• Benjamin Wolfe

Covid crisis in the Premier League – Newcastle vs Manchester City Preview

Title-chasing Manchester City look to retain their place at the summit of the Premier League with a visit to struggling Newcastle. Pep Guardiola had a Covid scare but has returned a negative test and will be allowed to travel.

Team News:


Aside from Ferran Torres with his long-term metatarsal injury, Pep Guardiola has everybody else fit and available for the trip to Newcastle. Joao Cancelo has returned from his suspension too. Heading into the typically busy Christmas schedule with a full squad should be a sizeable advantage.


Predicted City XI:


Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo; Sterling, Grealish, Mahrez

Match Officials:


Referee: Martin Atkinson

Assistants: Lee Betts, Darren Cann

Fourth official: Peter Bankes

VAR: Craig Pawson

Assistant VAR: Richard West

Overview:


Kick-off: 14:00

Venue: St James’ Park

Shown: Sky Sports Main Event


As game after game falls victim to postponement due to rising Covid cases, it does not appear Manchester City’s game against Newcastle is at risk. Six games have already been called off, with only a single game taking place today in Leeds United v Arsenal. However, games such as Aston Villa v Burnley were called off with only hours’ notice.


It feels as though we are heading for a league postponement, and sooner rather than later.


Covid aside, it would appear that yet another Manchester City vs Liverpool title race is brewing. Whilst this is great for the sport and the league, it doesn’t fill me with joy. My heart can’t take another neck and neck race like in previous seasons. Of course, Chelsea are still in the race but are faltering of late.


Pep’s men on the other hand have won seven consecutive Premier League games, with the latest outing being a 7-0 destruction of Leeds United at the Etihad. The returning Kevin De Bruyne took centre stage in that show, and oh boy it was nice to see. Bernardo Silva has been the best midfielder in the world this season for me, but Kevin De Bruyne is the best midfielder in the world. You know what I mean.

Photo courtesy of Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In fact, looking up and down the Manchester City squad, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any players totally out of form. Jack Grealish is fast adapting to Pep Guardiola football, whilst Gabriel Jesus is thriving on the wings and Raheem Sterling is looking every bit his old self of late. It’s a great time to be a City fan and we should all be looking forward to every single game.


Eddie Howe and Newcastle on the other hand, are likely very worried at the prospect of facing City right now. Especially after that mauling of Leeds United in midweek. No game is easy or certain, but when City get into their stride, we are very tough to stop. It’s why we hold the record for consecutive wins in the Premier League with eighteen.


Another win takes us that much closer to another title. Barring a huge upset, that’s what I’m expecting.

Opposition:


Eddie Howe has been in charge of Newcastle for a little over six weeks. His side currently sits joint bottom of the table on points with just ten. However, the mood around the club is still hopeful. After the takeover of the club by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, there is weight behind their hope. Assuming the club survives this season (I think they will), I think we can all reasonably expect huge changes for the northeast outfit.


Focusing more on tomorrow’s game, however, and Newcastle will host the champions without Paul Dummett (calf injury) and Federico Fernandez (thigh injury). The club are in serious trouble and a poor run of form, with only a single win in the campaign so far. However, anything can happen, and Newcastle will still put up a huge fight. They took the lead against Liverpool in their previous fixture. Poor form doesn’t mean pushover.


Newcastle recent league form: LDWLL


Recent History vs Newcastle:


City have won their previous four encounters with Newcastle and have won seven of the last ten. In fact, going back as far as 2005, City have only lost two games in total to the Magpies and only one of those was in the league. Last seasons game at St James’s Park was a goal fest with City coming out on top 4-3. Ferran Torres scored arguably the goal of the season in that game.

Photo courtesy of Stu Forster/Getty Images

Predicted Newcastle XI:


Dubravka; Lewis, Lascelles, Schaer, Maquillo; Murphey, Shelvey, Hayden, Willock; Joelinton, Saint-Maxim

Prediction:


Like Leeds in midweek, City should have far too much for Newcastle. You can never say for certain, but whatever is right below certainty is where this prediction sits. Kevin De Bruyne is back, City are firing and not conceding many goals. I’m going for a 0-4 win to City with goals from Aymeric Laporte, Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

Photo courtesy of Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Written by: @CityReportBen


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