Manchester City’s inconsistencies have seen them drop to 8th in the table and they are already 8 points behind Champions Liverpool, the title race was expected to be between Manchester City and Liverpool this season too like it has been for the previous 2 season’s but City’s drop in form has made way for other teams and the likes of Leicester and Manchester United now seem to be pushing Liverpool for the Top spot. Pep Guardiola’s men do have one saving grace and that is their game in hand they have played fewer games than Chelsea, Spurs and Leicester and Everton meaning if they manage to win their game in hand they could go into the top 4.
The Blue half of Manchester do have a mixed run of fixtures coming up, Facing Newcastle(H), Everton(A), and Chelsea(A). After these games City have Brighton, Crystal Palace, West Brom, Sheffield United, & Burnley, games that the Citizens would expect to take all three points from. The upcoming run of games could decide how City’s season pans out and with other teams showing no signs of slowing down, City need to try to do their best to keep pace with those ahead of them.
This Weekend’s opponents are no pushovers either, in their last three meetings with Newcastle, City have managed just one win which came towards the back end of last season, it was games like this that derailed City’s title ambitions and if Pep and his team are not careful another setback could be on the cards. Manchester City do head into this game unbeaten in their last 5 and after an impressive win against Arsenal in the League Cup Quarter Finals in midweek City would want no less than another mammoth victory.
Predicted Line-Up: 4-3-3 Formation
City’s No.1 was given a rest for the Cup tie against Arsenal and should be ready to start the Game this Boxing Day.
Defense: Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, John Stones, João Cancelo
For the first time in quite a while we are seeing Pep Guardiola go with a consistent back four, it does come as a surprise however that Aymeric Laporte is not part of the City’s main back four. This could be to help Laporte recover from some niggling injuries, but surely there has to be a place for the Center Back, he was instrumental in City’s title winning season forming an incredible partnership with then Captain Vincent Kompany, so his absence has been a surprise for many. Kyle Walker and Cancelo have all but cemented their place as first choice full backs, but City do have Benjamin Mendy and Nathan Ake on the bench as back-up Fullbacks.
Midfield: Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan
Fernandinho won’t be needed for Boxing Day’s game, Newcastle are going to sit deep for large portions of the game and Rodri will most likely start this game, alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan who were both rested in midweek. De Bruyne’s creativity will be the main source of concern for Newcastle and his ability to pick open tight Defenses with a single pass could change the game for Manchester City. Ilkay Gundogan’s work and industry will warrant his inclusion, closing down Newcastle on counter attacks and recovering possession is a very underrated aspect of Gundogan’s game.
Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Ferran Torres/ Riyad Mahrez
This is where City’s squad depth is clearly seen, having the ability to rotate is a blessing for any team during the packed Christmas period, with games coming thick and fast resting Key players could give Manchester City an edge over their Rivals. Raheem Sterling and Aguero were both rested in midweek and could both feature for this game. Ferran Torres could be given the nod for this game playing out on the wing, the versatile forward could feature on the Right Flank, with Sterling on the Left and Aguero through the Middle. Torres was also rested and didn’t start in midweek meaning he could start on Saturday.