City slickers to stroll to victory
Ian Ogg previews the first Monday Night Football of the season and expects Manchester City to win comfortably.
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Visitors Newcastle have a poor record in the blue half of Manchester and, with Manuel Pellegrini having strengthened his squad, a home win looks firmly on the agenda as City get their bid for a second Premier League title in three years under way.
Manchester City v Newcastle (2000 BST)
Manchester City moved quickly to appoint a new manager and have learnt from last year's mistakes in the transfer market by moving early and decisively to secure their men.
It's a big season for their opponents and Alan Pardew will be keen to avoid a repeat of last term with season-long rumours of acrimony and splits in the dressing room, while how he works in tandem with Joe Kinnear remains to be seen.
As the stats below indicate, Newcastle have an awful record in this part of Manchester and even the double-figure quotes about them picking up three points make no appeal.
One way to side with the hosts last season was in the 'win-to-nil' market; as Ben Coley intimated in his preview of the season's specials, Manchester City keep a lot of clean sheets.
They did so on no fewer than 13 occasions at the Etihad during the last campaign and that was despite some well-publicised tinkering with the system deployed. The 1/3 shots can be backed at a perfectly reasonable 11/10 to prevail with another clean sheet against a team that won just twice on the road in 2012/13.
City had a mixed record on that front during their pre-season, however, and despite Manuel Pellegrini's reputation for building cautious sides I'd prefer to let the dust settle as we await to see how he sets his team out.
In light of that, the 'draw-Man City' price of 17/5 deserves some consideration but isn't sufficient to tempt us into a recommendation but bwin's 13/10 about the second half having the most goals does with the 10/11 put up by William Hill a fairer reflection of an eventuality that occurred on 12 occasions at the Etihad last season.
Pardew will surely try to keep things tight in the first half but they will have to chase the game if (when!) they go behind and the game should open up accordingly.
There may well be a few substitutions if the home team are ahead but Pellegrini and his new signings will be keen to put down an early marker in the title race and it's just possible they could run away with this if they get their tails up.
Yaya Toure has scored in each of his last three games against the Geordies while Samir Nasri is playing in a more central role and both are worth considering in the goalscoring markets along with the in-form Edin Dzeko.
A dabble on the correct score is suggested though with Newcastle conceding over three goals per game against City over the past 13 clashes (including four here in March) and City can be backed at 17/2 with BetVictor to claim three goals and three points.
Verdict: Manchester City 3 Newcastle 0 (IO)
Newcastle have never won a Barclays Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium (D2 L7).
Manchester City have won 11 and lost none (D2) of their last 13 Premier League games against Newcastle, including a current run of seven successive victories.
City were the only team to score in every home game last season.