Expect the goals to flow at the Etihad

THE first Super Sunday of the season is nearly upon us and it promises to be an intriguing afternoon with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Manchester United making the short trip to Anfield.

Roberto Mancini will have to pick up his side after a demoralising 3-2 defeat at Real Madrid on Tuesday. It would have been such a memorable night for the English champions if they could have held on to their 2-1 lead, but naïve defending cost them.

City have had no problems finding the net again this season, but it’s the backline that will be really worrying Mancini. His side are yet to keep a clean sheet in five games and the normally dependable Vincent Kompany has looked a shadow of the man who was voted Barclays Player of the Season last campaign.

Arsenal only managed two goalless draws from their opening two games, but since then they have won three straight and Arsene Wenger will be pleased with his new signings, particularly Santi Cazorla. The Gunners have looked solid at the back but their attacking prowess was in evidence against Southampton last weekend and the manager will expect his players to take the game to City on Sunday.

The outright market in this game doesn’t look easy as, although City’s home record is outstanding, the defeat in the Bernabeu will have hurt them. If pushed, I’d still just favour the home side at 4/5 with Coral, but I’d rather have a bet on goals as I think there could be plenty.

There have been 20 goals in City’s opening five competitive games and although Arsenal have only conceded two in five, they may struggle to keep out City’s world class strikers. Both teams to score is 4/6 with Coral and that is worth backing, as well as buying total goals at 3.1 with Sporting Index.

Liverpool and Manchester United is still just about the biggest rivalry in English football and it promises to be another full blooded encounter at Anfield on Sunday lunchtime. Brendan Rodgers is yet to register his first league win as Liverpool boss and if he was to pick one game to do it, it would be against United.

Anfield hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for United in recent years – losing four and drawing one of the past five meetings. Sir Alex Ferguson will be pleased that his side have now notched four straight wins since their defeat at Everton, but they have struggled in three of those games.

At the prices, and with a vociferous home support, I’m going to suggest backing Liverpool to beat their great rivals again at the generally available 15/8.

Tomorrow’s lunchtime kick-off sees Everton travel down to play Swansea and the Toffees can register their third league win of the campaign. David Moyes’ side disappointingly lost at West Brom at the beginning of the month, but they were desperately unlucky not to beat Newcastle on Monday night when they had two goals disallowed that should have stood.

Swansea started the season with a bang, but they were well beaten at Aston Villa last weekend and they might struggle against a decent Everton side.

The away win is 6/4 with Coral and that seems a more than fair price.

■ Pointers…

Both teams to score at 4/6 with Coral
(Man City v Arsenal)

Buy total goals at 3.1 with Sporting Index
(Man City v Arsenal)

Liverpool at 15/8 general

Everton at 6/4 with Coral