Man City (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted XI’s

Like the Christmas dinner we spend hours preparing and minutes eating, this one’s going to be short but sweet. Hopefully the result will be too, but don’t bank on a marauding Man City handing us the Christmas gifts West Ham did just a few days ago.

The win over the Hammers was huge. It stopped the rot, lifted us out of the relegation zone and gave Rafa and the boys a much needed boost ahead of a busy and relentless festive period.

Fortunately, results have also gone our way on Boxing Day. Whilst several sides in the bottom half picked up a point, not a single side got all three  – meaning no real ground has been made on us in a game week we honestly aren’t expecting much out of.

Some much needed positivity has been taken from our gutsy 3-2 win at West Ham on Saturday – a much needed result that gave us a  Merry Christmas – however this is a game where expectation must be managed.

Man City are quite possibly the most impressive Premier League side we’ve seen in the last decade. They’ve won 18 and drawn one of their 19 games so far this season, so we’re going to have to be at our best to compete with them – and even then it could be quite convincing.



With this is mind, lets just get behind the boys no matter what. This isn’t a game that will define our season and feels like a bit more of a free hit after Saturday’s win (and the results following), so lets get behind them and give Benitez and the boys the support they deserve (and need!) against an outstanding City side who’ll show no mercy.

Saturday’s game against Brighton is the big one. Yes this is a crack at some potential points and we should give it a real good go, but some atmosphere’s at St James’ have become slightly toxic recently and I’d hate to see any unnecessary negativity knock the boys back before Brighton.

The Team

The team that started vs West Ham – (4-4-2) Elliot – Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo – Ritchie, Diame, Saivet, Atsu, – Joselu, Gayle.

Funny one here. This team deserves another crack after a big performance at West Ham, but we have to play 3 games in just over 5 days and Rafa is almost certain to rotate.

Where will those changes come?

Diame and Saivet did superbly on Saturday, working well together and both getting on the scoresheet, but I’d be highly surprised if there’s not big changes in midfield. Merino and Hayden look set to return from knocks and Shelvey is back from suspension, so there’s three fresh sets of fresh legs there – and we’ll need endless amount of energy to keep at a Man City side who’ll be sure to move us about.

Another tough one, but Atsu might make way here. Unfortunate, as he was our stand out performer at West Ham and looked back to his best, however he’s had the odd injury issue and Rafa may have one eye on Brighton to rest him. Murphy or Aarons to be given a chance to show what they can do?

4-4-2 worked well at West Ham in a game where we found a better balance between attack and defence, however I can’t see past 4-2-3-1 here and the return of Ayoze Perez. Dwight Gayle to make way? He’s our goal threat and is getting back to his best, but we’ll have little of the ball and Joselu may be the man trusted to hold it up best he can.

 

The Opposition

They need no introduction really. City’s plethora of talent is devastating, with so many of their stars delivering this season.

De Bruyne and Silva will look to hurt us from central areas, with both possessing ridiculous vision and guile, whilst Sterling and Sane out wide likely to offer an ever present out ball and goal threat in behind.

Up top it’ll more than likely be Sergio Aguero – the man who has SEVEN goals in his last three games against NUFC..

 

CLICK HERE for an inside look at our opponents from a Man City perspective in this week’s  ‘Opposition Opinion’ piece. A recommended read before the game.

 

Form

Newcastle – 15th (15 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 1 / Drawn: 0 / Lost: 4

Man City – 1st – (55 pts) – Last 5 in the league /  Won: 5 / Drawn: 0 / Lost: 0

 

Team News

Shelvey is available once again after completing a two-game suspension. Merino and Hayden missed West Ham with ‘knocks’ but Benitez seemed hopeful that they’d return for this one.

Lejeune is a major doubt whilst Mitrovic and Gamez have been ruled out by Rafa. No news on Dummett, but he must be getting close to a return?

No new injuries to report in the Manchester City camp, but rotation is likely in the midst of this busy festive schedule.

John Stones is nearing a return but he won’t be back in time for this one.

Predicted Line-ups

Newcastle XI – (4-2-3-1) – Elliot – Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo – Merino, Hayden – Ritchie, Perez, Murphy, Joselu

Man City XI – (4-3-3) – Ederson – Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph – De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D. Silva – Sterling, Aguro, Sane.

Head-to-Heads

Aside from our valiant effort in last year’s 1-1 draw with City under Rafa, our last two meetings have led to pretty emphatic City wins (11-1 aggregate). This one’s not at the Etihad however..

 

Match Prediction

We’ll be coming into this one with some renewed confidence, but the gulf in class between the two playing squads is quite huge.

City have been an unstoppable force this season, and whilst I expect a decent atmosphere and a big effort, I don’t think it’ll be enough.

They’ve won EVERY single away game so far this season and I can’t see us stopping them – they’ve won 17 on the spin so it’s going to take something special to stop them.

 

Prediction: Newcastle 1-3 Man City

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

56 thoughts on “Man City (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted XI’s

  1. Thanks Olly and merry Christmas to you.
    For me it’s Silva and Aguro that are the real danger men, De Buryne gets lots of pludits and rightly so but Silva really makes them tick. As for Aguro, what can you say, incredible player, how I would love him in our team.
    Don’t envy Rafa one bit picking an 11 for this one, if we can keep it low scoring i’ll be happy, just don’t want us embarrassed on tv in front of millions .
    No Shelvey for me though, guys been a dick and should have to fight for his place now.
    0.3 hopefully no more than that.

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  2. Oh yes, hopefully I can post and interact with others tonight , thread always gets glitchy on match day for some strange reason.

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  3. Sterling, De Bruyne, Jesus and Aguero all in great form. Rest of team playing well. A draw is a ask today. Can’t see past a City win.

    Fingers crossed for a pleasant suprise but as long s we keep the score respectable then it’s no big shame to today.

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  4. Been reading an Arsenal forum. Seems they generally do not rate Ramsay… Wouldnt it be nice if we shkwed some ambition and went for players like him…

    They seem to think Wilshere is the Messiah.

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  5. shamrock:
    Been reading an Arsenal forum. Seems they generally do not rate Ramsay… Wouldnt it be nice if we shkwed some ambition and went for players like him…

    They seem to think Wilshere is the Messiah.

    i dont really rate Whiltshire could keep his place at B/Mouth Gosling kept him out a lot,plus hes injury prone

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  6. shamrock:
    Been reading an Arsenal forum. Seems they generally do not rate Ramsay… Wouldnt it be nice if we shkwed some ambition and went for players like him…

    They seem to think Wilshere is the Messiah.

    Ramsey is more of a work horse – a very decent one imo, who breaks things down and generally keeps his passes straight forward. He’ll get in the box now and again and get the odd goal each season, but gerenally he does the boring stuff.
    Whilshire will dribble with the ball more and stands out for that reason.
    Personally, I’d take Ramsey every time. I think Wenger rates him higher than Whilshire too – or sees him as more effective in the formation & 11 he likes to play.

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  7. icedog: i dont really rate Whiltshire could keep his place at B/Mouth Gosling kept him out a lot,plus hes injury prone

    Ice – to be fair, for all Gosling didn’t manage with us (largely due to injury as well), he’s a consent performer for B’mth

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  8. I hope Rafa has a bit craic with Pep tonight and sorts a loan out for young Foden. He’s a quality young #10 & whilst I don’t usually like the idea of developing other teams youngsters, it looks like loans are on the cards in Jan and he’d be one I’d take.

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  9. Good observations Sharpy. I would agree re: the Arsenal lads.

    As for developing other clubs players – depends who the clubs are. If it’s a rival then fair enough – but City and Chelsea are another matter. They are usually stellar prospects and if they are not with us, they will be with a rival – so may as well get in and grab them whilst they are in our affordability zone.

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  10. From the comments in the Chronicle:

    2 minutes ago
    JonMagg
    Mitrovich stated he`s never felt better & is 100% ready to play yet the manager say`s he`s out with a back injury & has been for 3 weeks.
    time for the club to start telling the truth.
    best of luck to the lad, let`s hope his replacement isn’t another parcel of Spanish dung.

    So true.

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  11. This is interesting. Net spend by each club over the last 5 years;
    http://www.transferleague.co.uk/premier-league-last-five-seasons/transfer-league-tables/premier-league-table-last-five-seasons

    Mourinho bleating on about Manure not spending enough. Bolox.

    Look Spurs! That is a very well run club.

    We have spent more than Stoke, Saints and Spurs. Still spent naff all – but our strategy is obviously flawed given our perennial relegation battles compared to those clubs.

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  12. Whisper that we are looking at Troy Deeney from Watford he would do the job,my only worry with him is to me he seems to be carrying to much weight imo

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  13. shamrock:
    From the comments in the Chronicle:

    2 minutes ago
    JonMagg
    Mitrovich stated he`s never felt better & is 100% ready to play yet the manager say`s he`s out with a back injury & has been for 3 weeks.
    time for the club to start telling the truth.
    best of luck to the lad, let`s hope his replacement isn’t another parcel of Spanish dung.

    So true.

    Sham – we get pissed off with the board members lying to us – I wonder if it’s ok that Rafa is?!.

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  14. shamrock:
    This is interesting. Net spend by each club over the last 5 years;
    http://www.transferleague.co.uk/premier-league-last-five-seasons/transfer-league-tables/premier-league-table-last-five-seasons

    Mourinho bleating on about Manure not spending enough. Bolox.

    LookSpurs! That is a very well run club.

    We have spent more than Stoke, Saints and Spurs. Still spent naff all – but our strategy is obviously flawedgiven our perennial relegation battles compared to those clubs.

    Sham – Burnley as well, who in the summer sold Andre Gray & Michael Keane to bring big money on. They only really spent on Wood & I think £10m on Cork.

    I still think your point about us buying the wrong players just to spend is a very valid one, and accounts for a lot of those figures I reckon.

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  15. Icedog:
    Whisper that we are looking at Troy Deeney from Watford he would do the job,my only worry with him is to me he seems to be carrying to much weight imo

    Ice – he was excellent for Watford in that first season they came up, but has gone right off the boil since then. I think his leadership & character could be as worthy as him as a forward.
    But I agree, his a chubby chops & Rafa would have to sort that. But he’s also a bit of a hot head too – got some red cards for clashes with players – out goes Mitrovic & in comes Deeney.

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  16. Sharpy I suspect a deal is already lined up for Mutro, so Rafa is just spinning the usual yarn in respect of these situations.

    Deeney as a Mitro replacement is fine by me. Wont score loads but better than Joselu, will terrify the opposition and also will keep teammates on their toes at the other end of the pitch. Ideal.

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  17. shamrock:
    Sharpy I suspect a deal is already lined up for Mutro, so Rafa is just spinning the usual yarn in respect of these situations.

    Deeney as a Mitro replacement is fine by me. Wont score loads but better than Joselu, will terrify the opposition and also will keep teammates on their toes at the other end of the pitch. Ideal.

    Sham – nah mate, Rafa should be honest. If not honest, then at least don’t lie about an injury that isn’t there.

    The worry with Deeney for me is that he’s another rivals fringe player – along with Gayle, Joselu, Ritchie, Atsu. If Watford don’t want him – why?. Im saying about his leadership qualities, but are they?, or are they disruptive?.
    He was great getting Watford to the PL, but is that the limit of his ability – if so, will we be left with another dud. He seems a better option that Perez and Diame at #10 – he probably is. But is that coz they are poor rather than him being very good. I think initially he seems a good signing, but I think it may be another short sighted signing personally.

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  18. shamrock:
    5 defenders on the pitch for us today. Whats the formation?

    An interesting/strange selection – going for 3 CBs I think with Dummett, Lascelles, Mbemba – 2 wingbacks – Yed & Manq. Shelvey & Diame in central midfield with Joselu the target man and the pace of Aaron’s & Murphy either side.

    Could be a master stroke or a total fuck up messing with a winning team.
    Personally I’d have went with Clark ahead of Dummett for fitness reason. Shelvey wouldn’t be straight back in my team either personally.

    But this suggests that Rafa has a plan he’s probably been working on all week – and he’s picked the players he’s felt have best adapted to what he wants them to do. I think the fact Dummett, Aaron’s and Mbemba are in there backs that up.

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  19. Well ream news out and another surprise. Back 3 with wing backs according to sky sports. Murphy and Aaron’s start with Joselu up front. Diame and Shelvey in the middle, Saivet not even on the bench so maybe keeping him for Saturday.

    Damage limitation maybe? 5 defenders… will it be enough? I fear not. I can only see another City win, but let’s see.

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  20. kimtoon:
    5 man defence might help but fear it still won’t cut it

    11 man defence in the first 25mins like 😂.
    This is an attack v defence training session – I hope Ederson brought a flask 😂.

    We’re doing well to limiting them to shots from distance so far though.

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  21. Fucking Yedlin!!!. Did not follow Sterling’s run at all there – I don’t rate him at all personally and that hair is shite!!.

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  22. Diame or Shelvey need to be on De Bryne as soon as he gets it!!.
    He’s getting way to much time to pick a pass in this first half

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  23. Well that was to be expected. Surprised it’s not more. Murphy was a lucky boy with that tackle. Let’s see what happens in the second half.

    I hope we go for it in a way. Nothing to lose. We expect nothing from this one.

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  24. The fucking pundits are slamming our defensive tactics as an embarrassment. What the hell do they want?!. We can’t go toe to toe with them or we get slaughtered.

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  25. Sharpy17:
    The fucking pundits are slamming our defensive tactics as an embarrassment.What the hell do they want?!.We can’t go toe to toe with them or we get slaughtered.

    Said the same thing Sharpy, we have no choice really.

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  26. Sharpy – Gary Neville has just made himself to look a right dick! He took Valencia to Barca and got beat 7-0. What did attacking them do for them?

    The fact is we cannot go at them. I actually think Rafa has made a good choice here. He’s looking at the bigger picture. Rest some players and play ultra defensive. Lose 1 or 2 and move on to Brighton with a few players rested.

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  27. kimtoon: Said the same thing Sharpy, we have no choice really.

    Kim – it’s nuts. Neville was gutted that City played Utd off the park at Old Trafford – they had a multi hundred million pound team!!.
    What the hell would they do to us?!?!?!!!

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  28. Stuart79:
    Sharpy – Gary Neville has just made himself to look a right dick! He took Valencia to Barca and got beat 7-0. What did attacking them do for them?

    The fact is we cannot go at them. I actually think Rafa has made a good choice here. He’s looking at the bigger picture. Rest some players and play ultra defensive. Lose 1 or 2 and move on to Brighton with a few players rested.

    Stu – it was working!. But Yedlin let Sterling run in behind and didn’t follow him think Mbemba would pick him up – one mistake – one – that’s all they’ve needed to punish us so far.
    But that numbskull reckons we should be going for it as the home side – tit!!.

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  29. If you look around us in the table, our goal difference is one of the better ones. If we can keep City at bay over the 2 games we have against them in the next month and lose by a couple each match, then that superior goal difference might just keep us up.

    I agree Rafa had no choice but to go defensive. It’s not a fair fight. It would be like sending in a 14-y-o against an adult in his prime in a boxing fight. Do you tell the kid to slog it out, or run away and try to get a lucky punch in from time to time?!

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  30. Rafa’s master plan. Rest players, bring the better ones on with 15 to go and have a go. Safe in the knowledge we can’t get slaughtered.

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  31. In the end, not enough but I could see Rafa’s tactics and they were pretty much as good a way of getting something as possible.

    Reckon we have enough to get something from Brighton, Stoke and Swansea but still need reinforcements.

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  32. Look how good natured it is between the players at the end. I wonder if Rafa has ordered the lads to befriend them so we can sign 1 or 2 of them haha.

    We have the best goal difference in the bottom 6.

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  33. One cock up from Yedlin away from a draw. Thought the tactics were spot on and almost paid off.

    This City side bossed Utd at Old Trafford.

    I bang on about it, but I thought our work rate tonight in closing down was good tonight – even World class players struggle when you give them little time on the ball.

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  34. I added up the cost of our starting 11 and came to about 50 million. So that’s less than the cost of their fullback Kyle Walker.

    These pundits are idiots. What did they expect us to do. Chelsea and Man U hardly got out of their own halfs against this City team. Liverpool gave it a go but contrary to what the pundits say were 2nd best (were 1 down) even before they went a man down. Then they were blown away 5-0.

    I said before the season started that City would be Champions because I had seen them in pre-season tournaments. I also thought they would win the Champions League but that is a lot harder because there are about 3 or 4 teams that can beat any other on a given day, especially Madrid, Barca and PSG but even Chelsea and Bayern.

    Given this, I am not too disappointed to lose 1 nil to probably the best team to play the first half of a PL season. People bang on about the Man U treble but does anyone remember that Bayern game in the final where they were battered for 89 minutes and were very lucky.

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  35. Is Van Dijk for 75 million to Liverpool absolutely nuts? He looks OK but Southampton have been a sh!t defense with him and without him.

    Probably means they are resigned to losing Coutinho because they have money to burn.

    They could sell Coutinho and buy Dybala or Griezman and have 50 million left over. Could even afford Ozil’s wages if he would go there.

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  36. it all shows you how far we are behind with the Fatman in charge. Even an injection of 100 million would probably only see us upper mid-table.

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  37. Eric – it should be yet another blindingly obvious reason to the thick prick that he can’t compete at football. So get ya coat and F off!

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