BILLY BUNTER

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Burton v Man City betting preview & tips

EFL Cup semi-final second leg
Sky Sports Football, 7.45pm Wednesday


Manchester City were utterly ruthless when dismantling Burton 9-0 in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final and they are unlikely to lose focus when facing the Brewers at the Pirelli Stadium.

One of the notable aspects of the first game at the Etihad was the exemplary attitude of the Burton players, who did their utmost to keep the score down.

For the most part they kept up their energy levels and retained their defensive shape but they were simply blown away by the quality and intensity of the City stars.

After being invited to drink a glass of wine with Pep Guardiola after the match, Burton manager Nigel Clough said: "I hope he's got more than a glass." But his Sky Bet League One team deserve nothing but credit for their achievement in reaching the last four and for their attitude in Manchester.

He might have hoped to face a significantly weaker City side in the return match but that seems unlikely because the contest takes place 24 hours after Manchester City's Under 21s' EFL Trophy quarter-final against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Guardiola may have to use more of his senior squad than he wanted - and makes it impossible for him to select anything other than a strong side.

Once the players cross the white line it will be all about attitude and it is hard to imagine a Guardiola team taking their foot off the pedal.

Burton's aims will be broadly similar to the first leg with the primary focus on keeping the score down and not doing much more damage to their fragile morale.

They are 13th in their division but are just six points above the drop zone and will be aware of the importance of Saturday's home match against second-bottom Bradford.

There might be a temptation for Clough to rest a few first-choice players but the risks of another heavy defeat are obvious.

Burton supporters hope to at least celebrate scoring a goal against the Premier League champions but even that dream may be dashed.

City have faced three lower-league teams – Oxford away, Rotherham at home and Burton at home - in domestic cups this season and chalked up three clean sheets.

In those matches City have conceded just two shots on target and a slippage of standards seems unlikely with players eager to press their case for inclusion in the bigger games coming up.

Burton, who may have gone into the first leg with fanciful notions of pulling off a massive upset, are now even more likely to treat the match as a damage-limitation exercise.

They may not suffer to the same extent this time but City should cruise to victory and clock up a fifth successive clean sheet.

Recommendation
Manchester City to win to nil

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Match in Focus

12:30 TODAY SKY

Man City v Tottenham

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Man City have lost only once at home in the Premier League this season.
Expert verdict
Following their Champions League humdinger, Manchester City and Tottenham reconvene in the Premier League and the game is unlikely to be anywhere near as pulsating. With City not needing to press for early goals, they can play their usual free-flowing game and make it seven wins in nine matches against top-six opposition this season. Only one of those eight meetings so far have featured over 4.5 goals and punters should expect a narrow win for Pep Guardiola's side.