Newcastle v Man City: Another goal can ease Aguero misgivings

Sergio Aguero can figure prominently for City over the festive period
Sergio Aguero can figure prominently for City over the festive period

Manchester City's march towards the Premier League title continues at St James's Park on Wednesday night and Mike Holden is backing Sergio Aguero to lead the Sky Blues to victory over Newcastle...

"Aguero and his penalty-box prowess looks the most likely way for City to break the deadlock at 3.65 should the Magpies deploy a deep block that denies Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling the space to run in-behind."

Newcastle v Man City
Wednesday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Main Event & Premier League

Magpies starting with a clean slate

Newcastle climbed out of the relegation zone with a surprise 3-2 away win over West Ham on Saturday. It was a much-needed result that ended a barren run of nine games that yielded just one point from a possible 27.

Goals from Henri Saivet, Mo Diame and Christian Atsu were the reward for an energetic display at the London Stadium, where the Magpies responded swiftly to the early setback of going behind to a Marko Arnautovic strike inside six minutes.

Saivet and Diame were among five players recalled to the starting line-up as Rafa Benitez shuffled his pack in a bid to revive a season being overshadowed by relentless takeover talk - and it worked a treat. Newcastle were revitalised and positive, throwing bodies forward in numbers whenever the opportunity arose to attack.

Benitez wasn't under any sort of pressure before that game but will be nonetheless delighted to wipe the slate clean ahead of the busy festive period. So rather than worry about the daunting prospect of City compounding some pretty miserable stats, the Geordies will now approach this as a free hit. Nobody expects them to take anything from this game.

City closing in on European record

City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to 13 points at the weekend with a routine 4-0 win over Bournemouth, the margin of victory illustrating the level of damage they can inflict on a day when they barely got out of second gear.

It was a 17th successive league win for the Sky Blues, taking them past the La Liga record first set by Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and to within two of the Bundesliga record later set by Guardiola's Bayern Munich.

Sergio Aguero was the hero against the Cherries, picking up the Man of the Match award with two goals and an assist, which was timely given the reports that were circulating over his future at the club, stemming from the disappointment of being left out of the derby win over United.

It would be a surprise if Aguero wasn't now given the opportunity to hold down the shirt as City's undisputed first-choice striker over the festive period, not least because his main rival Gabriel Jesus has netted only twice in 754 minutes.

Hard to make a case for Newcastle

City have entered global superpower territory in terms of how their games are being priced up and odds of 15.0014/1 about the home win might raise the odd eyebrow. But until the bubble of this record-breaking run has burst, it's extremely difficult to oppose them with even a crumb of conviction.

Fatigue shouldn't be a factor. Since the October international break, City have played 18 times - compared to Newcastle's 12 - but only three of those assignments have been further north than Huddersfield or further south than Leicester.

Even when they've had to deal with a trip to Ukraine, or extra time and penalties in the Carabao Cup, City have largely dealt with those inconveniences on favourable terms emotionally, with key players rested.

Some might argue that Guardiola has been lucky with injuries but he's also managed his resources well and his philosophy ensures that the opposition do most of the running. Note how City's most notable absentee - John Stones - did his hamstring just days after coming back from playing 90 minutes twice with England.

The draw barely appeals at 7.006/1 considering City would presumably throw the kitchen sink and willingly risk defeat if the scores were level in the closing stages, so it's hard to grumble with odds of 1.261/4 about the away win.

Correct score market offers best mileage

With a crucial home game against Brighton to follow three days later - where the Seagulls benefit from an extra 29 hours rest - you'd expect Newcastle to rotate again and approach this game in a much more passive manner than we saw against West Ham.

Benitez knows better than most how to create a solid base and make a team difficult to penetrate, although he lacks the quality of personnel at St James's Park to believe he can shut City out for the full 90 minutes.

Therefore, the correct score market could be an attractive place to do business for those who don't get aroused by long odds-on singles. And dutching the 0-2 and 0-3 options, at 7.6013/2 and 8.808/1 respectively, sit comfortably in mind as a happy medium that satisfies both City's attacking appetite and Newcastle's desire to avoid a drubbing.

Aguero and his penalty-box prowess looks the most likely way for City to break the deadlock at 3.65 should the Magpies deploy a deep block that denies Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling the space to run in-behind.

The 29-year-old Argentinean is 1.584/7 to score anytime and 4.507/2 to bag another brace, having found the net in each of his last four games against the Geordies, which includes a memorable five-goal haul in a 6-1 rout at the Etihad in October 2015.

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