Ibet: Barcelona’s Possession Game Can Lead To A Low Corner Count

Gareth Purnell

Oh  Ibet: Barcelona’s Possession Game Can Lead To A Low Corner CountChampions League: Barcelona V Manchester City, kick off 7.45pm, Sky Sports 1

Back under 10 corners in the game at 11/8 with Stan James

There’s something not quite right at Barcelona. Sure they won 2-0 at Manchester City in the first leg – no mean feat. And yes they have been pretty brilliant at home in La Liga – winning 12 of their 13 games and scoring 46 goals in the process. But there are certainly reasons to believe this is a team coming down from their great heights – or at the very least in transition.

For a start they are only third in La Liga, and their 1-0 defeat at fourth bottom Valladolid at the weekend was highly damaging to their prospects of winning the title. Barcelona are now four points behind Real Madrid, and a point behind Atletico, having played the same number of games. In fact they have only won four of their last nine La Liga games – they were also beaten by Real Sociedad (3-1) and Valencia (3-2) and drew with both Levante and Malaga. Neymar is a great signing, but he is still yet to really fit into the system. Having said that they are still pretty damn good at Camp Nou, where their only defeat came to Espanol in November. But it does all go to show that there are ways to beat them; and ways to stop them scoring. Of course Manchester City can’t play the defensive game here. They have to score two more than the Spanish, and there should therefore be goals. Even if City lose the first goal they will still go for it, although if they go two down the game could peter out. But there are good reasons thinking that Pellegrini’s men can score, as Barca have conceded in six of their last eight La Liga games.

None of those teams that breached the Barcelona rearguard has the firepower at Pellgrini’s disposal, and crucially he has Sergio Aguero available. Aguero is City’s top scorer in the Champions League with six goals, and he missed the first leg. Barcelona of course bossed possession in the first leg, as they always do. But City were definitely right in the game until Demichelis’ red card, and can count themselves a bit unlucky to be two goals down.

Barcelona are 4/7 to win the game, which given that they don’t have to, and taking into account their recent blips is too short. And they are also short at 1/50 on to qualify.

For a value bet we might want to look at corners. Because Barca are so good at the possession game they are often having to pick their way through defences rather than go wide. That often leads to a low number of corners. There were only five in the first leg, and odds of under 10 corners at 11/8 with Stan James looks decent value. Messi is predictably favourite to get the first goal at 5/2, and he’s 4/6 (Coral) to score at any time.

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