Given Manchester City’s recent wobbles and Newcastle’s autumnal resurgence, there may be a few tempted to wager on the Toon claiming the 8/1-rated spoils when the sides meet in the Capital One Cup this evening.
The defending champions are not just suffering from a dip in form, they’re also likely to experiment with the team ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby and these two factors may well deter punters from investing in their 3/10 favouritism in favour of an underdog wager.
Such a move, however, will prove catastrophic come full time, with a home win to nil at 13/10 the only way to bet here.
The Citizens may have kept just one clean sheet in five, but there’s excellent value in this price, as these reasons will attest:
Newcastle can’t score against Man City.
Their St James’ Park meeting on the opening weekend represented the fifth time in succession that the Magpies’ strike force couldn’t breach the Sky Blues’ backline, with an aggregate score across this quintet accumulating to 14-0.
Each collision between the two with Manuel Pellegrini sitting in the Premier League champions’ dug out saw the Chilean’s side prevail in flawless fashion.
Alan Pardew only has his second-string attack to call upon.
As this column reliably informed you yesterday, Papiss Cisse is the Premier League’s most lethal frontman…statistically speaking, anyway.
He averages 1.49 goals per 90 minutes on the field, a rate that supersedes that of Diego Costa (1.38) and Sergio Aguero (1.3).
Unfortunately for Newcastle, the Senegalese sharpshooter is out injured, as is far less prolific understudy Emmanuel Riviere.
Midfield jackhammer Cheick Tiote, the player with the highest passes per game average in the team at 64.5 and joint-leading assist maker to boot, is absent too.
Perforating Man City’s Capital One Cup defence last term was a near impossibility.
Fabio Borini’s tenth-minute strike in the 2013/14 final was only the second goal the Citizens shipped en route to claiming the trophy.
They kept clean sheets in the three other games they played against Premier League opposition, one of which was Newcastle.
After slamming seven past Sheffield Wednesday in the previous round, their Capital One Cup iron-clad rearguard appears to be at its bagel brandishing best so expect to see the Toon leave the Etihad empty handed.