Newcastle recorded a much-needed victory at the weekend but are unlikely to follow that by ending Manchester City’s long winning streak when they host the English Premier League leaders at St James’ Park on Wednesday (2.45pm ET).
Newcastle had won just one of their previous 13 matches prior to their win away to West Ham on Saturday and also came into that fixture on the back of a four-match losing streak. A good start to the season has quickly given way to a relegation battle.
It was therefore vital that they take three points against another of the teams fighting against the drop. They went behind early on but quickly levelled through Henri Saivet and then pulled ahead with two goals in the first quarter hour of the second half, scored by Mohamed Diame and Christian Atsu. West Ham got one back, but Newcastle held on for a 3-2 victory.
Rafael Benitez said afterwards that he hoped the result would act as a turning point and allow his side to regain the confidence they showed in their early-season performances. As with all Benitez teams, Newcastle are a well-balanced outfit, but perhaps lack the necessary quality to make that count and pull away from what is a very congested lower part of the table.
Benitez was unhappy that the club missed out on some of his key transfer targets during the summer and has urged owner Mike Ashley to dip into his pocket to bring in necessary reinforcements during the upcoming January window. He will be particularly keen to address a lack of firepower up front. No Newcastle player has scored more than three goals to date, while too much of the creative burden falls upon one player: Matt Ritchie.
With a defensive unit that also isn’t quite operating as efficiently as Benitez would hope, it is perhaps unsurprising that Newcastle have accumulated four defeats and one draw in their matches against top-six sides so far this season. In truth, they look ill-equipped to bring an end to Manchester City’s record-breaking run of victories.
Pep Guardiola’s side extended that streak to 17 Premier League matches with a 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth on Saturday. It was a typically dominant performance, although they had to wait until the second half to add to Sergio Aguero’s opener with further goals from Raheem Sterling, a second for Aguero and one for Danilo. They continue to march onwards.
Indeed, with three very winnable fixtures to come before they travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool in mid-January, Man City have every chance of extending that run to 20 matches – a record it is hard to see being equalled or bettered for some time. If they can continue playing as they currently are, the Premier League records for points (95, set by Chelsea in 2004-05) and goals (103, set by Chelsea in 2009-10) in a season are also within their reach.
It is hard to identify any obvious weaknesses in Guardiola’s side. If opponents sit back and try to soak up pressure, City are able to wear them down and eventually find a way through. If opponents instead employ a more positive approach, City destroy them on the counter-attack, as Tottenham Hotspur found to their cost in a 4-1 defeat earlier this month. They are a set of highly talented footballers playing attractive yet efficient soccer.
It will take a meticulous plan, well-executed, to bring the league leaders back down to earth. Benitez is, of course, renowned for the detail of his preparation work but with the players at his disposal, even he will struggle to find an approach capable of stymieing his fellow Spaniard and his team.
It is necessary to go back to 2005 to find the last time that Newcastle defeated Man City in Premier League play. In the intervening period, City have recorded a number of convincing victories over the Magpies and that is again likely to be the case on Wednesday. Guardiola’s side can be expected to win by a comfortable margin.
Our Preview’s Newcastle vs. Manchester City Betting Tips Verdict
Given the dominance of Man City, the betting value with the best of the US offshore sports betting sites lies with a wager on the spread:
- Back Manchester City -2 goals @ +105 with Bovada.