Manchester City vs Newcastle United: Line-ups
Tough challenge for the Magpies
Two of the Premier League’s big winners on the opening weekend square off in an intriguing Etihad encounter on Saturday night, as Manchester City host Newcastle United. The Magpies demolished Aston Villa 5-1 at St James’ Park last weekend, while Pep Guardiola’s side recently clinched UEFA Super Cup glory against Sevilla.
While some people wait a long time for a bus and two come at once, the Man City faithful endured years of European agony before witnessing their side win two continental honours in the space of two months, and their Super Cup success followed a straightforward opening 3-0 Premier League win over Burnley.
Now returning to their Etihad headquarters for the first time this season, Man City are aiming to stretch their magnificent Premier League winning streak on familiar turf to 11 matches, having triumphed in all of their top-flight home meetings in 2023 since being held by Everton on New Year’s Eve.
Sitting clear of Man City and Brighton & Hove Albion on goal difference with 37 games left to play, Newcastle will soon have European football on their minds as they wait to learn who they will face in the Champions League group stage, but repairing an underwhelming away record is Howe’s number one priority at this moment in time.
It is nearly 12 months to the day since Newcastle and Man City played out a pulsating 3-3 draw at St James’ Park, but Guardiola’s side eased to a 2-0 victory at the Etihad in March and have not been bested by the Magpies since Rafael Benitez oversaw a 2-1 win in January 2019, where a Matt Ritchie penalty proved telling.
There were plenty of goals in this fixture 12 months ago, and a similarly entertaining encounter could ensue, as Howe’s goal-happy Newcastle should take plenty of encouragement from watching Sevilla’s bright attacking display in the Super Cup. Man City’s midweek fatigue and absence of De Bruyne will do them no favours either, but a rejigged squad should still have too much firepower for Newcastle, who are not the same dogged defensive unit they once were.