What a mouth-watering clash we have in store for us come Saturday as Man City and Wolves meet in the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy. Both teams were fairly ruthless in their semi-final victories, with Man City getting the better of a strong West Ham side 4-1 and Wolves absolutely steamrolling a woeful Newcastle United 4-1. As much as we love seeing goals, I’ll be hoping for a closer and more exciting match when these two meet. If you are looking at the performances of both their opponents, it’s really tough to gauge how impressive both victories are.
Man City started with a very young team, with flickers of experience around the pitch such as David Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Claudio Bravo and were given an early scare as Mark Noble’s penalty put West Ham ahead. However, the Citizens were quickly back in the match with a quick fire double to lead going into the interval. From the interval, following Pep Guardiola’s substitutions, it was very clear to see how his intent. The Spaniard brought on Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane as he looked to ultimately kill the match off. Two second half goals from Raheem Sterling were to follow and 4-1 almost flattered West Ham in the end as City’s dominance was clear to see.
Wolves were very impressive in their semi-final as they brushed aside a poor Newcastle side, they looked fluid and really raring to go for the new season. Their season will be starting a lot earlier than most Premier League sides as they have a Europa League Qualifying campaign to get through prior to the season. Nuno Esporito Santo would have been very happy with how his side dispatched Newcastle and he’ll be hoping his fluid side will cause City some problems on Saturday.
As I said, Man City started their semi with a very youthful side and following Pep’s mentality, he’s likely to keep it fairly similar for this match. However, I’d expect some of the bigger names to feature from the outset in the final. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling could start and that coupled up with the youthful talents of Lucas Nmecha Angelino and Bernabe should prove for a great line-up. Marquee summer signing Rodri started the semi-final and the former Atletico Madrid man is expected to start again as he looks to settled into life at the Citizens. The outcome of this tie heavily depends on what sort of line-up Pep goes with. Their odds jumped from 1.36 to 1.90 following the announcement of his squad against West Ham and I’d expect the same to happen on Saturday.
Wolves were nearly at full strength against Newcastle, with only key players such as Matt Doherty & Raul Jimenez missing. Neither have travelled with the squad, with the Irishman still fighting for full fitness and the Mexican only recently finishing the Gold Cup with his national side. With his usual brand of consistency, you’d expect Nuno to play a similar starting XI to the semi-final and once again go with Morgan Gibbs-White as the striker with Diogo Jota sitting behind him. Their 3-5-1-1 formation has certainly got them some plaudits over the last twelve months and their style of football certainly compliments that.
Looking at the semi-finals and last season, you’ve really got to be looking at goals in this match. With Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.57 & BTTS @ 1.72, this is where the value stands, both teams are great in front of goals and the nature of a pre-season match, I’d expect some tired defences.
The odds on a Man City victory seem very low to be at 1.16 and I’d be expecting Wolves to put up much more of a fight that that. You can get Wolves Double Chance @ 2.70, this as an outside bet looks like a cracker to me. If you’re looking for a goalscorer bet, you’ve got to be looking at Raheem Sterling Anytime @ 1.83. If you’re looking for a bit more value, I love the look of brace scoring Portuguese international Diogo Jota, he looked sharp and full of energy against Newcastle and @ 3.60, that shows a lot of value.