Manchester City will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s two dropped points against Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle side, who are under pressure for a result.

After a blistering start to the season and victories in their first two games against Arsenal and Huddersfield, Manchester City hit their first real roadblock last weekend against Wolves. The reigning Premier League Champions could only manage to salvage a 1-1 draw against the newly promoted side, but Pep Guardiola will be looking to bounce back.

“We dropped two or won one point at Wolves. The secret last season was when we did that we won the next game,” said Guardiola in his pre-game presser. With Liverpool and Chelsea already ahead of the Cityzens, it will be imperative to win against Newcastle United, who visit the Etihad, with problems of their own.

Rafael Benitez wants his team to show character against City, and achieve their target of survival in the Premier League with a result on Saturday. Benitez’ Newcastle side will come into this game at the back of two narrow defeats to Tottenham and Chelsea.

Benitez has laid down the expectation he has from his side for the season ahead of the game, with the Spaniard suggesting Newcastle will be looking to achieve survival more than anything. But against City, they face yet another top six opposition, but they are expected to put on a show against the Champions.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has no new injury concerns to his side, barring the long-term absentees in Kevin De Bruyne, Danilo and Claudio Bravo. That said, 19-year-old Montenegro keeper, Aro Muric is set for a bench role as City’s No.2 until Bravo’s return as Ederson, as expected will start in goal.

Again on the Bench? Leroy Sane is expected to be among the substitutes when Man City take on Newcastle. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Again on the Bench? Leroy Sane is expected to be among the substitutes when Man City take on Newcastle. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

With no injuries and suspensions to his players, expect Guardiola to field the same starting eleven that drew against Wolves last weekend. However, the Spaniard could yet tweak his side with different players before the game. But it does look like Guardiola would stick with a four-man defence rather than a three-man setup.

Expect Aguero to continue up front, flanked by Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva. Guardiola’s other options include record signing Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane who is reportedly unhappy with a bench role so far, while Gabriel Jesus is City’s second choice striker, for now.

Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3)Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, Gundogan, D.Silva; B.Silva, Sterling, Aguero

Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez will be keeping his usual defensive shape against Manchester City, despite two defeats already this season. Benitez, however, would be dwelling on the positives from those defeats as his defensive line at times looked like it cannot be penetrated.

And to boost his defensive ranks, Benitez would be happy to welcome Club captain, Jamaal Lascelles back into the side after the Englishman missed the team’s defeat to Chelsea with an ankle injury as well as a reported training ground bust-up.

Benitez, on the other hand, has some injury concerns, Javier Manquillo, midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie all remain out with respective injuries, and Isaac Hayden completes his three-match ban.

Probable Starting-XI (4-5-1)Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar, Dummett; Ki, Perez, Diame, Atsu, Kenedy; Rondon

Key Stats

  • Manchester City are unbeaten in the last 21 top-flight games, their longest ever run against a particular opposition.
  • Newcastle have lost each of their last nine away matches at the Etihad.
  • Under Guardiola, City have won all seven matches they have played in September, scoring 26 goals and conceding twice.
  • Guardiola himself hasn’t lost a match in September since losing to Hercules back in 2010 and is currently 41-games unbeaten.
  • Sergio Aguero has 14 goals against Newcastle United in 11 appearances, a record for goals scored against an opponent for a single club.

Player To Watch

Jamaal Lascelles

Jamal Lascelles returns to the Newcastle side after recovering from an ankle injury. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Jamaal Lascelles returns to the Newcastle side after recovering from an ankle injury. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

The Newcastle United captain is in an awkward spot after reports of a training ground bust-up surfaced earlier in the week. But more importantly, the English defender has a task at hand to prove his ability against top opposition.

He is one of those emerging players, who is at the right age now to succeed for club and be selected for the country. But vitally enough, Newcastle have been good at defending this season despite those losses, and Lascelles has to rally his side for an exceptional defensive performance against City.

Prediction

Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle United

Manchester City put six goals past Huddersfield and then played out a 1-1 draw away from home to Wolves. But the Champions have the character to bounce back especially with their attitude and their form at home. Against Newcastle, they will come up against the defensive nous of Benitez but expect Guardiola to beat his compatriot.

Newcastle, on the other hand, are playing for a result, not necessarily a win, and are under tremendous pressure already after two defeats this season. Against City, they are expected to be defensively tight but eventually expect City to put the goals past their backline and take all three points.

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