With the incumbent champions Manchester City continuing to put pressure on table-toppers Arsenal following a decisive 4-1 victory at Bournemouth last weekend, the Premier League (PL) title battle is heating up. Following that up with an easy 3-0 FA Cup victory over Bristol City, Man City boss Pep Guardiola who previously made fun of Manchester United’s spending will be anxious to keep his team’s momentum going by defeating the Premier League’s richest team, Newcastle United.
Despite having the fewest points after 25 games in all but one of their previous five Premier League seasons (2019–20), the one exception being the only one in which they did not win the championship, City are still in the title race. Guardiola won’t likely be thinking about historical patterns as he gets ready to play a team that City has beaten at home in 13 straight Premier League head-to-head games, but a win here would tie the record for the longest winning home run in the league.
As seen by Newcastle’s charge for a spot in the UEFA Champions League this season, this Newcastle team is very different from many of those that City has faced over the years. The Magpies nearly missed out on the League Cup after falling to Manchester United 2-0 in the championship game at Wembley last weekend, but their road performance in the Premier League has been outstanding, with their current eight unbeaten away games (W4, D4) being their longest such PL run.
In a 3-3 draw in the rematch against City in August 2022, Eddie Howe’s team also snapped a competitive six-game losing H2H streak. Given that no team has allowed fewer goals on away trips in the Premier League (seven), Newcastle is sure to present stern competition once more. As they attempt to close the four-point deficit on fourth-place Tottenham, only time will tell if the visitors are still in shock over losing out on a trophy last weekend.
Observe these players: Phil Foden is in excellent form right now, scoring four goals in City’s last two games (G3, A1). Nevertheless, Miguel Almirón might be the player to keep an eye on early because all three of his goals in Newcastle’s last five Premier League away games have come before halftime.
Stefan Ortega (hand), who was substituted at halftime in Manchester City’s victory over Bristol City, John Stones (hamstring), and Aymeric Laporte (sickness) are the three Man City players who are all considered to have mild doubts and will be evaluated before kickoff.
Despite continuing to perform well when chosen for the first squad, right-back Rico Lewis may lose his spot to Kyle Walker. The team’s starting goalkeeper, Ederson, who is one clean sheet away from reaching his 100th Premier League record, is expected to be recalled.
Since joining the Citizens in the summer, Kalvin Phillips has only made two starts this season; however, on Saturday, Rodri is set to take his position. Bernardo Silva or Ilkay Gundogan may possibly get the nod to start in center midfield with Kevin De Bruyne.
Foden, who has already scored three goals in his previous two games, is expecting to join either Riyad Mahrez or Jack Grealish in the front three. Haaland, who was rested midweek, is anticipated to lead the line in place of Julian Alvarez.
As for Newcastle, goalkeeper Nick Pope will make his comeback following his one-match suspension for the EFL Cup final, while Loris Karius will either drop to the bench of substitutes or leave the team.
Despite being cup-tied for the EFL Cup final, Anthony Gordon is available to play on Saturday and will probably challenge Allan Saint-Maximin for the left flank starting spot.
The only injured player for Newcastle is Emil Krafth (ACL), but Bruno Guimaraes should be able to recover from a minor ankle injury sustained at Wembley and start in center midfield alongside Sean Longstaff and Joelinton. Joe Willock is also a candidate for a starting midfield position after recovering from a thigh injury.
Ederson, Walker, Akanji, Dias, Ake, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Foden, Haaland, and Grealish might be Manchester City’s starting lineup.
Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton, Almiron, Wilson, and Saint-Maximin are possible starters for Newcastle United.
Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle United.
Newcastle’s previous 12 games in all competitions have seen no more than two goals scored, but the net rippled six times the last time they faced Man City, and more goalmouth action could be in store on Saturday.
The Magpies will be eager to bounce back with a tenacious showing at the Etihad, but they might find it difficult to manage a title-chasing Citizens team that has played more clinically in the last two games.