MAN CITY entertain Newcastle on Sunday afternoon from the Premier League. Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB ) is on-hand to preview the encounter.
Manchester City vs Newcastle | Sunday 8th May 2022, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Just how do Man City bounce back from that crazy midweek Champions League exit as they were the latest victims of the Real Madrid “Great Escape” trilogy!?
Well just like a heavyweight boxer who has suffered a knockout blow, Pep Guardiola has to clear his head and those of his team as there are a few more rounds to negotiate yet in the EPL as they protect the slenderest of leads on the judges’ scorecards.
The one-point league leaders must look to emulate both PSG and Chelsea – who after dominating proceedings in the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu had their ticket to the next round of the UCL ripped from their grasp but went on to win their next fixtures, a 3-0 Ligue 1 victory over Bordeaux and a FA Cup semi-final 2-0 success over Crystal Palace, respectively.
Title rivals Liverpool showed they had ice running through their veins after also having a Champions League two-goal advantage wiped out by a first half salvo from Villarreal, however, responded with three goals of their own in 12 second-half minutes all of which came after navigating a tricky trip to the North East last weekend to keep the pressure on at the top of the table – now it’s the Cityzens turn to take on Eddie Howe’s men.
The visitors have been in excellent form, with only the top two having picked up more EPL points in 2022 than the Magpies, however they have a shocking record at the Etihad having never won there, losing 14 of their 16 attempts and overall have lost 23 of the last 28 league meetings between the two sides, winning just once.
Form away from St. James Park has also been somewhat patchy, shipping seven times whilst only scoring once in losing three successive road trips prior to cruising to a 3-0 walloping of whipping boys Norwich at Carrow Road – this clearly offers up a much sterner test.
Newcastle offered little threat to the rotated Reds last weekend, posting an xG of just 0.16, their lowest of the season, surpassing the 0.33 registered in the reverse fixture against City – a 4-0 defeat, the fourth time in the last five head-to-heads they have lost AND failed to score.
With the expectation of a similar attacking process from the away side and with 77% of their 13 home wins being accompanied by a clean sheet this season I’m taking a Manchester City “win-to-nil” here at odds of 5/6.
Dominating the ball in their home stadium with an average possession count of 69% is of course part of the DNA of a Pep team with a byproduct of that a very low card count – just 39 yellows and one red domestically so far, with only 15 of those (plus the red) coming at the Etihad – the lowest in the league in both respects.
In contrast only Leeds have collected more cautions than Newcastle’s 76 (plus two red cards) from their 35 top flight fixtures, with top offenders Joelinton (8) and Allan Saint-Maximin (6) both featuring last weekend and likely to line up here.
Newcastle have picked up at least one card in all bar one league fixture this season and in each of their last 31 which of course includes every game under Eddie Howe whilst in City’s last nine home games they have been shown 1/0/1/0/0/0/0/1/1 cards.
Referee is Stuart Attwell who coincidentally last refereed both of these sides when they were playing Arsenal at the Emirates, showing the Gunners four yellows and a red to Man City’s two yellows in January, while Newcastle won the card count 3-1 in November.
As a result, I am prepared to take Newcastle on the -1 Asian Card Handicap – meaning if the visitors collect only one more card, we get our stake refunded.
For my final selection(s) I have doubled João Cancelo & Bruno Guimarães to make 3+ tackles each at odds of 5/2.
Cancelo has hit 3+ in nine of his last eleven EPL outings (1/5/5/3/0/5/5/3/3/4/3) as well as in this fixture last season where he operated on the right-hand side – with the risk to play Kyle Walker in midweek ending with the England full-back suffering what looked a reoccurrence of the injury which had kept him out for four games, it is likely we could see the versatile Portuguese defender once more patrolling that flank.
This would be a boost to the bet as his direct opponent would be the aforementioned Saint-Maximin, a player dispossessed 19 times in his last six starts, including four times against Liverpool last weekend and with a season average of 2.6 per game, only Wilf Zaha is robbed of the ball more frequently.
Guimarães has quickly made himself indispensable in the Newcastle engine room, scoring four times in just eight starts with the addition of an assist to catch the eye, however it is his tackling data that I have been following closely, where he has now racked up a total of 32 in his 763 minutes of Premier League action.
That average of a tackle just under every 24 minutes has seen the Brazilian hit 3+ in seven of his last eight appearances including four last time out against Liverpool, with the only game where he missed out being against the Canaries – but the opposition need to have the ball for you to be able to win it off them!
Breaking those eight games down the 24-year-old’s tackles read 4/2/3/4/5/4/3/4.
Although the main bet here is for 3+ each – with those numbers I can’t help also having some loose change on 4+ each at 15/2.
Manchester City vs Newcastle – Manchester City to win to nil (5/6 Betfair)
Manchester City vs Newcastle – Newcastle –1 Asian Handicap Cards (11/10 Bet 365)
Manchester City vs Newcastle – João Cancelo & Bruno Guimarães To Make 3+ Tackles each (5/2 Ladbrokes)
Manchester City vs Newcastle – João Cancelo & Bruno Guimarães To Make 4+ Tackles each (15/2 Ladbrokes)