Man City (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

Considering the quality of the opposition, it’s nice to come into this one not looking over our shoulders against a Man City side playing their first game since they were crowned Champions earlier this week.

I say this because Fulham’s 2-0 defeat on Monday confirmed that we would be a Premier League side next season no matter what, with Scott Parker’s side officially joining Sheffield United and West Brom in the Championship for 2021/22.

As a result, let’s hope we can play with the handbrake off against City and at least attempt to replicate the outstanding display that saw us hammer Leicester last Friday. It’s a totally different challenge against arguably the best side on the planet, but they may have one eye on the Champions League final.

Staying up is a welcome boost when we stunk of relegation barely six weeks ago after making Brighton look like Barcelona, but it’s nothing to celebrate – especially when this group of players could’ve been capable of a top 10 finish, not settling for 17th.

We don’t expect to win this one, however it would be nice if we could build on last week’s best display of the Bruce era with a positive performance heading into our final two games against relegated duo Sheffield United and Fulham.

Team news

  • Callum Wilson – Ruled out for our remaining three games with a new hamstring injury. Thankfully it’s not a bad one, with Bruce saying he’ll miss “two to three weeks”.
  • Joe Willock – Fit to play after Bruce confirmed he was withdrawn last Friday with cramp; not a new injury.
  • Fabian Schar – Suspended once again, with his 3-match ban making him ineligible until the final day at Fulham.
  • Isaac Hayden – Previously ruled out for the season with a knee injury, but was pictured back on the grass at Benton today.
  • Ryan Fraser – Back in light training but not ready to feature in this one.
  • Karl Darlow – Still recovering from a small operation on his knee.
  • Jamaal Lascelles – Remains out after suffering a stress fracture in his foot. Is ‘touch and go’ to play again this season but may well sit it out now we’re safe.
  • Elliot Anderson – Nowhere to be seen in the latest training pictures, suggesting his hip injury is yet to fully recover.

For Guardiola’s side, Belgian superstar Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out, however John Stones is available again after serving a three-match ban.

Predicted lineup

(5-3-2): Dubravka – Murphy, Krafth, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie – Willock, Shelvey (c), Almiron – Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.

OUT, Wilson – IN, Joelinton?

I would’ve loved to see Wilson push for an England recall and Elliot Anderson get his Premier League debut now we’re finally safe, however it seems injuries will see both sit out this one.

Bruce has three dilemmas for me. Who starts up top out of Joelinton, Carroll and Gayle? Does he stick with Krafth in defence now Clark is fit again? And, does he go with the same attacking midfield trio that won at Leicester or bring Sean Longstaff back?

Starting in attack, I see Joelinton replacing Wilson, with the Brazilian scoring two goals in his last three games before he was dropped. Carroll and Gayle will want minutes – the latter will want to prove he’s worth a new deal and the latter a chance to get back in Bruce’s plans when Wilson is out – however I can see our £40m man coming back in.

In midfield, this is a game that could benefit from the energy both Longstaff brothers are able to offer, but will Bruce change from midfield that did so well against Leicester? I doubt it.

Krafth is not a centre-back, so starting him against City is a risk, however he did pretty well at Leicester last week, not to mention the fact Clark has looked anything but comfortable since playing in the middle of a back three – not down the left. As a result, I reckon Bruce will reward the Swede with another start.

I can see Lewis getting some minutes in the final few games to boost his visibly low confidence levels, however Man City at home could do more damage than goo for a player who’s not kicked a ball since our 1-1 draw with Wolves in February.

Match prediction

It’s difficult to say if we’ll be on the beach and playing like a side who feel their work is done, or one that’s boosted by last Friday’s big win and the fact we’re officially safe?

The same applies for City in a very different way. Will they have one eye on the UCL final and play their B-team (which is still capable of hammering us!) or be keen to celebrate the title in style and regain some much needed momentum after a surprise defeat to Chelsea last weekend…

Personally, I think they’ll be the latter and fear we might be playing without that added incentive that’s got us through the run-in much more convincingly than most of us expected!

The good news is that this should be the last game at SJP played without a crowd, but I see this being a comfortable win for the away side, with us likely to be feeding off scraps on the counter and little over 30% possession.

Prediction: Newcastle 0-3 Man City

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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.

38 thoughts on “Man City (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

  1. Georgio/Sham – from the last thread.

    Toney has been unreal for Brentford this season & the goals he’s scored, as has Armstrong when you consider their teams didn’t get automatic promotion & Bburn didn’t get close to the play offs even.

    I’d defo take both, but from what I’ve read WHU are wanting him & £35m has been suggested.
    I could see him in that WH team & being the main man as well – especially if they get Europe, and they still have the Haller money to spend.

    I think Armstrong makes most financial sense with the sell on & I think Bburn would let him go for around £10m if the deal was right. Gayle on loan & £10m to spend on strengthening the rest of the squad isnt a bad deal for them.

    Armstrong would be a good second striker with Wilson I reckon, where Toney would be more the main striker & we won’t want to be behind Wilson.

    I think Josh King would be a decent back up/rotation forward for Wilson – I know it’s the Bmth connection & it didn’t keep them up, but Howe played King LW most of the time & he didn’t get the goals. When he played him in that central role he did score. King is available on a free this summer.

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  2. Tonight is simply a question of how many do we get beat by imo.

    They will be celebrating just winning the league & Bruce will take his usual approach – it doesn’t matter what 11 Pep puts out there.

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  3. I know what you mean Sharpy. I think we should shell out for Toney. He looks more capable of making the grade in the PL and can play as a focal point of the attack.

    Planning for the future with Wilson as the main attacker is a mistake if you ask me. His hamstring won’t get any better and he is getting older. He will miss more games next season. Definitely a started when fit, alongside a new signing, who should be our main attacker imo.

    Arma would be cheap enough to be a decent squad option out wide or up front, but I think we will find the step up to PL much more difficult than Toney would. I’d see him a slightly more versatile, younger Gayle.

    Olly nice write up. I agree with the prediction. Hopefully bthey won’t be on the beach and will go with a nothing to lose attitude. Never mind damage limitation, just get out and give it a good, honest go. I’d rather take a 6-2 loss than a 3-0 – just be nice to see us go at them and try, get a goal or two.

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  4. Sham – you’re right mate, but you are talking about building for the future & can we really do that under Ashley?.

    If we were a normal club with a normal owner, what you’re suggesting is exactly what I think they should do in terms of building for the future.

    My suggestions are based purely on Ashley & Bruce still being there & another survival battle next season – minimum spend on a squad to keep us ticking over.

    If we’re ‘lucky’ then Ashley will put £20-30m into a kitty, on top of what we might get from sales of players – which might amount to around £10m if we only sell fringe players.

    Out of that I think we need a LB, CB, CM or 2 & a CF – in no particular order – 5 players with a Max of £40m if Ashley is feeling generous.

    I’m not lacking ambition or even saying I’d be satisfied with that mate, I’m just trying to stay realistic why Ashley is still there. If he sells I’ll be talking very differently. But until that time, I expect the bare minimum again sadly.

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  5. Ha fair one Sharpy. I was assuming there was a possibility NUFC might actually act like a club with an ounce of ambition this summer. Silly me 😂

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  6. I agree we can’t depend on Wilson’s staying fit mate and can’t rely on his goals.

    Willock has been in less than half a season and he’s already 2nd behind Wilson for goals 😳.

    Max & Joe have 3 each
    Miggy has 4
    Willock has 5

    Shelvey who I think was one of the top scorers last season has contributed 1 goal this season – but maybe more worryingly, only 2 assists. Based on this theory he’s a great passer of the ball and a creator – and took most of the freekicks & corners – 2 assists is an awful return.

    If we want to stay up next season we need to address that. But I still think it will be on a very tight budget if Ashley is still there I’m afraid.

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  7. It’s so hard to tell with new players. Wilson has been way better than I expected. I never saw those strong powerful runs when he was at Bournemouth. I thought King would be a good signing but he’s not doing the job anywhere.
    I like Arma and he is a clinical striker but I feel Toney has more to his game and is a genuine No 9.
    He’ll cost too much though.

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  8. Shamrock:
    Ha fair one Sharpy. I was assuming there was a possibility NUFC might actually act like a club with an ounce of ambition this summer. Silly me 😂

    Mate I hope Ashley proves me wrong, but he hasn’t for the last 10 years & all the noises they are making at the moment certainly suggest it’s going to be ratting around bargains and freebies again.

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  9. I’d Take Wilson and Armstrong next season. I’d like a third, ideally someone like Eduord from Celtic. but I’d settle for King.

    What formation would everybody want
    4-2-3-1
    or
    5-2-1-2

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  10. PremAndUp:
    I’d Take Wilson and Armstrong next season. I’d like a third, ideally someone like Eduord from Celtic. but I’d settle for King.

    What formation would everybody want
    4-2-3-1
    or
    5-2-1-2

    Prem – good to see you buddy.

    Yeah again it’s how much will be spent – in anticipation of it being minimal, I suggest King, but if there’s money there he wouldn’t be first choice.

    I like this 5-2-1-2 or 3-4-1-2 formation that he seems to have stumbled onto. With our key players fit and in that set up we look a decent side.

    I think our problem is midfield, but with Hayden back, and if we can get Willock alongside him, then that formation works well.

    I think it’s been obvious this season that Shelvey, Hendrick & the Longstaffs aren’t good enough and there’s some major work needed on improve the midfield – especially if we can’t keep hold of Willock.

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  11. If we are playing 2 in midfield then Willock attacking and Hayden Defensive seems like the ideal I would like Anderson pushing Willock and Choudhury competing with Hayden

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  12. Dare I say – Congratulations to Bruce in his manager of the month award for April.

    Difference aside for a moment, I didn’t see it coming when there was the fall out with Ritchie like. I thought the team would implode & we’d struggle to fend Fulham off. But quite the opposite has been the case. He’s got the team picking up the points & kept us safe.

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  13. PremAndUp:
    If we are playing 2 in midfield then Willock attacking and Hayden Defensive seems like the ideal I would like Anderson pushing Willock and Choudhury competing with Hayden

    Agreed mate, Choudhury seems like a real possibility now Leicester have lined up a new signing.

    It was suggested Sander Berge from Sheff Utd too the other day – they spent £20m but he has a release for £12m. He’s a decent young players too.

    We also are heavily liked with Ajer from Celtic, who looks a good young player too.

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  14. I’ve decided that we will only get to loan Willock again next season with an option to buy if Arsenal decide to. I don’t think they are stable enough to let him leave just yet, but I think the lad has enjoyed playing and will push for more than sitting in their reserves.

    A second loan spell with an agreed fee seems like a deal that would suit everyone as things stand 😂😂

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  15. Only trouble with Ajer is that he is right footed plenty of them already Martinez from Ajax or Senesi from Feyenoord are left footers

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  16. Alex Bruce really is a chip off the old block. Instead of congratulating his dad for winning a token but undeserved award he has a go at critics.

    If by some miracle we beat City I will be “pleased and delighted” but won’t change my mind on cabbage. I doubt the panel watched our 2 wins in April.

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  17. Sharpy we will have to agree to disagree on the MOTM award. At least he tried to be gracious even though that is not his real nature. He has shown so many times at so many clubs that he is petty, vindictive and loves an excuse. Latest exhibit was Talksport. I will not give congrats to a shallow charlatan.

    It would be so Bruce for us to get beat 7 nil today.

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  18. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy we will have to agree to disagree on the MOTM award. At least he tried to be gracious even though that is not his real nature. He has shown so many times at so many clubs that he is petty, vindictive and loves an excuse. Latest exhibit was Talksport. I will not give congrats to a shallow charlatan.

    It would be so Bruce for us to get beat 7 nil today.

    I’ll take it as 3 cheers then mate 😂

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  19. Don’t hold your breath, Kim.

    I can’t imagine there’s many teams whose supporters enjoy watching them against City.

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  20. The players look like they’re resigned already to a hard night and they look like there’s an inevitability about it. Really bad.

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  21. Who’d have thought our two scorers against City would be Krafth and Joelinton 😳😳😳😳 but all credit to the guys …

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  22. It will be an interesting second half. The city bench is immense if Pep decides to bring them on.. I think City are still in first gear though.

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  23. Willock really is a good player. If Arsenal only want £20m for him get him bought. He will double in price.

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  24. I don’t even care if we loose this game 7-3 this has been so much more enjoyable to watch than our usual approach.

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  25. Exactly what I asked for earlier, just have a go and forget the negative approach. Fair play Bruce and squad. Good effort.

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  26. Well a loss was expected but we gave a good account of ourselves, nice game for the neutrals .

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  27. Well I know we got beat but I throughly enjoyed that game.

    No shame in being beat by a City reserve side that probably still cost 3 times our team – and still some very good players in a City shirt.

    But our boys gave them a game tonight & it was just a shame there wasn’t 52k there shouting them on – coz that could have turned it our way.

    THATS THE FOOTBALL WE WANT TO
    SEE PLEASE!!!

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  28. Well I never saw that coming.. three well taken goals from us and we gave it a good go. I predicted city would score 4, I didn’t see us scoring 3. We really need to buy Willock. I cannot really criticise any of our players. All did their bit. Miggy needs to work on his decision making though.

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