City the emphatic favourites to pick up first silverware on offer

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Manchester City’s chances of landing an unprecedented quadruple are all but over following the 2-0 home reverse against Barcelona in the Champions League.

But Manuel Pellegrini’s men are still on for a domestic treble and will aim to pick up the first of those three trophies in the Capital One Cup final this weekend.

City are emphatic favourites at 3/10 with Stan James to overcome Sunderland, BetVictor’s 10/1 outsiders, at Wembley but having lost out in the FA Cup final to huge underdogs in the shape of Wigan last May, they’ll be taking nothing for granted in this one.

Indeed, Pellegrini’s charges have no room for complacency given that they have beaten the Black Cats just twice in eight meetings between the two and as Gus Poyet’s troops have improved markedly in recent months, they’ll go into this one in confident mood.

Nevertheless, this City side is simply too good to oppose and they can get the job done in a potentially tight affair.

Ladbrokes rate them at 3/1 to shade it by a one-goal margin, it’s 8/1 via for City to register a slender 1-0 success and William Hill offer 7/2 about them emerging victorious only after a level first period.

In attack Sergio Aguero faces a race against time to be fit but you can be sure that he will be well backed at 14/5 (BetVictor) to net first if the signs are that he will feature.

It seems unlikely, however, that Pellegrini will risk the Argentine striker from the start and Yaya Toure is a better first scorer bet at 11/2 courtesy of Paddy Power.

At the very least, Liverpool are now firmly in the driving seat in the battle for fourth spot in the Premier League but just four points adrift of leaders Chelsea, it’s hard to argue against the Reds still being involved in the title race, especially as two of the top three still have to visit Anfield.

Having racked up six victories and two draws in their last eight, Brendan Rodgers’s side have now been cut to 8/1 by Stan James to be crowned champions but they face a stern test of their credentials on Saturday as they visit Southampton, they only team to have defeated them at Anfield this term.

BetVictor chalk Liverpool up at 21/20 to gain revenge for that reverse while bet365 make them 3/1 to nick it by a solitary goal and in a match that’s 4/7 (Paddy Power) to see both teams find the net, bet365 mark 17/2 against a 2-1 Liverpool triumph.

Table-topping Chelsea make the short journey to neighbours Fulham as Stan James’s 2/5 favourites and Skybet rate them at 6/4 to beat Felix Magath’s team ‘to nil’ at Craven Cottage.

Title rivals Arsenal however, might have to settle for a point at Stoke, where it’s 3/1 (BetVictor) to finish all-square.

In the battle for European places, Tottenham suffered a setback at Norwich last Sunday but, at 4/11 courtesy of Stan James, they’re set to bounce back at the expense of struggling Cardiff and boosted by the return of Romelu Lukaku in attack, Everton are 9/20 with betway to end West Ham’s four-match winning streak by sending them home from Goodison Park empty-handed. Spurs and the Toffees double up at even money (Paddy Power).

Elsewhere, Hull appear overpriced at 7/5 via William Hill as they entertain Newcastle, betway’s 4/1 underdogs Crystal Palace have perhaps been underestimated a touch ahead of their trip to Swansea and bet365 quote Aston Villa at even money to overcome boss Paul Lambert’s former club Norwich.

Castleford have won their opening two Super League fixtures but they’re Paddy Power’s 6/4 outsiders to make it three in a row as they head to winless Hull KR (8/13, BetVictor) for tomorrow’s televised contest.

The Tigers, however, head to Craven Park in confident mood having carded an emphatic 32-6 win over Catalans Dragons last weekend and as Rovers’ only home match ended in a heavy defeat to Leeds, the visitors are certainly worth an interest at 10/11 in bet365’s handicaps when aided by a four-point start.

In Boxing, Ricky Burns defends his WBO lightweight title against Terence Crawford at the Glasgow SECC but the likeable Scot is a 9/4 underdog with Stan James.

The unbeaten American is a 4/9 chance at BetVictor and at 5/4 (bet365), the visiting fighter looks decent value to break the hearts of the home crowd by edging a decision on the scorecards.

England’s cricketers look to pick themselves up after the winter debacle Down Under as they head to the West Indies for a three-match ODI series.

Stan James make the tourists 10/11 to edge it and their cause is helped by the absence of Chris Gayle from the hosts’ line-up.

William Hill, meanwhile, make Stuart Broad’s troops 15/8 to card a 2-1 success, Ben Stokes is a generous 6/1 (BetVictor) to be England’s top batsman and Ladbrokes post 10/11 against the visitors in the betting for Friday’s first match in Antigua.

Bet of the week: Terence Crawford to beat Ricky Burns on points – 5/4 (bet365).

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