EPL Betting: A deadly partnership
Opta tell us Manchester City have scored at least two goals in each of their last seven Premier League games against Newcastle.
In a match that means a huge amount to both sides, Lee Dixon still fancies Manchester City to pick up another win in pursuit of their first Premier League title.
Who does this match mean more to?
The side tipped for relegation who could yet end up with a Champions League place - assuming favourites Bayern beat Chelsea in Munich?
Or the team that's cost an absolute fortune to put together and are on course for a historic first Premier League title?
That's debatable but whoever loses this is probably kissing their objectives at this stage of the season goodbye.
Newcastle's win in mid-week was a superb one for many reasons. Chelsea are one of the in-form teams in the division and irrespective of the fact they rested a few players, it was pretty much Chelsea's strongest back four and keeper that Papiss Cisse scored those two wonder goals against. Not to mention a pretty decent forward line including Sunday afternoon hat-trick hero Fernando Torres that they kept a clean sheet against. That will have given the Magpies huge confidence and they've beaten Manchester United 3-0 already at home this season so won't be overawed just because it's the league leaders coming to town.
But City haven't got to where they are now without handling the big occasions themselves. And there was no bigger game than Monday night's, where they were the more positive team and good value for their money. Their record against Newcastle is a highly impressive one, Opta tell us. City have won their last two games against Newcastle, both by 3-1, and overall City have won seven of their last eight Premier League games against the Magpies. They're on a run of four wins in a row and I think they're about to make it five. This match could come down to players starting on the bench having a decisive impact on proceedings and with all due respect to Newcastle, I'm not too sure they have too much quality to bring on. City have a fully-fit squad for just about the first time this season and that could mean a bench including Mario Balotelli, Adam Johnson, James Milner and Edin Dzeko. Embarrassment of riches indeed.
The City win at 1.72 has to be our first bet.
Opta tell us Manchester City have scored at least two goals in each of their last seven Premier League games against Newcastle. And before scoring just the one against United, they'd done so in their previous three. I'm a big fan of Tim Krul and Newcastle's defence has been really good this year but they might just find Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and co too hot to handle on the day.
I think Newcastle can get on the scoresheet though. They haven't got to the dizzy heights of fifth in the league by being cautious and negative. Sure, they've defended leads by bringing off a forward and asking their midfielders to stay back more but that's only because they were positive and went looking for goals to start with. Playing for a 0-0 isn't any good to them and despite City's defence looking good now with Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott arguably the strongest centre-back pairing in the league, I think they can score at least one. We can take the 1.54 on no City clean sheet but instead I'd rather push the boat out and back the red-hot Cisse to score at anytime at a far bigger price. Opta reveal he has scored 13 goals in his 12 Premier League appearances, the joint-best start to a player's Premier League career. Cisse is 3.2 to get on the scoresheet.
Michael Cox's Tactical View
There will be some exciting attackers on display in this match, but both teams are based around a solid back four and have a good record of clean sheets this season. I think City will find it difficult to make the breakthrough, and could be in for a frustrating afternoon. The statistics also back this up: Newcastle have kept a clean sheet in their last four home Premier League matches, while nine of Manchester City's last ten away games have seen under 2.5 goals. That means Under 2.5 Goals looked overpriced at 2.24 here.