Just under a year ago, Rafa Benitez enjoyed one of his finest moments as Newcastle manager when second-half goals from Salamon Rondon and Matt Ritchie completed a famous comeback win over Manchester City. Steve Bruce has taken over the reins since, and despite a victory over his former club Manchester United and an impressive away win at Spurs, he’s not exactly on track for an eight-year contract renewal. His side sit in 14th place, five points off relegation, and have the fourth-worst goal difference in the league. Newcastle’s expected goals figure has been under one goal for eight of their 13 matches this season, and their defenders have scored a staggering seven of their 11 goals.
This doesn’t make for great reading considering Mike Ashley finally reached into his pockets during the summer to sign Joelinton for a club-record fee. The striker simply hasn’t delivered, with his only goal in over a thousand Premier League minutes coming all the way back in August. Manchester City, however, have started eight of their 13 games with an xG (expected goals) of over three goals. They’re the top scorers in the league, with 37, and have the joint-best goal difference, at 23. Everything points to a win for the reigning champions, which is why we have them as short as 1/7 to get the three points.
But I really don’t see the Magpies scoring here, which is why I think there is excellent value in Manchester City to Win to Nil @ 10/11.
In this fixture last season, it was Sergio Aguero who opened the scoring within 60 seconds. This time round however, the Argentine talisman is absent, with Gabriel Jesus set to lead the line for the next few weeks. The Brazilian hotshot has five goals and four assists from nine starts in all competitions this season, a return that many strikers would be proud of, but I still think he’s capable of more. There’s no doubting his talent but having only played 130 minutes less than Aguero all season, he has scored eight fewer goals.
When Aguero either moves on or retires from City, Jesus must ensure he’s in a prime position to fend off any big-money strikers coming in and taking that first-choice spot up top. He needs to get fired up and start grabbing the headlines with a ruthless scoring streak, similar to what Sterling has done in the past. What better way to start than nabbing a brace against a struggling Newcastle side? I’m backing Gabriel Jesus to Score 2 or More Goals, WAS 7/2, NOW A POWER PRICE @ 11/2.
One of the only shining lights for Newcastle this season has been the emergence of Allan Saint-Maximin, arguably the club’s most exciting player since Hatem Ben-Arfa. Admittedly, the Frenchman’s end product has been quite poor, registering a whopping zero goals and zero assists thus far.
But he’ll run at defenders all day long, with recent Opta data putting the 22-year-old rocket at number one in the Premier League for average carry distance per dribble. At 12.1 metres per dribble, that’s one metre further than second-placed Marcus Rashford, and two metres further than Wolves speedster Adama Traore.
Saint-Maximin is likely to cause City’s right back a few problems, and with Joao Cancelo getting two full games against Chelsea and Shaktar Donetsk (and likely to be rested for this fixture), I’m backing Kyle Walker to get a Card @ 7/2.
Best Bets Summary
- Manchester City to Win to Nil @ 10/11
- Gabriel Jesus to Score 2 or More Goals, WAS 7/2, NOW A POWER PRICE @ 11/2
- Kyle Walker to get a Card @ 7/2