Football, it was once claimed, is a funny old game.
This summer, Newcastle United sold most of their best players and replaced them with ones who were at best unproven.
And yet come mid-November the Toon sit third in the table with a number of those players feeling pretty smug, having gone a long way to proving the doubters wrong.
Smuggest of the lot must be Demba Ba. In a deliciously ironic quirk of footballing fate, the Senegalese striker scored a hat-trick in Newcastle’s last away match at Stoke, the side who passed up the opportunity to sign him because of a supposedly dodgy knee.
Any physical impediment to his knee or otherwise has not been evident for Ba, who has already scored eight league goals this season. Odds of 2/1 for him to score at any time in the game look generous and if any Newcastle player is going to break down City’s defence he looks the most likely.
Trying to isolate one player from Manchester City upon which to place your hard-earned money in the goalscorers market is like looking for a restaurant in Chinatown – you are spoilt for choice.
Sergio Aguero scored for Argentina in midweek and has 11 so far this season for City. Three of those goals have been the final ones in matches and he is 3/1 to score the final goal of the game on Saturday.
You could just as well invest in Mario Balotelli or David Silva, who are priced at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively to open the scoring.
But how about backing Yaya Toure to continue his scoring run? Three goals from the mammoth, marauding midfielder in his last two matches further underlined a different dimension to his game.
He was not brought to the Etihad to score goals, but he should get more than he does given his power, speed and ability to storm past players. A small bet on him scoring at any time could well be worth considering at a price of 9/5.
Tempting long-shots in the first goalscorer market include Alexander Kolarov and his fierce left foot at 14/1 and Gareth Barry, who may or may not have scored England’s 2,000th goal in midweek, at 16/1.
Meanwhile, for Newcastle the 40/1 offered for Fabricio Colocconi, an ever present threat in the opposition’s penalty area when a corner is taken, to open the scoring could be worth spending a smattering of loose change on.
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