Man City vs. Newcastle
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Kick off: 5:30PM
Manchester City head into today’s Premier League clash with Newcastle United looking to get back to winning ways having been held by newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.
The Magpies make the trip to the Etihad Stadium still looking for their first victory of the season, with the Magpies playing their third “top six” side in their opening four fixtures.
Being held by Wolves last weekend has resulted in City missing out on maintaining their position at the top of the standings, but manager Pep Guardiola is unlikely to be too concerned with his side’s failure to emerge victorious at Molineux.
The defending champions only conceded due to a goal which should not have stood while also striking the woodwork on three occasions, including through Sergio Aguero who hit a 25-yard free kick off the crossbar in the final minute of added-on time.
The result would have irked Guardiola, who demands perfection from his side each time that they take to the pitch, but it effectively took a little bit of pressure off the North-West giants at a time when they are expected to steamroller through the opposition.
Guardiola is also yet to go for consistency with his team selection, with the injury to Kevin De Bruyne serving as a warning that he may not be able to risk rushing back any player who featured at the World Cup.
Nicolas Otamendi is still awaiting his first opportunity at the back, while the likes of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus have found themselves drafted in and out of the starting lineup.
That will likely change as the season progresses with Guardiola having more opportunities to establish a settled side for the club’s important matches, whether that be in the Premier League or the Champions League.
A meeting with a struggling Newcastle side could not have been timed more perfectly for Guardiola and his squad, with the opportunity there to head into the international break having righted the wrongs of the disappointment against Wolves.
Newcastle will have other ideas about the showdown at the Etihad Stadium, but an early goal could provide the platform for a ruthless showing from the home team.
While City’s only concern is ensuring that they improve their conversion ratio in front of goal, Newcastle and manager Rafael Benitez must find a way to get their first win on the season on the board.
The Magpies were unfortunate not to earn anything from home fixtures with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, and a missed penalty in the final minute at Cardiff City effectively cost the club two points which could turn out to be vital come the end of the season.
Man City possible XI: Ederson, Stones, Otamendi, Laporte, B.Silva, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Mendy, Sane, Mahrez, Aguero.
Newcastle possible XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Clark, Fernandez, Schar, Dummett, Murphy, Diame, Ki, Ritchie, Rondon.