EFL Cup

Newcastle v Manchester City: Howe the most likely manager to go for the steal

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson
Will Callum Wilson lead the line for Newcastle against Man City?

Newcastle host Man City in the EFL Cup tie of the round on Wednesday night and Mike Norman is taking a chance on Eddie Howe fielding a stronger XI than his opposite number in order to get the win...


Newcastle v Man City
Wednesday, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Football

Likely rotation a big obstacle to punters

Forget trying to predict the match outcome for now, predicting who will start for each team should carry a very generous prize in itself.

You get the feeling that neither manager wants to be in this competition, but I can't help thinking about the end game in Jasper Carrot's daytime TV show from yesteryear, Golden Balls.

In that game show the final two contestants had to decide whether to split the cash prize with each other, or try to steal it. If both selected split then that's exactly what they did, share the cash. If one selected steal and the other split, then all of the money went to the contestant who chose steal.

Most people are expecting Eddie Howe and Pep Guardiola to select the split ball on Wednesday night, with both managers fielding weakened sides and whatever will be will be.

But dare one of them select the steal ball and field a strong side, thus making them heavy favourites to progress to the next round?

Take a punt on Howe being the stealer

Now, I could easily advise punters wanting a bet in this televised match to wait for the starting XI's to be announced, and I have no doubt that most people will do exactly that.

But that strategy will undoubtedly see pre-match betting odds change, so there's an opportunity here and now to potentially back a selection at better odds than it will be at 7pm on Wednesday night.

And my hunch is that Howe will be the man who tries to steal the win and field a stronger side than many are expecting.

Harvey Barnes limped off duing Sunday's 8-0 thrashing of Sheffield United, but he and Joelinton look like being Newcastle's only significant injury absentees.

Howe will undoubtedly make changes, but he'll almost certainly start with Callum Wilson or Alexander Isak in attack, possibly grant more playing time to the likes of Elliot Anderson, Sean Longstaff and Jacob Murphy, while in defence he has squad members Lewis Hall, Matt Targett, Jamaal Lascelles and Valentino Livramento all needing minutes.

Eddie Howe Newcastle Manager applauds.jpg

Man City meanwhile are definitely without the suspended Rodri and the injured quartet of John Stones, Mateo Kovacic, Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.

And Guardiola has effectively already said that players need a rest, and that those who have played every game so far this season will miss out against Newcastle.

He mentioned Kyle Walker and Ruben Dias specifically, but Ederson, Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland also fit into that category, while Manual Akanji and Phil Foden have played all bar one game in all competitions this term.

The likes of Rico Lewis, Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish should feature, but the rest of Man City's starting line-up could be anything, and much weaker than Newcatle's.

Given the Magpies have home advantage, and the strength of team they could put out as opposed to the much-changed one that Man City are likely to put out, Newcastle at 17/10 have to be the bet at the time of writing.

I'm surprised Man City are favourites at 7/52.40 with the Draw being available at 13/53.60, but as I've already mentioned, the Match Odds could massively change on Wednesday night, and hopefully in our favour.

Back Newcastle to beat Man City @ 17/102.70

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St James' Park meetings point to goals

I have no idea whether matches involving much-changed line-ups lead to high-scoring games or not, but I can't argue with Over 2.5 Goals being a strong favourite here; available to back at 13/20.

True, these sides met just a few weeks ago in the Premier League and it ended with just one goal being scored, but from the previous 12 meetings between Newcastle and Man City, nine of them ended with at least three goals being scored.

And the last four league meetings between these two at St James' Park have ended 3-3, 0-4, 3-4 and 2-2. That's every game paying out on Over 3.5 Goals (17/10 on Wednesday night) with an average of 5.25 goals per game.

Although I won't put it up as a tip, backing Callum Wilson to score anytime in a game featuring at least four goals can be backed at 4/15.00, which is already loaded in the betslip if you click on Bet now below.

Back Callum Wilson to Score anytime and Over 3.5 Goals @ 4/15.00

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.