Man City (A) Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

A big Merry Christmas to all our followers and anyone reading this pre-match piece as a first-time visitor!

It may not be the same this year, but some form of normal service could be resumed come 10pm today….and by that I mean an absolute hammering at the hands of Man City!

After looking second best throughout against West Brom, Leeds and Fulham, then being dumped out of the cup by a second tier side fielding their second team, it’s fair to say every single Newcastle United fan is fearing a Boxing Day bashing against Guardiola’s Sky Blues.

We can only hope for a reaction, but where was the reaction against Fulham after being hammered at Leeds? And where was the fight to make a cup semi-final at Brentford in midweek?

Alarm bells have been ringing for some time when it comes to Steve Bruce’s inability to get any sort of tune out of this talented yet underperforming NUFC side, but things have reached a new low recently.

He’s ran out of luck, his head is on the chopping block and the players looks about as lost and despondent as the fed up NUFC fans sat watching on their sofas.

Bruce’s shortcomings are now being seriously exposed and our season is beginning to unravel, with things threatening to get seriously ugly as Man City, Liverpool and Leicester await in our next three.

Team news

Jamaal Lascelles has been spotted back in light training this week, but he and Allan Saint-Maximin look set to miss out once again.

Federico Fernandez could also return after missing the Brentford los with ‘fatigue’, while fellow defenders Fabian Schar and Javier Manquillo were also spotted back in training for the first time in weeks on Thursday.

Bruce says Martin Dubravka could return ‘next week’ and has hinted that Callum Wilson and Ciaran Clark may need a rest at some point soon after playing four games in 10 days on the back of recent injuries.

For Man City, striker Gabriel Jesus and right-back Kyle Walker have been ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19.

Predicted line up

(5-4-1): Darlow – Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie – Fraser, Hendrick, Hayden, Joelinton – Gayle.

OUTYedlin, Lewis, Shelvey, S Longstaff, Almiron, Wilson.

IN Dummett, Fernandez, Ritchie, Hendrick, Joelinton, Gayle.

With Bruce needing some sort of response from that unacceptable display in midweek, I’m pretty sure he’ll go for fresh legs and hard workers here.

Darlow to continue in goal with Dubravka not yet ready, Ritchie to return at left wing-back to take a struggling Lewis out of the firing line and a return to a five-man defence, with Dummett filling in at centre-back and Fernandez coming back in alongside Clark.

At right wing-back, Yedlin seems unlikely to play three games in 7 days after so long without a start all season, Manquillo has only just returned to training and Krafth isn’t a wing-back, so I can see Murphy playing here. He’s quick enough to cause problems the odd time we counter and is one of few in our side who may be able to stay with Raheem Sterling!

In midfield, Dummett and Fernandez’s likely return in defence could allow Hayden to come back into a midfield that’s missed his ability to get into tackles and cover ground. It’s uninspiring, but Hendrick hasn’t started our last few and both Shelvey and Sean Longstaff have looked way off it, so I can see the Irishman getting a game here.

Out wide, Fraser was taken off with time to spare against Brentford and didn’t start against Fulham, so his pace, energy and quality on the counter could give City something to think about.

On the other wing, I think Joelinton will come back in. Almiron’s pace on the break and work rate could’ve made him ideal for this game, but he was anonymous at Brentford so could well make way.

Up top, I think this may be the game we see Wilson get a well deserved rest. After all, FIVE starts in 13 days is asking for trouble. Carroll will be knocking on Bruce’s door, but he’s not mobile enough to cause City any problems when we’ll be relying on the odd counter attack, meaning Gayle may get his first start since that winning goal vs West Brom.

The opposition

Here’s a few ones to watch in Pep Guardiola’s City side:

Kevin De Bruyne – The best player in the Premier League for me. Whether it’s cutting crosses that bamboozle entire back lines, through balls no one else is able to spot, bursts through the lines that can’t be tamed or his uncanny ability to find space, the bronze-haired Belgian is unstoppable on his day and could find Waldo with that wand of a right foot.

Raheem Sterling – Right-back is our problem position and the England winger has been back in the goals in recent weeks. His movement could test an Emil Krafth lacking in pace or a Jacob Murphy who’s still learning as a wing-back.

Riyad Mahrez – Considering how much Jamaal Lewis has been struggling, the devastating dribbler that is Riyad Mahrez could run rings around him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis is taken out of the side for this one, but the alternatives are

Predicted Man City XI: (4-1-2-3): Ederson – Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Mendy – Rodri – De Bruyne, Gundogan – Mahrez, Torres, Sterling.


Forgive me for my pessimism, but I’m expecting nothing other than a one-sided onslaught here.

I would say we might just respond to a trio of abysmal displays, yet that’s exactly what I told myself before our last two….and look how they ended up!

Instead, I fully expect Bruce to revert back to a five-man defence, put 11 behind the ball and hope for the best.

Hoping for a Christmas miracle. Fearing an absolute hammering.

PredictionMan City 4-0 Newcastle


Follow us on Twitter (@NUFCBlogcouk) and on Facebook HERE

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan, he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC!

35 thoughts on “Man City (A) Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

  1. This is so bl00dy annoying because on paper that doesnt look a bad team. Then they get on the field and it 9-0-1 all over again against any team who play the press. My prediction on the last thread was also 4-0 to City. Part of me says that if we are going to lose anyway we may as well lose by a landslide to pile more pressure on Bruce and see what the likes of Savage, Sutton and Mills say then. He has the Covid excuse though, which is partly justified, but we all saw this coming even before that.


  2. To carry on on Bruce. He goes on death spirals. Just ask any Villa or Sunderland fan. This is the perfect storm for a Bruce special with the 3 nightmare league games and then Arsenal in the cup who no matter how out of sorts they may be always seem to beat us at The Emerates. When was the last time we won there? I think Laurent Robert was playing, right?


  3. Villa fans’ opinion on Bruce:

    There is one glimmer of hope. The fat man only gave Bruce a 3 year contract and he is 18 months into it. He is also probably the lowest paid Manager in the PL so the comp would not be that much when he is sacked. Relatively speaking that is.

    I still dont think that a decent Manager would require much of a budget in January as they could see that we have a mid-table squad that are being badly coached by the 3 Steves (Stooges). We also have the 2 loans available.


  4. As I have said before, we have to let this play out. The expected 3 humpings in the league followed by an FA Cup exit should pile the pressure on. I normally hate to want us to lose, but I might make an exception here. We are going nowhere with Bruce. He was handed a budget that other Managers could only dream of, even Pards, and has fcked it up.

    I am not even sure that a better Manager coudnt get more from Joelinton. Naglesmann did. Bruce persisted with playing him as a holdup centre forward for like 30 games when it was obvious that that was not his game.

    You look at successful teams and a lot dont play with a traditional centre forward. City, Liverpool, even Spurs where Kane is sort of a hybrid CF midfielder now. But Bruce only knows one way which is made clear by the Villa fans’ comments in the article above.


  5. Gilly Toon:
    Merry Christmas everybody… hope you all had a great Christmas Day.

    No more links to announce new threads I see… oh well.

    I appreciate the Christmas message, but don’t now why there’s a dig in there about someone from the blog not posting a link to ‘announce a new thread’.

    It’s Xmas day and I’ve not had a day off in about 6 months! Ridiculous.


  6. All is not lost. Any decent Manager should be able to keep this squad up.

    Bruce has lucked into 18 points from 13 games. We are probably looking at 33 or 34 points for safety which is only 16 points more. Look at the maths –

    After the next nightmare 3 games (total 16 games) when we will still have 18 points we have another 22 games to go to get 16 points. I am not even sure Ugly John Carver could fail to do that with this squad. Bruce might though with his total negative football.


  7. Once we have lost the next 3 games I would see if Lucien Favre would take the job. Why not? Rafa did. If not, Duncan Ferguson.


  8. Where the hell is Troy Stavers anyway to tell me I am an idiot and Bruce is midtable and the best we can do, and to suggest Lee Clark as the next Manager? All true BTW about Stavers, when the Troysta was giving me grief about my views on Pards. Whatever happened to Pards after NUFC…


  9. I have been asking myself what I would prefer?

    We play OK and go down fighting for a heroic defeat, or…

    We get slaughtered and push Bruce further towards the precipice?

    We are 28-1 to win so I think that rules that one out 🙂


  10. Kimtoon: I cancelled my trip to FL Keys. Too risky. Hope you and Lew are doing OK.

    Talked my mother and she doesnt know when she and her sister (78 and 88) are getting vaccinated. Waiting for a phone call apparently.


  11. Headline in The Chonic: “Bruce asks to be judged on 10 months not on the back of Cup exit”.

    Who does that sound like? Yes! Steve McClaren. Remember when he had a terrible start and he said “judge me after 10 games”. Then we didnt do any better and he said judge me at Xmas?


  12. Eric Sykes:
    Kimtoon: I cancelled my trip to FL Keys. Too risky. Hope you and Lew are doing OK.

    Talked my mother and she doesnt know when she and her sister (78 and 88) are getting vaccinated. Waiting for a phone call apparently.

    She/they should hear pretty soon Eric, it’s just taking a bit of organising i think.
    Don’t blame you cancelling the trip mate, do it when you can fully enjoy it .


  13. Eric Sykes:
    Headline in The Chonic: “Bruce asks to be judged on 10 months not on the back of Cup exit”.

    Who does that sound like? Yes! Steve McClaren. Remember when he had a terrible start and he said “judge me after 10 games”. Then we didnt do any better and he said judge me at Xmas?

    Yes it’s all pretty familiar isn’t it.


  14. Kimtoon: I also realised I had been to FL 8 times. Booked a trip to Maine in May instead. I NEED something to look forward to. I am on my own at the moment having broken up with last GF more than a year ago. This Covid is not good for mental health as there is nowhere to go even if I could get together with friends. I have one friend come over and we sit at opposite ends of the couch – social distancing but no masks as we are pretty much watching football (American and “soccer”) and getting drunk.

    And then there is NUFC 🙂 We expect the worst for this run of fixtures but it will still be bad when it happens. Maybe we have to look at it as a black comedy and laugh at what Brucie says in his press conferences?


  15. Man U/Leicester was a decent game.

    I dont like watching Citeh at the best of times. They have some great players and score some fantastic goals but the metronomic nature of their football just sends me into a trance. Even worse when it is against us!!! I have that, plus the fact that we will just lie there and let them tickle our tummy.


  16. Pretty funny watching Villa against Palace. Both Grealish and Zaha are really good players but they have both perfected the art of running into players on purpose to buy a foul.


  17. Now watching Chelsea:

    For those of us that can remember ’70s cartoons. Mason Mount should not have that quiff with that nose. He looks like Woody Woodp#cker.


  18. This is pretty funny. Arsenal Fan TV hate Granit Xhaka and he just put then 2 nil up with an excellent free kick. I watched their player ratings and he gets a zero every week. He is their Joelinton.

    Apart from when Olly gives Joe a 9 for doing f-all 🙂


  19. Started drinking at noon. 6pm your time. Wasnt sure if I could get through this without booze.

    Only wine. Not the hard stuff. Will save that for Liverpool 🙂


  20. Seen the teamsheet.

    So, we are not playing a striker! That is interesting. 9-0-1.

    10-0-0 ????

    Joelinton is not a striker. He has like 3 scuffed goals in 50 games.


  21. What Man City do is send their wingers wide and hit low crosses to let Aguero and Sterling have tap ins, always knowing de Bruyne is there to hit one from 20 yards or a killer pass. We are not playing with fullbacks. That should be interesting. It will either be a Bruce masterclass or a slaughter.


  22. This team is Bruce doing the equivalent of saying to Vikings OK then have my daughter, rape her, but let me still be Chieftan.


  23. Recording not watching, in a lot of pain today and cannot face a humiliation on top. If we play well i will watch later when the meds have kicked in.


  24. kimtoon:
    Recording not watching, in a lot of pain today and cannot face a humiliation on top. If we play well i will watch later when the meds have kicked in.

    Take care Kim, hope you feel better later!
    Incredibly it’s only 1-0 to city so far. I don’t think we had a shot and about 10% possession to us. So about normal. Darlow made a few good saves again. Hey ho…


  25. Same story different opponents.

    Darlow for me stays in nets. The lad is playing out his skin this season. Top player.

    The rest – went through the motions again. I’m not sure City broke sweat there. I hope their keeper got a good book for Christmas ?


  26. Tweet
    See new Tweets
    Lee Ryder
    Steve Bruce: “My remit is to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.” #nufc
    10:34 PM · Dec 26, 2020 from Manchester, England·Twitter for iPhone

    Deep joy, same old same old


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.