MANCHESTER CITY meet Newcastle at The Etihad on Wednesday night. Brett Curtis (@brett_curtis92) showcases his favourite fancies.
Manchester City vs Newcastle | Wednesday 8th July 2020, 18:00 | BT Sport
Manchester City host Newcastle United in one of three 18:00 Premier League matches on Wednesday evening. The Citizens will be looking to bounce back from their surprise 1-0 defeat at Southampton on Sunday, which was watched by more viewers than any Premier League game in history.
Newcastle, meanwhile, came back from behind twice to draw 2-2 with West Ham in an entertaining game earlier in the day.
Steve Bruce has reverted to a back four since the season re-started last month, and has been duly rewarded with 10 goals in four league games (having led his side to just 25 in the first 29). The one exception, however, was in the 2-0 home defeat to City in the FA Cup quarter-final, when he elected to keep it tighter with a back five.
I expect Bruce to do the same here; as such, with City relentlessly attacking the parked bus until the game becomes dead, which hopefully won’t be too early, there could be value in the corners market as opposed to the more conventional markets, where City are as short as 1/8 to win, 2/5 to win by 2+ goals, and 4/6 to win while keeping a clean sheet.
Indeed, City average the most corners-per-game in the league, both at home (8.56) and overall (7.97), while also averaging conceding the fewest at home (2.5) and overall (2.7).
Newcastle, meanwhile, average the fewest corners-per-game in the league both away from home (3.31) and overall (3.91), while conceding the second-most overall (6.91) and fifth-most away (7).
Moreover, in the recent aforementioned FA Cup tie between the two sides, City had eight corners to Newcastle’s nil. They also led the corner count 10-1 in the 2-2 draw at St James’ Park earlier in the campaign. Playing at the Etihad, you’d ordinarily expect the difference to be even greater.
As such, while the line is a touch on the high side, I’m happy enough to back City to cover the -5 corner handicap at 5/6 with bet365.
It’s landed 16 times for City in the league this season, so roughly half of the time, but given their opponent, I think the chance is significantly higher than that here.
I’m also buoyed by the fact that Kevin de Bruyne did not start in the defeat at Southampton, and actually produced a rare poor performance when he came on, so he should be fresh and raring to go for this one.
With the Belgian moving into the right channel and crossing the ball at will, and the rested left-back Benjamin Mendy overlapping on the other side, there’s scope for plenty of deflections and clearances leading to City corners.
They had 13 at Southampton and while I don’t expect them to have that many here in what should be a more comfortable evening for Pep Guardiola and his side, hopefully the handicap will land nonetheless.
Manchester City vs Newcastle – Manchester City -5 corner handicap (5/6 Bet365)