Newcastle vs Manchester City preview, betting tips and prediction: Magpies' crisis to increase after another defeat

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Manchester City to win 2-0 @ 6/1 with Betfair

Manchester City with a -2 handicap @ 15/8 with Betfair

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When you’re on a run of no wins since October, the last team you want to face is Manchester City, and that is what Newcastle have to do on the 27th December. This preview is being written before the weekend games, so that winless run could have ended for the Magpies at West Ham, while Bournemouth could have shocked City at the Etihad Stadium. At this point, though, both outcomes feel unlikely.

Pep Guardiola’s men are more than just league leaders, they are the kind of team not seen for years in England or possibly ever. Winning 17 of 18 league games, drawing the other one and netting 56 goals makes ominous reading for any opponent, let alone one who has lost eight in nine. Newcastle’s downfall has been a lack of quality; it is that which has led to many individual errors in recent games, the kind of mistakes it is of paramount importance they cannot make or City will smell blood. Goalscorers like Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus will not pass up easy opportunities and the only thing Newcastle can do is make it as hard for their visitors as possible.

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Form

Newcastle did put in a better display at Arsenal recently, one which they could have been proud of if it had led to a draw and avoided a drop into the bottom three of the Premier League. They created chances and kept a good shape but that same lack of quality cost them again; the January transfer window. Goals against Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester mean Dwight Gayle has found some form, but all those games ended in defeat. It is looking more precarious by the week for Rafa Benitez, but he is still the right man to take the Magpies forward.

City have been through a spell when they had to rely on spirit and endurance to win games, but like true champions they did that. While they are yet to win a trophy, some are already talking about this team in terms of greatness. They top the table by 11 points at the time of writing but it could be much more because Guardiola’s style of play is so tough to stop. Newcastle are hardly in the best shape to do so at the moment, but there will be gaps in defence to exploit if they are brave enough.

Team News

Jonjo Shelvey will return to the side after a two-game ban for Newcastle, but Rafa Benitez has said Aleksandar Mitrovic will be out of the game after having minor surgery. Jesus Gamez is the only other absentee, with the home side welcoming back a number of players in recent weeks, ahead of the game at St James’ Park.

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City have no fresh injury concerns, but Guardiola could shuffle his pack as always, with Sergio Aguero vying for a place upfront with Gabriel Jesus.

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