Live on Sky Sports 2. Kick off Saturday 12:45pm
It’s not just Alan Pardew and the Toon Army that are asking what has happened to the Newcastle team of 2011/12? Us punters have been left scratching our heads, looking for a glimmer of form that we can believe in enough to start putting money on them again.
I really thought they would turn the corner at Craven Cottage on Monday but they were still disjointed and despite the return of Ben Arfa lost yet again. However, Pardew still believes that they can beat anyone despite the worrying form. And I’m inclined to agree.
There’s no doubt they have the quality but when will the real Newcastle turn up. StanJames go 5/1 that it’ll be tomorrow and they win.
City will be looking to bounce back from last weeks derby defeat but you can’t help think that they’re only another defeat away from a crisis. Failure in the Champions League has put Mancini under pressure, defeat tomorrow and that pressure would be intense.
They’ve yet to reach the dizzy heights of last season and have scraped wins rather than ease to them so I doubt they’ll make light work of a visit to St James’s Park. Best price on a City win is 8/11 (Paddy Power). No thanks.
To many people’s surprise Mancini started with Mario Balotelli last week. It didn’t work. Again. Incredibly City have failed to win 6 of the last 7 that Balotelli has started. Surely tomorrow he’ll find himself on the bench (at best), with the much busier Carlos Tevez claiming a starting berth. Tevez has scored four goals in six league games against Newcastle and should be considered in the goalscoring markets. He’s 5/1 (SkyBet) to score first and 11/8 (SkyBet) to score anytime.
SkyBet’s ‘Player to receive a card’ market could also be lucrative one. Cheik Tiote has seen a card in 8 of his 14 appearances this season and he’ll be against fellow countryman Yaya Toure in the middle of the park tomorrow. He’s a talented lad but is a booking waiting to happen every week. SkyBet go just 8/11 that he’ll end up in Andre Marriner’s book.