BETTING analyst Adam Wallis (@SharpSignals) shares his verdict on Newcastle's meeting with Manchester City on Tuesday night.
Newcastle v Manchester City | Tuesday 29th January 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
Newcastle host Manchester City after just two full days rest since crashing out of the FA Cup to Watford. The Toon are desperate for points but may struggle to get them this midweek.
Manchester City have enjoyed the same recovery time but with their wealth of quality players available, rotation will see Pep Guardiola’s team ready to put the pressure on Liverpool.
Rafa Benitez is no doubt one of the best managers around and he will have his squad mentally prepared for this clash with the champions. Precariously placed in 17th and three points off the relegations zone, the Magpies need the win as much as City.
Their recent form is not good enough, losing three of the last five at St James Park, drawing one and winning last time out against Cardiff.
If we start with the 0-3 defeat to West Ham, Newcastle did record a higher Expected Goals (xG) figure than their opponents, however, they didn’t create anything of major quality. Javier Hernandez had the game’s best chance (0.41xG) which he duly converted in the 11th minute, so a fair result would have been 0-1.
Next, the 1-2 loss to Wolves – based on the quality of chances created in that match a 0-2 scoreline would have been a fair reflection but still, another loss. The Toon failed to create anything of quality in this game but Wolves have been posting some decent defensive metrics this season.
A 0-0 draw with Fulham followed and again the Magpies created an Expected Goals (xG) metric of just 0.20. Fulham weren’t much better but they did create the game’s best opportunity (0.39xG) via Aleksandar Mitrovic who obviously failed to convert.
Against the Big Six at home this season they have failed to win but have scored in three out of four – the games against Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal – all finished 1-2. Their most recent outing against the leading lights was against Manchester Untied who kept a clean sheet when winning 0-2.
In other Big Six clashes Newcastle again failed to win, losing to Liverpool (4-0) Manchester United (3-2) Manchester City (2-1) and Chelsea (2-1), so out of eight games they are winless against the Premier League’s elite but have notched in six of eight encounters.
For the last few matches, the champions have found themselves playing before league leaders Liverpool. The Citizens will again play a day earlier than the Reds putting the pressure on Pep's men to deliver. Nothing less than a win will do for City but Newcastle will try and make life difficult for them.
There is not a lot you can say about Pepe’s men, they are a class team. Expected Goals (xG) sees City averaging 2.13 per-game, conceding just 0.88 – they are outperforming their xG metric by 13 goals this season but conceding what is expected, 0.88 per 90 minutes.
The visitors play with a ruthless, aggressive defensive press with an equally aggressive possessional attack which will prove too much for most of the teams in the Premier League, including Newcastle. I expect Rafa’s team to set up with a 5-4-1 and try and frustrate City but this is nothing new to the champions as they have the quality and experience to break them down.
The Betting Angle
With Newcastle’s Expected Goals (xG) figures being the second-worst in the division (0.88) and defensively their xG difference being ranked the same, City should win this and by at least two goals.
The market as you would expect gives away no secrets here as City are the usual long odds-on favorites and goal line set at 3.25 with the natural Asian Handicap at 2.0.
It’s a tough one, but the goals line is set too high, for me, though we know City can score at will. Newcastle also cannot afford to roll over so I am going to suggest a play on the Winning Margin market instead. Even though City have the power to score three, four or five goals against any side on the planet, I do think Newcastle will put in a decent defensive display and look for the counter.
Therefore, I’ll recommend the 3/1 available at Bet365 on Manchester City to win by exactly two goals.
Newcastle v Manchester City – Manchester City to win by exactly 2 goals (3/1 Bet365)