Manchester City can pile more misery on Magpies
Newcastle set for fifth straight home league defeat
Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event, 7.45pm Wednesday
Newcastle supporters were given the Christmas lift they needed with victory at West Ham on Saturday but the celebrations may prove short-lived when runaway league leaders Manchester City travel to St James' Park.
The Magpies’ shock triumph at the rejuvenated Hammers four days ago ended a nine-match league winless run and provided Rafael Benitez’s men with the confidence his side needed heading into a crucial Christmas period.
Newcastle face three matches in six days, with key relegation clashes against Brighton and Stoke to come, and Benitez may be tempted to ring the changes against a free-flowing City, who are in search of their record-breaking 18th straight league win.
Benitez knows he must strengthen his squad to aid his fight against relegation but with prices in January at a premium and the uncertainty of a takeover at the club, his task is a demanding one.
Newcastle have conceded first-half goals in their last eight league games and a similarly slow start against Pep Guardiola's table-toppers could see City run riot.
The Citizens have scored 12 goals in their last three league games, netting four in each of their meetings with Swansea, Tottenham and Bournemouth, and it's difficult to see how the struggling Magpies can do something that others couldn't.
Benitez's mob have suffered four consecutive home league defeats and have picked up just one point from their previous five meetings with top-six sides this term - conceding four at Old Trafford and three at Stamford Bridge.
Jonjo Shelvey's return from suspension fills a huge void in the centre of the park but Benitez has openly admitted that the Magpies must recruit in three or four positions and his influence is likely to be kept to a minimum.
Squad depth is key over a hectic winter schedule and City's crew of attacking options make them difficult to oppose.
Forwards Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have notched 20 league goals between them - one more than Newcastle combined - and dazzling Belgian Kevin De Bruyne has been instrumental behind all their positive play.
City's leading marksman Raheem Sterling, a reinvigorated David Silva and tricky winger Leroy Sane cap off a stellar attacking outlet and Newcastle, who have shipped seven goals in their last three home league games, are in store for a tough evening.
Supporters can quickly lose face at St James’ Park when things aren’t going Newcastle’s way and an early City goal could see pressure build and the floodgates open.
Punters should take the unbeaten visitors to stamp their authority early and go on to record their 18th consecutive league triumph.
Man City-Man City double result
2pts 3-4 Coral, Ladbrokes
Aleksandar Mitrovic remains on the sidelines and Jesus Gamez is out. Mikel Merino and Isaac Hayden face late fitness tests. Jonjo Shelvey makes his return from suspension.
Benjamin Mendy is a long-term absentee and John Stones is likely to remain sidelined. Youngster Phil Foden is out with a ligament injury.
Manchester City have scored first-half goals in four of their last five away league games.
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