Newcastle United vs. Man City
Venue: St. James’ Park
Kick off: 6:30PM
Manchester City return to action just three days after being dethroned as champions of England when they switch their attention to an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle United this evening.
Pep Guardiola’s side may have had the Premier League trophy prised from their two-year grip, but they remain FA Cup holders and are favourites to win the competition again ahead of their trip to St James’ Park.
The destination of the 2019-20 Premier League title has been known for some time, but the act of having it officially confirmed will nonetheless hurt Man City as their reign as kings of England comes to an end.
Guardiola’s side have firmly established themselves as one of the greatest teams in English football history over the last two years, amassing 198 league points in that time and producing the first ever domestic clean sweep of trophies last term.
One of the best-ever have been comfortably second best in the league this season, and yet it could still end up being one of the most memorable campaigns in their history as they look to bring in even more silverware.
The EFL Cup is already in the bag for the third year in a row and fifth time in the last seven seasons, and they are favourites to become the first team since Arsenal in 2015 to retain the FA Cup too.
With their holy grail the Champions League also to come in August, Man City could still end up winning another treble this season, and with the league out of reach that means that they are likely to prioritise the FA Cup for now.
That will not come as particularly welcome news for Newcastle or any of the other clubs in the competition as Man City go into this quarter-final looking to chalk up a 10th successive FA Cup win – last losing in the competition back in February 2018.
City have scored a whopping 35 goals at a rate of almost four per game since then, while they have conceded just four times at the other end, keeping six clean sheets.
It is a formidable record for sure, but Guardiola’s side have looked much more mortal this season and, in the Premier League alone, have already been beaten eight times in 2019-20.
Another defeat today would see them lose three successive away games for the first time since October 2016, and it is worth noting that they were only able to come away with a draw from their league visit to St James’ Park this term.
Newcastle have won the last two FA Cup meetings between these two sides at home too, while in all competitions it is now seven games unbeaten at St James’ Park for the Magpies – a run which stretches back to New Year’s Day.
Remarkably, Ahmed Elmohamady’s equaliser for Aston Villa on Wednesday night was the first goal Steve Bruce’s side had conceded at home since Rochdale’s visit in the FA Cup on January 14, ending a run of five successive clean sheets.
The firepower at Man City’s disposal might test that further today, although it is Newcastle who have scored more goals than any other club left in the competition so far this season, netting 11 times in wins over Rochdale, Oxford United and West Bromwich Albion.
That tally has admittedly been aided by needing two replays from their three meetings with lower-league opposition, though, whereas Man City have made little fuss in getting past Port Vale, Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday so far.
Newcastle have not knocked the holders out of the FA Cup since 1957, although as it happens that was also against Man City – one of six Newcastle wins from eight previous ties between these two sides in the FA Cup.
Adding another victory to that tally might just make fans believe that this is finally the year they will end a trophy drought which stretches back to when they last got their hands on the FA Cup in 1955.
The Magpies are already enjoying their best FA Cup run since 2006, and should they go further on Sunday then it will be another feather in the cap of Bruce, whose appointment was so widely questioned among the club’s fans.
Newcastle possible XI: Darlow, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose, Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Carroll.
Man City possible XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Otamendi, Garcia, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Rodri, D Silva, Bernardo, Jesus, Sane.