Weblog: The football punter

Manchester City v Wolves betting preview

Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event, 8pm Monday

Premier League champions Manchester City saw title favourites Liverpool grind out a 1-0 victory at Brighton on Saturday and they may need to do something similar when Wolves visit the Etihad.

City are long odds-on to reduce Liverpool's lead to four points, although it may not be as simple as those prohibitive prices suggest despite Pep Guardiola's side hitting their attacking groove and scoring 16 goals in their two cup matches against Rotherham and Burton.

Wolves have consistently shown they are capable of making life tricky for England's elite, becoming a bogey side for all of the big six, and while this away game at City is arguably the toughest assignment in world football, Nuno's side can stay competitive.

A City win with under 3.5 goals looks to be a decent bet, particularly as the champions have scored no more than twice in five of their last seven top-flight contests.

Rotherham had seven put past them in the FA Cup and Burton nine in the League Cup semi-final first leg, but Wolves have the ability to make life much more difficult for them and as Guardiola said: "They defend well and deep and control many areas."

Those are the characteristics of a team who can - and have - cause City problems as Wolves held them to a 1-1 draw in August.

Since then Wanderers have also drawn at Manchester United and Arsenal, trumped Tottenham at Wembley and beaten Chelsea and Liverpool at Molineux.

The Reds fielded a weakened side in last week's FA Cup tie, but they were not exactly a bunch of no-hopers and Wolves arguably did not get the credit their performance deserved.

Wolves have conceded more than twice just once in a Premier League game this season - an unfortunate 3-2 defeat to Spurs - and they are likely to stay disciplined in their 3-4-1-2 formation even if City hit the front.

At some stage City should do just that, having won 15 of their 17 matches at the Etihad this season.

Kevin De Bruyne has returned from injury and Guardiola's squad is beginning to look healthy once more following the untimely absences of the Belgian as well as Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy.

The marauding Mendy remains sidelined, although even without the left-back, excellent width is provided by Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane with De Bruyne, David Silva and Bernardo Silva supplying the through balls.

Defending against City is a difficult task as they have so much movement and complicated runs in behind triggered by short, swift passing that invites opponents (usually erroneously) to believe there is an opportunity to nick the ball back.

However, Wolves are savvy enough to stay in shape and keep the margin of defeat respectable.

Manchester City to win & under 3.5 goals

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Match in Focus

01:30 We 19Jun PREM

Brazil v Venezuela

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
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Expert verdict
Brazil are short-priced favourites to win the Copa America for a ninth time and topping Group A should be a formality for them based on the quality of opposition. Even without Neymar, Brazil have enough strength in depth to be a constant threat in attack, which was evident in their opening game against Bolivia with Philippe Coutinho bagging a brace in a routine 3-0 win.