Manchester City will look to keep their fading Champions League dream alive when they welcome Ajax to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night. City have made a dreadful start to life in Group D as they have taken just one point from their opening three games and this fixture with Ajax is a 'must win' as the pressure begins to mount on Roberto Mancini.
The Italian manager has admitted that he flirted with the idea of taking over at Monaco before winning the Premier League last season and that is unlikely to have endeared him to the City faithful after a sticky start to the season. City do start as 2/5 odds on favourites with Ladbrokes this week and only a win will do.
City find themselves in a tough predicament in Group D after they fell to a humiliating 3-1 defeat to Ajax in Amsterdam two weeks ago. Ajax are 13/2 to cause another upset and 7/2 to draw but City's fine home record makes them worthy favourites as they bid to avoid elimination from the group stages for a second successive season.
Mancini's men have struggled to get to grips with European football but they are unbeaten in their last 18 European home games and they have lost only one of their last 35 on home soil. That record ensures they demand respect in this Man City v Ajax clash and they could be worth a look to win in the handicap market where they are 11/10 to win with a -1 goal deficit.
Scoring goals has been the biggest issue for the reigning Premier League champions as Carlos Tevez has scored just one in his last 10 and he is 7/2 joint-favourite to score first on Tuesday with Sergio Aguero, who has scored just two goals all season. Edin Dzeko is 4/1 after scoring six this term, while Mario Balotelli (4/1) is unlikely to start after his dismal showing in the 0-0 draw at West Ham on Saturday.
The draw with West Ham ensured that City remain the only unbeaten team in the English top flight but their misfiring forwards look tough to back on current form and for a touch more value it could be worth backing Yaya Toure. The giant midfielder is a man for the big occasion and he can be backed at 7/1 to get the first goal.
City, who are likely to be without the injured Maicon, Micah Richards, James Milner, Joleon Lescott, David Silva and Jack Rodwell, can get back on the goal trail against an Ajax defence that are prone to defensive errors. The Dutch side have kept one clean sheet in nine and they are yet to keep a clean sheet away from home this season.
Ladbrokes bookmakers offer 2/1 for the Man City win and both teams to score combined and Ajax can get on the scoresheet at least. Christian Eriksen is 5/1 to score anytime and that looks very decent value after the Danish playmaker destroyed City in Ajax's 3-1 win two weeks ago.
However, Ajax go into the game on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Vitesse, a result that leaves them in fifth place in the Dutch Eredivisie, and they could struggle to repeat their heroics against City at the Etihad. They look suspect at the back and City can grab a valuable three points to ease the pressure on Mancini and keep their Champions League dream going for one more week at least.
Man City v Ajax Form
Check the season's statistics for both Man City and Ajax, plus the odds ahead of Tuesday's match.
Man City v Ajax Tips
Tip #1: Man City win and both teams to score @ 2/1 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #2: Yaya Toure to score first @ 7/1 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #3: Christian Eriksen to score anytime @ 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
2/5 Man City
Correct Score Odds
8/1 Man City 1-0
13/2 Man City 2-0
15/2 Man City 2-1
16/1 Draw 0-0
10/1 Draw 1-1
18/1 Draw 2-2
20/1 Ajax 1-0
33/1 Ajax 2-0
18/1 Ajax 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
7/2 Sergio Aguero
7/2 Carlos Tevez
4/1 Edin Dzeko
4/1 Mario Balotelli
7/1 Yaya Toure
8/1 Samir Nasri
10/1 Scott Sinclair
10/1 Siem De Jong
12/1 Miralem Sulejmani
12/1 Aleksandar Kolarov
12/1 Tobias Sana
12/1 Ryan Babel
Odds supplied by Ladbrokes.com, who offer live betting in-running for all Champions League matches.
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