Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Newcastle United vs Manchester City Preview
Manchester City return to the road as they head up to Newcastle on Sunday, August 21, with kick-off at 4:30 pm (BST). Sky Sports will broadcast the game live in the United Kingdom.
Pep Guardiola confirmed that City's latest signing, left-back Sergio Gomez is up to speed and available for Sunday's game. The Blues are operating at close to full strength, with Kalvin Phillips and Cole Palmer available for the weekend too, after worries and niggles kept them excluded from last week's 4-0 win over Bournemouth.
"Everyone is okay" were the manager's words on Friday, but this obviously excludes Aymeric Laporte, whose knee injury is holding him back, seemingly until after the September international break.
As for the team itself, there might be reticence to change a winning squad, even with the midweek friendly against Barcelona set to be a chance for players lacking minutes to build up their sharpness. Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo surely continue at full-back, and John Stones, whilst worthy of a start, is unlikely to supplant the much in form and left-footed Nathan Ake but could come in for Ruben Dias.
In midfield, the same three continue for me. Club captain Ilkay Gundogan is in on merit, Rodri looks imperious and Kevin De Bruyne is De Bruyne. Bernardo Silva might be itching to get on the pitch, but surely, a first start of the season at the Camp Nou would be a much more entertaining prospect anyway?
As for up top: Phil Foden, Erling Haaland and then pick another. I'm going with Jack Grealish. Whilst Newcastle players and fans might be fired up by Super Jack's choice words about Newcastle winger Miguel Almiron at City's title parade in May, Grealish is on the right path, and playing time is the way to continue down it.
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Ake, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Foden, Haaland, Grealish.
League position: 1st
Top scorer: Erling Haaland (2)
Previous result: W 4-0 vs Bournemouth (H)
The best thing to say about City, at the moment, is they look like they're having fun. They ravaged Bournemouth. Most of the game was spent in Bournemouth's final third, with 67% possession, a figure that could've been higher if City didn't shut down after 3. They gave the Cherries one shot on target, zero big chances. Sterile industrialisation of football they said after a West Ham game that was similar in its dominance. If that's anything to go by and City repeat their performance at St James' Park, I'm half expecting tears in the press box in Newcastle.
City are a ruthless winning machine, and no doubt they'll fall into ruts in games and drop points as others have already so early at some point this season. But Bob Marley's Don't Worry, Be Happy rings in my ears at the thought of the Blues in recent weeks. Haaland is phenomenal, even when he doesn't make the scoresheet - two completed passes at the weekend, and he still got an assist. Defenders have no idea how to defend the constant threats City keep posing, and surely sterner tests are coming, but for now? Don't worry. Be happy. City will be determined to keep the train rolling on; six points, six goals, none conceded. It's been a perfect start. Some pundits said the overhaul in the transfer window would impact City this season but has it? Haaland and Julian Alvarez have settled well and look bright in their early performances. Phillips, whilst yet to play, looks to be a great dressing room fit and knows the England lads well enough to where settling in is no real issue. As for Stefan Ortega and Gomez, we may have to wait for their first starts, but City do their homework. It's never just been about talent with our signings, but personality too.
Eyes on the road ahead, it's a busy year for the Blues, and we should enjoy the occasion!
League position: 5th
Top scorer: Schar, Wilson (1)
Previous result: D 0-0 v Brighton (A)
Eddie Howe and his merry band of Magpies are looking fantastic. No competitive defeats since their visit to the Etihad in early May, their new acquisitions in Sven Botman, Nick Pope and the now permanently signed Matt Targett are up to speed and playing well already. St James' Park is a rowdy atmosphere, one City are used to scrapping in. It's a favourite away trip for those without vertigo, but Newcastle, in the simplest terms, are one thing: not pushovers. It's not going to be a simple game, and City shouldn't be complacent, and neither should the fans.
Newcastle have opened their season with two clean sheets, their defensive improvements are there for all to see since the January window, and signing 2021 French champion Botman at centre-back is a way to keep improving it. Kieran Trippier is also available, which he wasn't in May – so beware of set pieces.
Bruno Guimaraes is just going from strength to strength and even receiving attention from Real Madrid. Whilst a bid is still unlikely, the midfielder is worthy of the high praise he receives. An elite holding midfielder with all the flair you'd expect from a player from Brazil. He ranks as one of the best creative central midfielders in the Premier League, and one of its best tacklers too (3.65 p90). Ball progresser, goal scorer, defender. He has it all. Paired with Joelinton, whose renaissance in midfield has turned him into a ball-winning machine, with energy to match Bernardo Silva.
Callum Wilson is also available, and his account for 22/23 is open, bagging in Gameweek 1 in a win over Nottingham Forest. Newcastle United are set for the season and look ready to push on. The fans are hyped, and no doubt will make themselves known to Grealish especially, despite Eddie Howe's warning to his players on that very topic.
Their lineup should spring no surprises. Nick Pope between the sticks, Trippier and Targett flanking a likely partnership of Botman and Fabian Schar in defence. The two Brazilians in midfield with Joe Willock and a front 3 of Wilson with Alan Saint-Maximin and Almiron wide.
Predicted XI: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Targett; Willock, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Saint-Maximin, Wilson, Almiron.
Head to Head
The two sides last met in May at the Etihad Stadium, where City romped to victory in a 5-0 win, with scorers including Foden and Rodri, among others.
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistants: Lee Betts & Ian Hussin
Fourth Official: Tony Harrington
VAR: Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR: Marc Perry
Written by: @olicoulsxn
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