Manchester City have the resources to rotate their squad and make a decent fist of the Europa League even though they’d much rather be involved in the Champions League and Roberto Mancini’s men are 4/9 with Betfred to reach the next stage by getting the better of Porto over two legs.
In the pair’s first encounter however, City are as high as 13/8 via William Hill to emerge triumphant and the hosts are likely to make life tough for the Premier League leaders even though they aren’t as strong as they were last season under the guidance of Andre Villas-Boas.
The Portuguese outfit, currently second in their domestic league, can earn a draw then, a result Coral offer at 23/10 and one that Mancini would probably settle for. Moreover, City should be able to keep things tight and it could be worth risking a modest flutter, at 10/1 (Skybet), on the contest remaining goalless.
At the Britannia Stadium, Paddy Power make Stoke 2/1 outsiders to secure a first leg success against Valencia but the rugged Potters could outmuscle the more cultured visitors and Tony Pulis’ troops shouldn’t be written off on their own patch, even if overall qualification at 21/10 with Ladbrokes is perhaps a big ask.