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BBC Sport pundit with this new Newcastle United analysis – On the money?

1 month ago
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Some interesting comments from this BBC Sport pundit on Newcastle United.

Chris Sutton speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Manchester City at St James’ Park.

An eleventh home Premier League game of the season for Eddie Howe and his players.

Pointing out to BBC Sport the relevant situations of the two clubs, is Chris Sutton on the money with his reasoning?

Chris Sutton talking to BBC Sport:

“I’ve got a bit of confidence with calling this one, compared to the first two games this week.

“Unfortunately for Newcastle, I think this is a bad time to be playing Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side did all right in the first half of the season, but did not really get going by their standards.

“Now they have got Kevin de Bruyne back – with a new hairstyle too – and I just wonder if we will see a different look about City for the rest of the season.

“Newcastle have lost three in a row in the league but I think the most important game for them recently was their FA Cup win over Sunderland last week – there would have been a bit of heat on their manager Eddie Howe if they had lost to a Championship team and their local rivals.

“We know how the Magpies play, and they will go for it, so I am expecting a few goals, I just think City will score most of them.

“Prediction: Newcastle 1 Manchester City 3”

So what to make of what the BBC Sport man has said?

Chris Sutton says ‘We know how the Magpies play…’, does he really?

In matches against Manchester City, Eddie Howe has played a number of different ways. The 3-3 draw last season at St James’ Park saw Newcastle really going for it, whilst most recently, down at the Etihad in August, it couldn’t have been different. NUFC sitting very deep and clearly going for a goalless draw, or even better, a real smash and grab win. That game ending 1-0 to Man City.

In between those two extremes, we saw two contests that were somewhere in between. At the Etihad last March, Newcastle actually creating a fair few chances but Man City clinical when scoring with two of their three efforts on target.

Then in September, despite Eddie Howe making ten outfield changes and Pep Guardiola far less, Newcastle very much deserving their 1-0 League Cup win and having twice as many efforts on target as Man City.

As for Man City guaranteed to score goals. Newcastle United in their last three games (two of the three away from home) against Pep Guardiola’s side, have restricted Man City to only nine efforts on target across all three matches. With his first choice defence now bad together and seemingly back to full fitness, Eddie Howe can hopefully make it very difficult for the visitors to open them up, once again.

Man City are obviously capable of beating anybody but this idea that they will now automatically be back to their best, I find more than dubious. Haaland and Stones remain unavailable and de Bruyne has been out injured all season since the opening Premier League match over five months ago, he played some minutes on Sunday in the FA Cup but I would be amazed if he starts today.

Newcastle United will have to play well to get anything AND they will have to do it without Joelinton AND almost certainly with no positive options on the bench covering midfield and attack.

However, the fact is that Man City haven’t been at their best recently and have only won three of their last eight Premier League matches. Their last five have included a home draw against Palace, defeat at Villa and trailing against Luton – needing two second half goals to narrowly beat them.

The BBC Sport pundit says he has a ‘bit of confidence’ with calling this one as a comfortable 3-1 Man City victory.

Chris Sutton may well be proved to be right BUT at the same time, plenty in what I have pointed to above, to give Newcastle United fans hope of potentially a point or better.

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