Man City host Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday in the English Premier League. The hosts have had a very strange start to this season and sit just five points clear of the visitors after 13 matches. Pep Guardiola and Steve Bruce’s styles of play could not be more different so a fascinating match up awaits.
Man City Form
City have lost just twice in 22 matches all season and are currently nine unbeaten. They thrashed Arsenal 4-1 away in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday to progress to the semi-finals as Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte were on target.
In the league, City have drawn five of their last 11 matches. They had a run with just two wins in seven, but have now won three of their last five and look to be slowly coming back to their best level. Their last match brought a 1-0 win at Southampton as Raheem Sterling scored.
Man City Team News
City have just Eric Garcia out injured. Sergio Aguero is fit to feature again but is highly unlikely to start with Gabriel Jesus or Ferran Torres to lead the line instead.
At centre back, Ruben Dias should start but the position alongside him is up for grabs. John Stones may get the nod over Aymeric Laporte. At left back, Benjamin Mendy may start with Joao Cancelo rotated down to the bench.
Man City Motivation
City will not only see only a win as acceptable but will fancy their chances of handing Newcastle a thrashing. They beat the Magpies 5-0 in July and will be looking for a repeat of that.
Expect Guardiola to play with one defensive midfielder and a very attacking front five and fullbacks to look to complete destroy Newcastle and dominate possession at around the 75% mark.
Newcastle played their best XI on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup but lost 1-0 away to Brentford, who actually rested several starters themselves.
In the league, Newcastle have been incredibly inconsistent. Only once have they won consecutive matches and only once have they lost two in a row. In their last nine matches, they’ve been thrashed by Man Utd and Leeds but also beaten Everton at home, Crystal Palace away and West Brom at St James’ Park.
In their last match, they drew 1-1 at home with Fulham to respond well to their 5-2 thrashing away to Leeds.
Newcastle Team News
Several injuries at centre back have come prior to facing Man City which is not good news. Jamaal Laschelles is out with COVID-19 and so is Fabian Schar. Federico Fernandez has a slight muscle injury but may be fit to partner Ciaran Clark.
Martin Dubravka remains a medium-term injury absence in goal whilst Allan Saint-Maximin is out with COVID-19 to reduce Newcastle’s attacking threat.
Steve Bruce is certain to park the bus for this match. A 5-4-1 shape out of possession is most likely with the front three then looking to lead counters. Expect less than 30% of the ball and very little ambition to be shown. A draw would feel like a win and even a 2-0 defeat would probably be accepted by Bruce to avoid another thrashing and therefore a hit to squad confidence.
Man City have kept 7 clean sheets in their last 9 in all competitions
Man City are unbeaten in 9 matches (W6, D3)
City have won lost 2 and drawn 5 of their last 12 PL matches (5W)
Newcastle have lost 3 of their last 6 PL matches (D1, L2)
Newcastle have lost 4 of their last 9 away PL matches (W2, D3)
City have won 5 home PL matches against Newcastle in a row (incl. 5-0 twice and 6-1 once)
This looks likely to be a resounding win for Man City. Newcastle could leak numerous goals.