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Rupert Wyman 10th Apr 2010 - 15:57

Goals galore at Eastlands

Manchester City will be a step closer to Champions League football next season if they beat Birmingham City.

Birmingham have surpassed many critics' expectations this season, they are safe from relegation, sitting in mid-table and their players can look forward to relaxing on the beach this summer.

Last week, I suggested before Burnley against Man City that an interesting market was the Total Goals market Over 3 at 19/10.

For Man City at home to Birmingham the same market is priced at 11/4. I would consider backing it again, Man City have an abundance of fit world class strikers playing for their futures. They have Santa Cruz, Adebayor, Tevez and Bellamy available while Robinho is plying his trade in Brazil on loan at Santos.

McLeish's side have enjoyed a superb first campaign back in the Premier League limelight but of late they have suffered five defeats in their last six games on the road.

Despite their current away form, confidence at Birmingham should be high after successive home draws against Arsenal and Liverpool.

The Blues came back to equalise in both of those matches. Man City have lost just once at home in the league this season and that was to a rejuvenated Everton side, who are looking at sneaking into the Europa League.

Unless Man City beat Wigan, they could well join them in Europe's secondary cup competition. Liverpool, Villa and Tottenham are all vying for fourth position in the league and any points lost could prove clinical at this stage of the season.

Birmingham have been hampered tomorrow by the loss of their first team goalkeeper Joe Hart, who has been arguably their player of the season. His form has been immense and he is being touted as a possible starter for England during their World Cup campaign.

He will be heading back to his parent club Manchester City at the end of the season but McLeish wants him back at Birmingham long term.

Sylvinho is a doubt for Man City, while Zabaleta serves the final match of a ban otherwise both clubs have their first teams available.

I would back Man City -1 goals at 11/10, Mancini's side are in imperious form. Birmingham without Joe Hart could be vulnerable at the back because he is a commanding goalkeeper and Maik Taylor is short of first team football. Birmingham are poor away from home and I can't see any alternative to a home win.

I would also back Man City to score in both halves at 5/4, I doubt they will take the foot off the gas in the race for fourth position where goal difference could be crucial come the end of the season.

Birmingham City's form has been nothing but admirable this season under McLeish but I can't see them getting a result so late in the season with little at stake.



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