Middlesbrough - Manchester City

December was surely the worst betting month in my life. The fact it was a failure for 99% of punters doesn't make me feel better. However, I hope new year should return my record in green. Here is the first analyze for today. Before the 4pm kick-off will probably write few more words about the rest. Stay tuned.


Gordon Strachan was appointed to secure promotion to Premier. Boro have talented team, considering players’ potential, they should be in play-off zone at least. Strachan has specific training methods, in previous clubs (Coventry, Southampton and Celtic) he noticed first win after 4-5 games. Fine. In Boro first win came in fifth game and in big style, QPR were trashed 5-1 on the road. But, instead a start of good run, Riverside was froze by Blackpool 0-3. So, after 10 games under new boss Middlesbrough lie at 11th position with shameful record of two wins, same draws and six defeats! For this game they will be without a number of important players. Key strikers Leroy Lita is suspended, Dave Kitson returned to Stoke and Jeremie Aliadiere is in a doubt with an ankle injury. Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne is ineligible, key defender Emanuel Pogatetz is out, while David Weather (defense), Adam Johnson (midfield) and Chris Riggot (defense) are doubtful. Defense will also be weakened than usual for Sean St Ledger who returned to his parent club – Preston.


Mancini has made a perfect start in City. Two wins from two games and two clean sheets. He has been talking seriously about Cup competition, the least he wants is early upset, Hughes was fielding strong squads and I believe Mancini will keep that manner. But, he also has injury problems. Wright-Phillips is major concern with his ankle problem, Stephen Ireland is definitely out, while Craig Bellamy is doubtful. Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor are at the African Cup of Nations. But the fact is City have a huge number of quality players and whoever will start the game will have a motive to put a good display. To prove himself to the new boss or to advertise before a transfer market, doesn’t matter.


My major concern wasn’t teams’ quality. Weather is cold, but it’s the same for both sides. Pitch is in good condition, won’t limit City’s pass play. I was thinking a lot about their seven draws in a row. In every case you could put an own house on City. This game also looks obvious. However, Mancini’s era has just started in great style and I don’t believe they’ll allow an early shock. Odd for Boro's win is based on mutual history that favors Boro, their 8-1 win from May 2008 and definitely has a value. I choose away win and handicap as a gamble.


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