady
Manchester City, as their rivals from Old Trafford often remind them, have won nothing of note for over thirty years. Not since Dennis Tueart scored the winner in the 1976 League Cup final win over Newcastle have the City fans experienced the joy of seeing their team lift a trophy.
Since that day no fewer than 23 managers have tried and failed to bring major silverware to Manchester's 'other' club including Malcolm Allison, Kevin Keegan and Sven Goran Eriksson. The closest they have come to success in that time has been the 1981 FA Cup defeat to Spurs, a game best remembered for a superb Ricky Villa goal in extra time to end the Blues' dreams.
The latest man charged with ending the trophy drought is Roberto Mancini. Luckily for the Italian he has more money than all of his predecessors, barring Mark Hughes, to attempt to mould a team capable of challenging in both League and Cup competitions.
Since the takeover of the club by Sheik Mansour they have been by the far biggest spenders in world football building a team mixed with English internationals such as James Milner and Gareth Barry with big name foreign buys such as David Silva.
The Italian manager was under a little pressure after a steady but unspectacular start to the season. Their win over Chelsea on Saturday eased that a little and is sure to have bought him more time. However, such is the expectation at the City of Manchester Stadium that William Hill still rate him as third favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave at 6/1.
It's a measure of how far City have come since the takeover of the club that they go into a match with Italian giants Juventus as favourites. They are 8/11 to win the match. They already have three points to their name in the group stages after winning away 2-0 in game week one against Red Bull Salzburg.
This is the sort of glamour tie that they will hope will become common place over the next few years, hopefully in the more prestigious Champions League.
Whilst it may be too soon for them to mount a sustained title challenge there is no reason to believe that they cannot go on to win at least one cup competition given the strength and depth of their squad. The Europa Cup offers a great chance for Mancini to win over the board and fans by delivering that trophy and we make them 9/2 favourites to do just. As part of our Match Winner special you back them on the day of the Juventus game at a special price of 6/1 to go on to win the competition.
Similar to all Europa League games involving English teams it's difficult to know what sort of side the managers will put out but I fully expect any team that Mancini goes with to be full of quality and they should have too much for their visitors. Confidence in the City camp will be high following their win over Chelsea and I expect another home win in this one, I would go for City to win 2-0 at odds of 15/2.
Juventus, like City, probably see their long term future in the Champions League rather than the Europa competition but have been left behind somewhat in recent years by the likes of Inter Milan. They are slowly returning to their former glories after spending a year in Serie B in the 2006-07 season when they were relegated over allegations of corruption.
The Old Lady of Italian football has won this competition three times in her history and will be a force to be reckoned with if returning to anything like their previous best. They are currently 12/1 third favourites to get a fourth Europa League success.
Their Serie A form this season has been mixed with only two wins from their five league games and judging this game on current form rather than history means there is only one bet to make in the 90 minute market - back Manchester City (4/6).
The standout bets for me would be Man City/Man City in the double result market at 15/8 and City to win by two goals or more on handicap market at 2/1.
In the correct score market I would cover 2-0 (15/2), 3-0 (14/1) and 4-0 (28/1).
The game is live at 19:45 on Thursday on Channel Five.