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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Bernardo Silva can lead the way for Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne's injury gives the Portuguese playmaker greater responsibility

Bernardo Silva could make hay in Kevin De Bruyne's absence
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Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event, 1.30pm Sunday

Manchester City failed to oblige at odds of just 1-9 at home to Huddersfield last season but they should justify their status as similarly red-hot favourites against the same Etihad opponents.

Kevin De Bruyne's injury blow - he will spend around three months on the sidelines - will have dented the champions' confidence slightly. But it is likely that the Belgian’s absence will be felt be more in bigger matches, and they have the perfect in-form replacement to hand in Bernardo Silva.

De Bruyne was in the side that limped to a goalless draw against Huddersfield in May when there were obvious excuses for City's below-par performance.

Pep Guardiola's men had already been crowned champions while Town were fighting for their lives and won the shots-on-target count 3-2.

It was also the only home game in their rampant Premier League campaign that City fired blanks and the game should have no bearing on this repeat contest as the extra motivation factor has now disappeared.

Huddersfield will presumably park the bus, spend the entire 90 minutes based on the edge of their area and hope for a mistake or set-piece to win the match in what would be the biggest ever shock in a Premier League fixture.

At one stage earlier this week Huddersfield were trading at 44 on Betfair - the largest odds ever seen on the exchange pre-game in a Premier League contest - before De Bruyne's injury prompted those odds to tumble to something a little more respectful to the visitors.

However, having been stuffed 3-0 by Chelsea last week this looks set to be another long 90 minutes for the Terriers and punters eager for a bet are pointed towards Bernardo Silva to score first. 

Because of the lop-sided nature of the match many firms have changed their usual terms and bet365 are the only bookmaker still offering one third the odds.

Sky Bet have dropped their place terms while Betfair and Paddy Power offer a fifth the odds, making the market less appealing from an each-way perspective, so stick to the win.

Bernardo scored in a pre-season clash with Bayern Munich, was outstanding in the Community Shield triumph over Chelsea and popped up with the crucial second goal in last week's 2-0 success over Arsenal.

The Portuguese playmaker scored nine times for City last season, a record that should improve as he gets more starts with De Bruyne crocked, and he finished the campaign well with seven of those coming in 2018.

Recommendation
B Silva first goalscorer
1pt 7-1 Betway

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com

Team news
Man City
Kevin De Bruyne joins Danilo on the sidelines. David Silva has returned to training.

Huddersfield
Mathias Jorgensen, aka Zanka, is out with a hip problem and boss David Wagner is sweating on Jonathan Hogg's participation. Erik Durm and Danny Williams lack fitness. 

Key stat
Huddersfield failed to score in 13 of their 19 Premier League away matches last season.


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Bernardo scored nine times for City last season, a record that should improve as he gets more starts with De Bruyne crocked
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