Reigning champions Manchester City face a stern test as Eddie Howe’s Newcastle travel to the Etihad Stadium for the first meeting of the 2023-24 Premier League campaign between two of last season’s top four.
Manchester City vs Newcastle: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer isn’t giving Newcastle United much chance of a result here even though they won so convincingly on the opening weekend of the season. City are being given a 69.0% chance of victory, while Newcastle only have a 11.1% chance.
- Newcastle have never won in 18 Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium (D2 L16), with their last away league win against City coming at Maine Road in September 2000. It’s the most any team has played at a specific venue without winning in Premier League history.
- Following their 5-1 win over Aston Villa, Newcastle are looking to win their opening two games of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 1997-98.
Manchester City began their quest to become the first English team ever team to win four consecutive top-flight titles with a convincing 3-0 win at newly promoted Burnley on Matchday 1. It was about as predictable a result as they come, with Erling Haaland taking just three minutes and five seconds to find the net; in doing so he scored the earliest goal in a Premier League season for five years (since Paul Pogba’s goal for Manchester United against Leicester City, two minutes and 23 seconds into 2018-29).
They now face a much bigger test in the shape of Eddie Howe’s Newcastle, who sit top of the table after their extremely impressive 5-1 win over Aston Villa last week. Alexander Isak was the best player on the opening weekend of the season according to the Opta Player Ratings, scoring two goals and thus becoming the first player to score twice for Newcastle in their first game of a Premier League season since Obafemi Martins against Bolton in 2007-08. Newcastle’s aim will likely be another top-four finish this season, but after the resounding victory over Villa, some fans might be dreaming of even bigger things.
The omens are bad for them this weekend, though. They haven’t won their first two games of a Premier League campaign since 1997-98, and their record against Man City – particularly at the Etihad Stadium – is nothing short of atrocious.
Man City have lost just one of their last 31 Premier League games against Newcastle, winning 25 and drawing five, with that defeat – a 2-1 loss – coming at St. James’ Park in January 2019. At the Etihad, meanwhile, City have won each of their last 14 Premier League games against Newcastle, scoring 48 goals and conceding just seven. It’s both City’s longest winning home run and Newcastle’s longest losing away run against specific opposition in the clubs’ league histories.
However, Newcastle are a much stronger team these days than they would have been for many of the meetings in that run, and confidence will be high after they thrashed Aston Villa on the opening day. It might not be high enough that they believe they have a genuine chance of ending their poor run at City, but they certainly have more of a chance than they did in any other recent meeting, with Newcastle having spent much of their recent history battling relegation while City fought for the title.
Haaland now has 38 goals in 36 Premier League appearances, and much of Newcastle’s hopes will rest on how much they can keep the City forward under wraps. They have firepower of their own in Isak and Callum Wilson, though, with Wilson ranking second to Haaland for minutes per goal in the Premier League since the start of last season, having scored every 100 minutes on average to Haaland’s 75 (minimum five goals scored).
City will be without a key man in Kevin De Bruyne, which will mean the service to Haaland won’t be quite what it always is. Pep Guardiola confirmed this week that it is a “serious” hamstring injury that may require surgery which would mean “three or four months out.”
Newcastle have no fresh injury concerns, with Joe Willock, Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo still out.
Manchester City vs Newcastle Head-to-Head
Manchester City have scored in each of their last 29 Premier League games against Newcastle, a record for one side against another in the competition. On top of this, City have scored in each of their last 16 halves of Premier League football against Newcastle, which is a joint-record in the competition.
City rarely fail to score against anyone and even though Newcastle had the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League last season, they still conceded five goals in their two games against City. Even without De Bruyne, City will believe they can extend their run of never having lost at the Etihad in the Premier League to Newcastle (18 games).
City could also reach a major landmark in this game. Having scored 97 Premier League goals against Newcastle, their opponents here could become the first team to concede a century of goals in the competition against City. City have scored at least three times against Newcastle in five of their last seven meetings, and nobody would be surprised if they were to score three more here to make it to 100.
Man City vs Newcastle Opta Power Rankings
The Opta’s Power Rankings are a global team-ranking system that assigns an ability score over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of the game this weekend, here are the Opta Power Rankings for both sides.
Both teams come into this game on the back of impressive performances and victories in their first game of the 2023-24 season. City brushed Vincent Kompany’s Burnley aside at Turf Moor on Friday night, before Newcastle battered Aston Villa at St James’ Park.
City have won 21 of their last 23 Premier League games at the Etihad, with the exceptions coming in consecutive games against Brentford (1-2) and Everton (1-1) in November/December last year. Newcastle had the third best away record in the Premier League last season, losing only three times in 19 games, though they did end 2022-23 with only one win in their final four away games, losing at Villa and drawing with Chelsea and Leeds.
Manchester City vs Newcastle Prediction
It’s difficult to ever predict anything other than a Manchester City win given their dominance of domestic football over the last few years, and even if Newcastle are one of the better teams in the Premier League, they will have to be at their very best to stand any chance of getting a result here.
The Opta supercomputer is giving City, who are huge favourites to win the title, a 69.0% chance of beating Newcastle again here. Newcastle are given just 11.1% chance of pulling off an unlikely upset, with the draw at 19.9%.
Everything points to another City win, though they do have to contend without De Bruyne here and that could make a telling difference that gives Newcastle just a glimmer of hope at a ground where they have fared terribly over the years.