Manchester City will look to get back to winning ways when they host a struggling Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium tonight.
The Citizens’ thrilling 4-3 loss to Liverpool last week was their first in any English competition this term and only their second of the entire campaign. However, they still have a 12 point lead at the top of the table over their nearest rivals Manchester United.
Newcastle on the other hand, are a mere 3 points away from the relegation zone. They have won only 6 games this season and are currently placed 15th on the table, level on points with Brighton & Hove Albion with 23 points, but ahead only by virtue of goal difference.
Team News & Tactics
Pep Guardiola is expected to miss out on the services of Fabian Delph, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Benjamin Mendy. Vincent Kompany isn’t expected to be fit for this tie and will likely miss this one as well. David Silva however, is expected to be available for selection, but it remains to be seen if they choose to risk him from the start tonight.
They are expected to stick to the 4-3-3 formation that was used in their previous game, despite ending up on the losing side. Ederson will likely start in goal, with Danilo coming in for Fabian Delph at leftback and Otamendi, Walker and Stones retaining their places in the starting XI.
Bernardo Silva could come in for Ilkay Gundogan in midfield to add a more creative attacking threat, with Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne making up the other two central midfield positions. Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling are expected to start on the left and right wings respectively, with Sergio is expected to lead the line for the Citizens once again.
Probable Starting XI(4-3-3): Ederson; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, Danilo; Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva; Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane
Rafa Benitez is expected to miss out on the services of Jesus Gamez. Florian Lejeune will likely miss out with a foot injury, while Dwight Gayle picked up a knock against Swansea and his participation will likely be determined after some late fitness tests.
They are expected to start with largely the same side that started in their 1-1 draw against Swansea City last week. Rob Elliot is expected to replace Karl Darlow in goal. DeAndre Yedlin and Paul Dummet are expected to start at fullback, with Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles as center-backs.
Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie are expected to start on the wings, with Jonjo Shelvey, Mohamed Diame setting up shop in the center of midfield and Ayoze Perez and Joselu are expected to lead the line for the Magpies.
Benitez is likely to stick with a 4-4-2 formation, but may decide to opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation, to focus on keeping the Citizens out by adding reinforcements to their midfield. However, a five man defence – one that was used in their last encounter, isn’t expected to be seen tonight.
Probable Starting XI(4-4-2): Rob Elliot; DeAndre Yedlin, Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummet; Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, Christian Atsu; Joselu, Ayoze Perez
- Manchester City have lost only 1 of their last 22 meetings against Newcastle United.
- In their last meeting back in December, Newcastle United enjoyed only 22% possession over the course of the game.
- Manchester City have scored a minimum of 4 goals in each of their last 4 Premier League matches at home against Newcastle United.
- Prior to their loss to Liverpool last week, Manchester City were on a 30-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.
- Newcastle United have won only 1 point out of a possibly 30 in the Premier League against sides from the top half of the table.
- Manchester City vs Newcastle – Newcastle Asian Handicap +2.5 @ 1.900
Player To Watch
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero
In 11 matches across all competitions, Sergio Aguero has scored 11 goals and provided 3 assists against Newcastle United in all competitions. He averages a goal or assist against Newcastle United every 31 minutes at the Etihad. So it would suffice to say that the Magpies are his favourite opponents and it will be interesting to see if he is able to extend his superb record against them tonight.
Manchester City 4-0 Newcastle United
The best possible way to react to last week’s loss to Liverpool at Anfield. Guardiola’s men will want to assure their fans that their loss was only a minor setback in their run to the title and the best way to do that would be get a resounding victory at home.
While Newcastle have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks and nearly secured a point against City in their previous encounter, it is unlikely that they will be able to stop a City side who will be desperate to get back to winnings ways. We predict a comfortable victory for City at the Etihad.