City can see off Everton and cement position as title favourites

MANCHESTER City were the main beneficiaries of Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Liverpool last Sunday that saw the Reds drift from as short as 1/6 for the title all the way out to 11/8 with Star Sports.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men kept their nerve to beat in-form Crystal Palace 2-0 away to shorten from 5/1 into 5/6 favourites and they now know that three wins from their last three games should be enough to regain the league crown.

Recently it looked certain Steven Gerrard would lead his side to their first league title since 1990, but his unfortunate slip that let in Chelsea’s Demba Ba for the opener last week could become the defining moment of the campaign.

City have one major obstacle left and that comes tomorrow afternoon when they face a potentially tricky tie against Everton at Goodison Park.

A few weeks ago the Toffees were tearing the place up as they mustered a strong challenge for a top-four spot, but their effort has petered out in recent weeks and, with Arsenal all but guaranteed that last Champions League spot, Roberto Martinez’s men have little to play for after a long season. Yaya Toure was the difference for City at Palace and his return from injury has been a massive boost at this crucial stage. He can inspire his team-mates to take all three points and reverse a recent run of form against Everton that has seen tomorrow’s hosts win nine of the last 13 league meetings between the pair.

Home fans would love to see their local rivals Liverpool pipped to the title and surely wouldn’t be too disappointed with just a second home defeat of the season after a campaign full of promise. The 4/5 with Star Sports for an away win looks fair.

Everton taking points off City would give Liverpool a massive boost but they are unlikely to have things all their own way at Selhurst Park on Monday night.

Tony Pulis has done an amazing job with Palace and it would be little surprise to me if they took at least a point from their clash with the Reds and effectively ended Brendan Rodgers’ title hopes.

The Eagles look big at 9/4 with a +1 Asian handicap considering they’ve lost only three of 11 home games by a two-goal margin since Pulis was appointed in November, keeping six clean sheets along the way. They have struggled for goals, though, hitting only 15 on home turf, and selling total goals at 3.1 with Sporting Index looks the way to go.

■ Pointers…
Manchester City at 4/5 with Star Sports
Crystal Palace with a +1 Asian handicap at 9/4 with bet365.
Sell total goals (Palace v Liverpool) at 3.1 with Sporting Index