There’s a reason no one fancies Newcastle to beat Manchester City. The Magpies haven’t beaten the champions in 22 Premier League clashes – losing 19 of them.
The last time Newcastle fans celebrated a league win against the Citizens came in 2005. Under Alan Pardew though, United did beat their opposition in the League Cup in 2014.
With Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame still injured, the Magpies will once again field a makeshift centre midfield. However, while Newcastle’s form at St James’ Park this season has been woeful, there are several stats playing in the Magpies’ favour.
Rafael Benitez has lost only one of his nine home games in the league vs City. On top of that, the Magpies have won four of their last six home league games against sides who started the game in the top two.
Rondon and Dubravka to help upset the odds
It was clear that Benitez saw the FA Cup as a hindrance. The likes of Salomon Rondon and Martin Dubravka, arguably the side’s top performers this term, didn’t get on the pitch. It is their presence at either end that could help the Toon Army upset the odds tonight.
The Venezuelan striker may cut a lonely figure up front for the majority of the game. However, if he’s provided with an opportunity, he is sure to cause the City back line a host of problems.
At the other end, the Slovakian stopper knows to expect a busy night. This isn’t something that will phase him, though. It’ll be a tough task to keep out City’s high-flyers, but United’s number one already has seven clean sheets this term.
Newcastle must keep it tight and frustrate the champions. After that, it’s up to the forward players to take advantage of the counter attacks. They were narrowly defeated thanks to a wonder goal by Kyle Walker at the Etihad earlier in the season and can take faith from their performance that day.