Manchester City will hope to build on an excellent run of Christmas period results when they travel to St James’ Park to face Newcastle United on Sunday (14:05 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
Newcastle have not been in great form of late, having lost each of their last three matches in all competitions, but still find themselves in a solid eighth position in the Premier League table with 33 points from 10 wins, three draws and seven defeats.
Alan Pardew (pictured) found himself under pressure following an inconsistent start to the season, but his position was strengthened by a run of seven wins in nine matches from the start of November to Boxing Day that saw Newcastle firmly establish themselves in the top eight.
The Magpies have generally been a counter-attacking team, relying on the passing range of Yohan Cabaye, the energy of Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran and the excellent movement of Loic Remy to attack swiftly and efficiently when possession is won. They play the fourth highest number of through balls as a percentage of total passes in the league.
Newcastle are about where they should be in the table, with the seventh best scoring record and the ninth best defensive record, but the frequency with which they give up high quality shots should be of concern to Pardew. According to a recent study, Newcastle give up more high quality chances that they create themselves.
Pardew will be without the injured Fabricio Coloccini and Ryan Taylor (both knee) for Sunday’s match, while Cabaye (achilles) and goalkeeper Tim Krul (shoulder) will both face late fitness tests. Mathieu Debuchy serves the second match of his three-match ban for the red card he picked up in the New Year’s Day defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
Man City come into Sunday’s match on the back of five consecutive league victories that have seen them close to within one point of leaders Arsenal with 44 points from 14 wins, two draws and four defeats. They are undefeated in their last 14 matches in all competitions and demolished West Ham 6-0 in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi final on Wednesday.
That result was just the latest big scoreline racked up by a team who have also recorded victories by margins of 4-0, 5-0, 5-2, 6-0, 6-3 and 7-0 so far this season. If City continue to score at their current rate over the remainder of the campaign they would finish the season with somewhere in the region of 108 goals, the highest total of the Premier League era.
Aided by the signings of Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas and the excellent form of David Silva, Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero, Manuel Pellegrini has certainly got the team playing more expansive football than they did under Roberto Mancini last season. When they are in full flow, there are few teams capable of stopping them from scoring.
The attacking nature of Man City’s play does occasionally render them vulnerable to quick counter attacks and, indeed, resulted in four defeats in their first six away matches of the campaign. They have kept just one clean sheet on their travels and have been required to score three or more goals in each of their last three away victories.
Pellegrini will definitely be without Aguero for this match, as the Argentinian international continues his recovery from a calf injury, while Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and Stevan Jovetic (illness) are unlikely to take part. Navas (knee) and Yaya Toure (ankle) will both face late fitness tests.
Newcastle v Man City Betting Tips Advice
City have won each of the last nine meetings between these sides in all competitions, including a 4-0 thrashing at the Etihad on the first day of the season and a 2-0 extra time victory at St James’ Park in the Capital One Cup in October. Newcastle’s last victory over City came in 2005.
There can be no doubt that City are the form side coming into this match. Although they will be without Aguero, who was in clinical form in their home victory over the Magpies earlier this season, they still have enough attacking talent to breach a Newcastle defence that has failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their previous five home league matches.
Newcastle have a solid record against the top eight so far this season, having recorded victories over Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur and drawn at home to Liverpool. They will give Man City a good match, certainly a more competitive one than they did away at the Etihad, but we still feel the away team have the necessary quality to take all three points.
- Back Manchester City to win @ best odds of 7/10 with Coral.
- Newcastle have only twice failed to score at St James’ Park this season, while City have only twice failed to score on their travels. Both teams are far from solid defensively and there will be opportunities at both ends. With this in mind, back both teams to score @ 8/13 with Bet365, BetVictor or Ladbrokes.