Manchester City will be hoping to close down the gap to the top of the table when they go head to head against with Newcastle United away from home this weekend.

Manchester City will travel to the St. James’ Park this weekend as they gear up to take on Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United on Saturday noon in matchweek 14 of the 2019-20 Premier League.

The reigning Premier League champions find themselves in the third spot in the table, nine points behind leaders Liverpool and one below second-placed Leicester City. With both teams scheduled to play after the Cityzens, they will be hoping to put some pressure on their challengers with a win on Saturday.

However, the preparations weren’t quite ideal for Pep Guardiola’s side as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week at home, which means they have now won only of their last four matches in all competitions (D2 L1). They will be intent on getting back to winning ways this weekend.

Newcastle United are in the 14th spot in the Premier League table, five points above the relegation zone. The Magpies were on a three-game unbeaten run prior to the international break (W2 D1), but were defeated 2-0 by manager Steve Bruce’s former club Aston Villa last weekend.

Having already beaten Manchester United at home this term, Newcastle will be hoping to get another major scalp this weekend. The fact that they had beaten Manchester City 2-1 in their last meeting at the St. James’ Park will provide them with confidence. Ahead of the weekend clash, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Newcastle United

Sean Longstaff is back after serving his suspension (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Sean Longstaff is back after serving his suspension (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Matt Ritchie remains unavailable for selection for Newcastle, having undergone a second operation to treat his ankle injury. Jamaal Lascelles is also set to miss out for the Tyneside outfit, while DeAndre Yedlin is a fresh injury concern with a hip problem. Florian Lejeune is back to full fitness while Sean Longstaff returns from his suspension, handing manager Bruce a boost.

Martin Dubravka is the undisputed choice between the sticks for Newcastle. Emil Krafth could get a look-in at right-back in place of the injured Yedlin, while Fabian Schar might return to the side after sitting out the last game. Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett will be the other two centre-backs in the five-man backline, with Jetro Willems lining up as the left-back.

Bruce has preferred the central midfield partnership of Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden in the last three matches but could sacrifice the latter following Longstaff’s return from suspension. The wide duo of Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin haven’t been performing up to the required level, but the manager has hinted that he will persist with the pair on Saturday.

Big money signing Joelinton has scored just one goal in 13 appearances, but is likely to be given other chance by the manager ahead of Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle against the reigning Premier League champions.

Probable Lineup (5-4-1): Dubravka; Krafth, Schar, Clark, Dummett, Willems; Almiron, Longstaff, Hayden, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton

Manchester City

Guardiola will once again be without the services of premier striker Sergio Aguero due to a thigh injury, along with long-term absentees Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte. Oleksandr Zinchenko is another player who will not be available for selection for Manchester City on Saturday.

No Sergio Aguero for Manchester City (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

No Sergio Aguero for Manchester City (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Joao Cancelo has been preferred to Kyle Walker at right-back of late, but the Englishman could be reinstated to the starting XI this weekend. Benjamin Mendy is expected to return at left-back after Angelino started in the midweek game. John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi could pair up at the centre of the backline, affording Fernandinho some rest ahead of a busy period.

Rodri should continue as the holding midfielder for Manchester City, while captain David Silva is likely to return to the side at the expense of Ilkay Gundogan, who scored in the draw against Shakhtar. The Cityzens’ chief creator Kevin De Bruyne ought to hold on to his place in the middle of the park.

Riyad Mahrez scored in the last Premier League game against Chelsea and could be rewarded with a start here after dropping to the bench for the Champions League clash. Raheem Sterling is a certainty to feature on the left flank, with Brazilian international Gabriel Jesus leading the line in Aguero’s absence.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

Key Stats

  • Manchester City have found the net in each of their last 21 Premier League games against Newcastle (54 goals in total), winning 18 (D2 L1). Only against Fulham (22) have they had a longer scoring streak in the competition.
  • Newcastle United are looking to secure back-to-back Premier League victories over Manchester City for the first time since November 2003, having won this exact fixture 2-1 back in January.
  • Manchester City have conceded the first goal in each of their last three Premier League games, though they’ve come back to win two of those (L1). They last conceded first in more games in a row back in March-April 2012 (5).
  • Newcastle United are unbeaten in five home league games since losing to Arsenal in the opening weekend (W2 D3). Only Leicester Ciy (3) have conceded fewer home goals in the Premier League this season than the Magpies (4).
  • Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez has scored 49 Premier League goals, following the winner against Chelsea last weekend. He could become the 110th overall, ninth African and first Algerian player to reach 50 goals in the competition should he find the net against Newcastle.

Player to Watch

Gabriel Jesus

Can Jesus step up in Aguero's absence? (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Can Jesus step up in Aguero’s absence? (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

With Sergio Aguero ruled out for a couple of weeks, Gabriel Jesus will have to take up the responsibility of being Manchester City’s chief goalscoring threat in the upcoming few matches. The Brazilian striker has scored five goals and set up four more in 17 matches this term, but has failed to score in his last seven appearances in all competitions.

However, the 22-year-old Jesus has scored seven goals in his last eight Premier League starts, including three in four so far this term, indicating that he tends to do well when playing from the kick-off. Guardiola and Manchester City will be hoping that the Brazilian forward comes up with the goods in Aguero’s absence in the coming matches, starting from Newcastle.

Prediction

Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester City

Newcastle United have been generally solid at home, having not lost at the St. James’ Park since their defeat to Arsenal. However, goals have been a major cause of concern for Steve Bruce, with the attacking trio of Miguel Almiron, Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin struggling to provide any spark in the final third.

Manchester City bounced back from their defeat to Liverpool with a win against Chelsea last weekend, but failed to put away Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this week. The Cityzens tasted defeat on their last visit to the St. James’ Park and will be aware that another defeat here would put a huge dent in their hopes of retaining the Premier League title.

Pep Guardiola’s men will be without the prolific Sergio Aguero, who enjoys an excellent record against Newcastle. However, they have enough firepower to deal with the Argentine’s absence and should bag all three points on Saturday along with a clean sheet against a toothless Magpies’ side.

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