Back in August, these two sides played out a cracker at St. James’ Park. But with expectation heightened for each side, what will happen at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday? Here’s our preview of Manchester City vs Newcastle, along with the Opta pre-match prediction.
Man City vs Newcastle: The Quick Hits
- Manchester City’s title hopes stay on track, with the Opta prediction making them favourites to beat Newcastle.
- A third defeat in a row for Eddie Howe’s side in all competitions as fateful February gives way to maddening March.
- Will Kevin De Bruyne or Ederson bring up their own personal centuries?
All of us have been through heartbreaking moments in our life.
And for some, these have occurred at Wembley Stadium (especially in this Reading fan’s case, hey Stuart Lovell).
But as ever, what’s important is how you bounce back. Wipe away those tears of EFL Cup final disappointment Newcastle fans, it’s back to the Premier League this weekend and, taking a look at the fixture list with hope, ah, it’s other Manchester side who await…
It’s a chance to brush off what ended up being an extremely disappointing month for the Magpies. Their four domestic games all ended without a victory, the first time they’ve gone a month without a win since April 2021.
For City, Arsenal’s victory in midweek over Everton saw the Gunners extend their advantage at the summit to five points. Not an insurmountable mountain to climb by any stretch of the imagination, but more dropped points like those against Tottenham Hotspur (0-1) and Nottingham Forest (1-1) last month will put their hopes of a third successive Premier League title at serious risk.
@optaanalyst The Treble? Pep says to forget about it and focus on the Premier League title race. We are still predicting them to win it…just. #Premierleague #football #fyp #soccer #foryou #footballtiktok #mancity #foryoupage #mcfc #manchestercity #arsenal #manchesterunited ♬ original sound – optaanalyst
Newcastle United 3-3 Manchester City – 21 August 2022 (Premier League)
When Ilkay Gundogan put City ahead after just five minutes back in August, you could have been forgiven from thinking this would turn into yet another Manchester City victory.
Instead, a trio of strikes from Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson and a sublime free-kick from Kieran Trippier put Pep Guardiola’s side on the backfoot, with their blushes being spared by Erling Haaland and Bernado Silva in a four minute-salvo. Both sides did have chances to claim all three points in a match that really ebbed and flowed and a repeat in the early kick-off in England on Saturday will have many glued to the television screen.
For the Magpies, it marked the first time they had avoided defeat in their first three games of a league season since the 2011-12, when they would go on to finish fifth under Alan Pardew. If they avoid defeat here, it’ll be the time they would have done so in both matches against Man City in a Premier League season since 2004-2005. Potentially a good omen if they are to keep their hopes of UEFA Champions League qualification alive.
Newcastle won’t be overawed by being on the road in this game though. They are unbeaten in the last eight Premier League matches (W4 L4) away from St. James’ Park, and only once in their top-flight history have they gone on a longer run, all the way back between November 1907 and March 1908 (10). And perhaps an amazing bit of symmetry could be on hand here – the Magpies have drawn their last three such games. That run over a century ago saw them draw the last six of them.
To do that, they’ll have to break a slight curse against the Cityzens. Pep Guardiola’s side have won their last 13 Premier League home games against Newcastle. And on a much more recent scale, they’ve won 14 of their last 16 Premier League matches (D1 L1) at the Etihad Stadium.
One issue for City in recent weeks has been the shipping of goals, especially for Ederson. He’s closing in on his 100th clean sheet in the Premier League but has been agonisingly sat on 99 for the past five games. Only once has he conceded in more consecutive appearances for City (eight, between December 2018 and January 2019).
Man City will have been bouyed by their midweek FA Cup victory over Bristol City. Phil Foden appeared back to his best for with two goals either side of half-time, so it will be interesting when the team news drops as to whether he will keep his place in the starting lineup having also played in their 4-1 victory over Bournemouth last weekend.
Newcastle will be sweating over the fitness of Bruno Guimaraes, who went off after suffering a recurrence on an ankle injury against Man Utd in their cup final defeat.
Players to Watch
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne
There’s a chance that Kevin De Bruyne will close in on his own Premier League milestone this weekend and register his 100th assist in the competition, becoming just the fifth player to reach the century after Ryan Giggs (162), Cesc Fabregas (111), Wayne Rooney (103) and Frank Lampard (102).
The midfielder is leading the way when it comes to assists this season (12), although he probably faces an uphill challenge to make it back-to-back Premier League Player of the Years honours due to a certain Norwegian team-mate, who finds himself leading the Premier League scorers this season.
So why could De Bruyne hit the 100-mark on Saturday? Well, he’s provided seven assists against the Magpies in his Premier League career, five of those coming at the Etihad Stadium. He’s only registered more against Southampton and Watford (nine). It’d be a nice way to round off that mark here, wouldn’t it?
Newcastle: Allan Saint-Maximim
Earlier this week on Opta Analyst, our good friend Alex Keble dove into the blueprint (on the field, at least) that has turned Newcastle into challengers at the top of the league table rather than the bottom.
At risk of repeating some of his great prose about the likes of Nick Pope (although the goalkeeper will miss out on this game following his red card against Liverpool – Martin Dubravka is expected to take his place between the posts), one thing that does stand out is Eddie Howe’s decision making when it comes to the players he trusts. Nine players have started 20 or more of their league games so far this season – could this inability to rotate the squad be one of the reasons behind why they’ve only won one of their last seven Premier League games? Perhaps, but maybe there’s a solution coming over the horizon.
Much has been made of Saint-Maximin’s perceived lack of work-rate compared to some of the other wingers that Eddie Howe has put in his lineups at times this season, but his progressive carries per 90 (6.91) far outstrip many of his team-mates. And recent games have seen former Bournemouth manager Howe be willing to give him more game-time, including his first full Premier League 90 minutes since sustaining a hamstring injury back in August.
His energy could be key in the run-in if others are beginning to wilt after a strenuous campaign. He showed glimmers of a promising partnership with former La Liga striker Alexander Isak in their fightback against Fulham last month, more of the same and it could be enough.
Man City vs Newcastle Prediction
It’s quite emphatic what the supercomputer has to say as these sides go head-to-head, but the Opta prediction is that Manchester City are going to, comfortably, run out victors against Newcastle United on Saturday.
Maybe our supercomputer is believing that Manchester City are going to score the first goal of the game at the Etihad Stadium. After all, Newcastle are one of three sides yet to win a Premier League game when conceding first this season alongside Brentford and Nottingham Forest, although they have only shipped the opener on five occasions, the fewest of any team.
Defeat will be the first time that Newcastle have lost three in a row in all competitions since April 2022, having lost just two of their first 29 games in the 2022-23 season. It will also see Manchester City extend their run of having scored in successive games against the Magpies to 29 Premier League games.
As we said earlier, Arsenal’s win had ramifications for the supercomputer with it now predicting that the Gunners will be Premier League champions at the end of the season. Manchester United are sniffing at their cross-city rivals heels though, especially if they can pick up points from their game in hand.
Newcastle shouldn’t be written off a top four finish though, according to our Premier League predictions – victories in their TWO games in hand will propel them ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in the standings. But overall, both Spurs (31.4%) and the seemingly resurgent Liverpool (28.4%) are being given more of a chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season than the Magpies (19.5%), although they are ahead of the likes of Fulham and Chelsea (0.2%).
It’s a long way from the start of last season when they were battling the likes of Leeds, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Wolves, West Ham and Leicester City.