The opening fixture of match week 26 in the English Premier League will feature Manchester City hosting Newcastle United. The hosts are five points behind league leaders Arsenal and will look to put pressure on the Gunners. Newcastle United, on the other hand, have moved out of the top four and will look to stop the defending champions as they did last time. The previous meeting between the two teams ended in a 3-3 draw.
Manchester City have won 17, drawn four, and lost four matches this season. The defending champions earned a 4-1 victory over Bournemouth in their last league match. Pep Guardiola’s men are the highest goal scorers in the league. They have netted 64 goals and average 2.29 xG per match. Their defence has been leaky and concedes a goal per match. The above pizza chart shows the percentile rank of the team in comparison to other teams in the English Premier League. It clearly states that Manchester City have been the top performer in the league.
Newcastle United, on the other hand, have won ten, drawn 11, and lost two matches this season. They have scored 35 goals at an average xG rate of 1.83. Their defence has been the best this season and has only conceded 15 goals. The above pizza chart states that the Magpies have a decent percentile rank and have earned a bit of success this season.
Manchester City’s attacking threat
Manchester City will look to break this sturdy Newcastle United’s defence in this match. They average 35.12 positional attacks and 1.96 counterattacks per match. Overall, Pep’s men take 15.64 shots per match and have a 36.6% accuracy rate. In the last match, the defending champions attempted 19 shots and five were on target. The players attempted most of their shots from the edge of the six-yard box and this is the reason behind their high xG rate.
Manchester City are a side that can create chances from both flanks as well as from the centre. They have a lot of quality in their team. In the last match, the team attempted most of their progressive passes from the centre. However, the passes that penetrated the opposition’s penalty box were attempted from the right side. Another key stat in their attack is the ability to recover the ball high up on the field. The team has made six dangerous recoveries, and three were made just on the edge of the penalty box. Manchester City’s high-pressing gameplay allows them to make such recoveries. They won’t allow Newcastle United to settle easily.
Newcastle United’s recent struggles
Eddie Howe’s men haven’t been in their best form in recent matches. They have just won one of their last seven matches. One of the primary reasons behind this poor run of results is their failure to find the back of the net. In the last seven matches, the Magpies have only scored three goals. They have attempted 82 shots with a 36.58% accuracy rate. These failures to convert the chances will hamper their chances of taking any point from this match.
Newcastle United like to create their chances from the flanks. They create most of the momentum from the left side and most of the box penetrations also take place from that particular side. The Magpies will look to break Manchester City’s defence from the flanks.
Phil Foden has returned to the scoresheet after failing to score a goal since November. The Englishman netted his eighth league goal this season against Bournemouth. He also provided an assist in that game, bringing his total tally to four assists. The 22-year-old is active on set-piece duties and can also deliver some box penetration passes. He will be a key figure in breaking this Newcastle United’s defence.
John Stones is likely to miss the match for the home team. Aymeric Laporte has also missed the last three matches and could miss the match once again.
Nick Pope is suspended for this game. Bruno Guimaraes is also an injury doubt for the visitors.
According to the 1×2 betting odds, Manchester City are the favourites to win the match. They have an odds rate of around 1.44 to win the match. Newcastle United’s chances of winning the match have an odds rate of around 6.9. They are without their goalkeeper Nick Pope, and this is the reason behind the high odds. After a six-goal thriller in the last match, expect this to be a tight game. The under lines are expected to thrive in this match.
This is a must-win match for both teams. Manchester City have the momentum and are likely to take three points. They cannot afford to lose points in this match, which would hamper their chances of retaining the title.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine