Jan 15, 2018
Jan 15, 2018

Premier League preview: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United

Why Newcastle need to change their style

Pep’s pressing problem

Manchester City vs. Newcastle betting: Where is the value?

Premier League preview: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City welcome Newcastle United to the Etihad this Saturday, looking to get back to winning ways after their first loss of the season. Where is the value in the Manchester City vs. Newcastle odds? Read on for some insight in order to mould your own Manchester City vs. Newcastle United prediction.

Live Manchester City vs. Newcastle odds

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Manchester City vs. Newcastle betting: City still human

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain announced three days before Liverpool’s clash with Manchester City that the Citizens were “still human,” before he and his Liverpool team went and proved it.

It could be argued that the scoreline flattered Manchester City, and could have been much worse if it wasn’t for Liverpool displaying their own vulnerabilities at the other end of the pitch and City some rigidity.

What this does offer others taking on Pep’s side is hope. Manchester City can be beaten.

The ball has been in the oppositions third 34% of the time in Manchester City games this season; a league-high.

Luck will need to play a critical role to see a Magpies win this Saturday, but seeing the Citizens fall to their first defeat of the season must offer some confidence to Benitez’ players, even if only for a second.

How Manchester City react to their first loss could be critical to their season. The likelihood is that the status quo returns and Manchester City sweep aside a struggling Newcastle. But, if Newcastle can muster a result at the Etihad this Saturday, the seed of doubt will most definitely be planted in Guardiola’s head.

Pep’s pressing problem

Analysing last Sunday’s game deeper, it is no real surprise that Pep’s men struggled with Liverpool’s style of play, counter-pressing is Manchester City’s kryptonite. The Reds manager has now beaten his Manchester City counterpart on five occasions, more than any other manager.

On average, City have held the highest defensive line in the Premier League this season. The ball has been in the oppositions third 34% of the time in Manchester City games this season; a league-high.

What this offers is play in the opposition’s half, so when the Citizens can win possession they are already close to goal and if they lose possession, then the distance the opposition must cover to get to City’s box is vast.

A tactic that has worked well this season. That is until they visited Anfield.

Liverpool’s win last Sunday was Manchester City’s deepest defensive line of the season.

Jurgen Klopp’s pace running throughout the side caused the defensive high-line problems. Mane on one wing, Salah on the other and Oxlade Chamberlain running through the middle, and suddenly Stones and Otamendi are more than just aware of the through ball between themselves and Ederson.

The City defence lost confidence in their high line and dropped deeper to prevent such a pass. This may somewhat solve the ball over the top, but meant that when City did lose the ball, Liverpool were already in range of goal.

At the other end, the midfield dropped to secure the space between themselves and defence, meaning that their creative flairs in Kevin De Bruyne were occupying a space where it was much harder to make a difference in and around Liverpool’s box.

Why Newcastle need to change their style

Liverpool’s win last Sunday was City’s deepest line of the season and a tactical masterclass from Jurgen Klopp and his Reds. But it was a tactic that Liverpool were more than comfortable to apply; Klopp’s form of Gegenpressing has been instilled into his Liverpool side since his appointment back in 2015.

Newcastle’s style of play is the antithesis of Liverpool’s high-octane soccer: two banks of four sitting deep in order to prevent gaps in and around their box. Manchester City have shown time and time again this season that a deep formation fails to prevent their interplay from creating goalscoring chances, as they slowly and surely break down the opposition.

Has Rafa Benitez got the ability and, more importantly, the resources in his squad to play a fast-paced style against Manchester City? Granted, most of the time this will result in a comprehensive loss, but, if luck also goes their way, it could offer the best chance for a Magpies win.

The question is, do Newcastle have the players to offer running behind Manchester City’s defence? In short, no. They have attempted just one through ball per game this season, only Swansea and Burnley have attempted fewer.

The Citizens have also been leading at both half-time at full-time in eight of their last ten home matches in the Premier League.

Whilst Gayle does offer pace up top, his movement rarely sways from directly in front of goal, so spaces left by Manchester City’s high fullbacks is likely to be used.

Christian Atsu offers running behind the defence on the left-hand side, but on the other side - where Mohammed Salah was so influential last Sunday - Ritchie offers very little running behind.

Manchester City vs. Newcastle odds: Where is the value?

Many will be looking towards City’s ability to bounce back from their first loss of the season, and the odds most definitely favour them to do so.

Their loss may have in fact taken a bit of pressure off the Citizen’s – they no longer have an unbeaten season to strive for.

Manchester City have won their last 10 home matches in the Premier League, and bettors will expect that streak to continue. -2.75 handicap odds of 2.250* could be a smart bet, particularly as Manchester City have scored at least three goals in eight of their last 10 home matches.

The Citizens have also been leading at both half-time at full-time in eight of their last ten home matches in the Premier League. Manchester City’s -1.25 first half handicap odds of 2.160* could offer value in a game that looks to be very much City’s to lose.

Odds subject to change

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