Manchester City host a struggling Newcastle United side this weekend as the defending champions look to move within two points of league leaders Arsenal at the match-week.
Having lost only one of their last five league outings, Pep Guardiola’s side will be keen on finding momentum in results moving forward whilst the visitors will look to return to their best form as they aim to mount a challenge for the top-four moving into the busy end of the season.
Whilst favourites alongside Arsenal for the EPL title come to the end of the season, the hosts will be keen on continuing to perform on the pitch despite the challenging fixture schedule up ahead. With the visitors likely to provide for an uphill battle on the pitch on Saturday, City will look to perform to the best of their abilities this weekend.
On the other hand, sitting four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with two games in hand, Newcastle will be keen on a positive result at the Etihad Stadium. With both sides having played out a 3-3 draw in their last league meeting; earlier this season, the Magpies will be keen on securing nothing but three points this weekend.
When & Where?
Venue: Etihad Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 4th February 2023.
Time: 12:30 GMT.
Referee: Simon Hooper.
Assistant Referees: Adrian Holmes, Simon Long.
Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor.
VAR Official: Michael Salisbury.
The availability of John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, and Stefan Ortega remains uncertain with each of the players expected to be assessed ahead of kick-off on Saturday. Guardiola is expected to make a number of changes to the side that defeated Bristol City mid-week, with the likes of Rodri, Erling Haaland, and Kyle Walker, amongst others, expected to regain their spot in the starting lineup facing Newcastle.
Nick Pope is expected to return to the starting lineup after serving his one-game suspension whilst Emil Krafth continues to recover from his long-term injury, with the latter being the only absentee of the game against City this weekend. January arrival Anthony Gordon emerges as a contender for a starting spot whilst Bruno Guimaraes is expected to return to the starting line-up at the Etihad.
With the stakes high and both sides desperate for a win, Saturday’s match could be an exciting contest. Manchester City will want to put up a dominant performance at home where they can control most of the possession while the visitors will want to keep things close by playing a competitive game.
With Newcastle boasting an energetic frontline and midfield capable of countering the home side’s attributes, City will be keen on retaining control for most part of the game on Saturday. Likely to utilise the flanks in stretching the opposition, Guardiola will look to exploit pockets of spaces across the attacking third alongside stifling the opposition’s ball progression through the central areas of the pitch. Additionally, with both sides having been effective on set pieces, the hosts will be wary of giving-up goal-scoring opportunities through the same on Saturday.
On the other hand, expected to remain competitive in their approach, the visitors will look to perform to the best of their abilities this weekend. Despite their recent dip in form, Eddie Howe’s side will look to physically dominate the opposition whilst also seeking advantage of City’s high defensive line this weekend. With boisterous players spread across key positions within the side, the Magpies are expected to remain proactive in possession alongside deploying a counter-press against City.
Erling Haaland – Manchester City
The league’s most prolific goal-scorer, Haaland is expected to remain key to the home side’s prospects for a victory on Saturday. Boasting elite attributes, the forward’s movement and physicality around the penalty box are expected to test the opposition’s defence this weekend.
Allan Saint-Maximin – Newcastle United
Expected to retain his spot in the starting line-up, Saint-Maximin will be keen on delivering a notable display this weekend. With the forward looking to cement his place in the starting line-up, the Frenchman’s pace and trickery are expected to severely test the home side’s resolve at the Etihad.
Manchester City predicted lineup vs Newcastle United: Ederson; Kyle Walker, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake; Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan; Phil Foden, Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish.
Newcastle United predicted lineup vs Manchester City: Nick Pope; Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman, Dan Burn; Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton; Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin.