Premier League title race: Previewing Newcastle vs Man City and Man Utd vs Tottenham

By on January 11, 2024


Arsenal are enjoying some warm weather in Dubai during their mini winter break, however, some of their title rivals are still in action this weekend. Let’s take a look at some of the key games at the top of the Premier League table….

Newcastle vs Man City

Defending champions Manchester City travel to the north east to take on Newcastle on Saturday evening. City had a wobble back in November of last year that saw them drop 11 points in six league games. Many seemed to write them off after this tricky spell, but I think that’s proven to be a little premature as Pep Guardiola’s men seem to have rediscovered their form.

After winning the World Club Cup, Man City beat Everton and Sheffield United in the league before thrashing Huddersfield 5-0 in the FA Cup last time out. They now sit third in the table and are just five points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand [at home to Brentford], so they are still right in the mix for the title.

If Manchester City can beat Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday, they’ll close the gap on Liverpool to just two points. With the Reds not playing this weekend due to their winter break, this is an opportunity Guardiola won’t want to miss. Away fans are desperate to get their hands on tickets for the game, but with official channels already sold out, they’ll need to use trusted resellers such as seatsnet.com if they want to get a ticket for Saturday’s clash.

It could also be a good time to play Newcastle as they’ve been struggling of late. The Magpies have lost five of their last six league games – a run that has left them sitting way down in ninth position in the standings. They are 11 points off the top four, so Eddie Howe is under increasing pressure to get their campaign back on track.

Newcastle did manage to avoid an early exit from the FA Cup after beating rivals Sunderland 3-0 last weekend, so Howe will hope his players will have taken some confidence from that victory that they can take into Saturday’s clash with City.

Prediction: Kevin de Bruyne made his long awaited return to action last time out after coming off the bench against Huddersfield, so he’ll be pushing to start on Sunday. His return, along with the possible return of Erling Haaland, will be a huge boost for Man City. Newcastle have been struggling to cope with a long injury list this season and City should prove to be too strong this weekend. Newcastle 1-3 Man City

Everton vs Aston Villa

Aston Villa will continue their surprise title push when they take on Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. The Villains have been one of the surprise packages of the season and they have been playing some great football under Unai Emery this past year.

Villa showed real grit to come from behind to beat Burnley 3-2 thanks to a late Douglas Luiz penalty just before the New Year. That result has left them sitting second in the league table, just three points behind Liverpool and above City and Arsenal. A win over Everton would see Villa go top of the table and put real pressure on Liverpool ahead of their trip to Bournemouth on January 21st after their winter break.

However, Villa will be up against a rejuvenated Everton side, who have been on a mission since their 10-point deduction. Since late October, the Toffees have won six of their last 10 league games to drag themselves out of the bottom three. They sit 17th – just a point ahead of Luton – but if it wasn’t for their 10-point deduction they’d be sitting comfortably in mid-table.

Sean Dyche knows his side need to pick up points at home if they’re to avoid relegation this season and they’ll be looking to derail Villa’s title bid with a positive result this weekend. They were held to a 0-0 draw away to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last time out, and have lost their last three league games, so Everton will need to improve if they want to take anything off Villa.

Prediction: Goodison Park can be a very tough place to go if the crowd are up for it and the Everton faithful have been right behind their team since their points deduction. Villa have ridden their luck at times in recent weeks and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them drop some points on Sunday. Everton 2-2 Aston Villa

Man Utd vs Tottenham

Sunday’s second game see’s Manchester United welcome Tottenham to Old Trafford. United have endured a tough campaign and Erik ten Hag is under pressure to turn things around and challenge for the top four during the second half of the season.

United did ease past Wigan in the FA Cup on Monday night but they lost 2-1 away to Nottingham Forest last time out in the Premier League. After a poor run of results towards the end of 2024, United head into the weekend sitting eighth in the table and nine points off the top four having lost 9 of their 20 league games so far.

Scoring goals has been Man Utd’s main issue with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Hojlund, Antony and Anthony Martial all miss-firing in front of goal. Ten Hag may look to strengthen his attack in the market this month but no new arrival is expected before Sunday’s game so he’ll want to get the best out of what he’s got available.

As for Tottenham, they have made good progress under Ange Postecoglou this season. After a difficult period in November and early December, Spurs have won four of their last five league games and are now just one point behind fourth placed Arsenal in the standings.

Victory for Spurs on Sunday would see them leapfrog their rivals and they could even go third if Man City fail to beat Newcastle on Saturday, so Tottenham are right in the mix for the Champions League places this season.

Prediction: Man Utd desperately need a win to close the gap on the teams at the top but they just don’t look threatening enough in the final third. Tottenham have been playing some great football under Postecoglou and they’ll be confident of getting a result at Old Trafford. It’s tough to pick a winner as you really don’t know what United will turn up. They have showed in big games they can compete but I don’t think they’ve got enough to beat Spurs, so I’m predicting a draw on Sunday. Man Utd 1-1 Tottenham