A month ago, the mood around Manchester City was a little gloomy.
The Premier League champions had just lost 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur and handed Arsenal the advantage in the title race.
Since then, though, City are unbeaten. They dispatched Aston Villa with a minimum of fuss and then triumphed over Arsenal in a crunch clash at the Emirates Stadium.
Nottingham Forest somehow held them to a 1-1 draw despite being outplayed, and City’s meeting with RB Leipzig in the Champions League also ended with the scores level.
But Pep Guardiola’s side heads into the weekend on the back of confident victories over Bournemouth in the Premier League and Bristol City in the FA Cup.
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Newcastle’s form is trending in the opposite direction. Appearing in the EFL Cup final last weekend represented a step forward for the club, but the day ultimately ended in disappointment.
A 2-0 defeat by Manchester United at Wembley means the Magpies have won only one of their last five matches in all competitions.
Eddie Howe’s side have dropped out of the top four as a result and they could even be overtaken by sixth-placed Fulham this weekend.
Newcastle are still ahead of schedule – they were in the relegation zone in the first half of last season – but this could be another frustrating afternoon for Howe and co.
Manchester City vs Newcastle United betting tips
Newcastle United are on a bad run of form and they could suffer their third consecutive defeat against Manchester City this weekend.
Manchester City to win to nil – 6/4 (bet365)
Arsenal’s defeat of Everton in a rearranged midweek fixture saw them open up a five-point lead at the summit of the standings.
City can close the gap back to two points in the early kick-off, but anything less than a win would hand Arsenal a major boost ahead of their clash with Bournemouth at 3pm.
City have found clean sheets surprisingly hard to come by of late. They successfully shut out Bristol City in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday, but their opponents have scored in each of their last five top-flight contests.
City’s backline has been breached on 25 occasions this term, giving them the joint-third-best defensive record in the division behind Newcastle and Arsenal.
But the underlying statistics suggest they have been a little unlucky. Based on expected goals against, City’s rearguard has actually been the most watertight in the Premier League.
Newcastle have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net in their recent outings. They failed to do so at Wembley and also drew a blank against Liverpool in a 2-0 loss the previous week.
In fact, the Magpies have scored just three goals in their last seven Premier League games. They could do so again here.
Manchester City -1 handicap – 11/10 (bet365)
Last Sunday’s trip to Wembley was always going to be about more than the result for Newcastle.
Arguably the biggest underachievers in English football over the last few decades, the Magpies’ wait for a first trophy since 1969 goes on.
But after the misery of the Mike Ashley years, Newcastle fans have fallen back in love with their club again.
The fact they are in effect owned by Saudi Arabia might be problematic for the wider football industry, but the near-limitless wealth of their proprietors means it is only a matter of time before Newcastle are competing for another trophy.
In the short-term, though, this trip to the Etihad Stadium could have an ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ feel to it.
Newcastle are facing one of the top two teams in the country at a time where Manchester City look to be getting back to their best.
Of City’s 10 home victories in the Premier League this season, nine have been by a two-goal margin or more. Saturday’s showdown with Newcastle could follow suit.
Phil Foden to score any time – 11/4 (bet365)
Phil Foden is back in Pep Guardiola’s good books.
Prior to last weekend, the England international had started only three of Manchester City’s previous 10 Premier League matches.
Guardiola appeared to have settled on Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish as his first-choice picks out wide, preferring the control that duo offers to the aggressive, all-action style of Foden.
But the 22-year-old is a shoe-in to start on Saturday after two superb showings in the last few days.
Foden was the star of the show in the 4-1 thumping of Bournemouth, contributing a goal and an assist in a terrific all-round display.
And he was at it again in midweek, notching a brace to help City reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
Even though he has been in and out of the team, only Erling Haaland has scored more goals for City than Foden since the start of the campaign.
Kieran Trippier likes to get forward at right-back for Newcastle, and the left-footed academy product will look to exploit any space he leaves in behind.
Foden is full of confidence right now and he will be a major threat for the visitors to the Etihad to contend with.
How to watch Manchester City vs Newcastle United
Location: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England.
Date and time: Saturday 4 March 2023, 12.30pm.
How to watch: BT Sport 1.
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