Preview: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United

Preview: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United

Off the back of contrasting results in two different cup competitions, Manchester City and Newcastle United lock horns at the Etihad Stadium for a Premier League clash on Saturday lunchtime.

While the Magpies are seeking to bounce back from their EFL Cup final heartache last weekend, the Citizens will be looking to build on their comfortable FA Cup fifth-round victory in midweek.

Manchester City completed their run of five successive away games unbeaten when they eased to a 3-0 victory at Bristol City in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday, courtesy of a Phil Foden brace and a late strike from Kevin De Bruyne.

The Citizens – who have set up a quarter-final tie with Vincent Kompany’s Burnley later this month – had previously cruised to a 4-1 win away against Bournemouth in the Premier League to ensure that they remain in touch with leaders Arsenal in the title race.

The reigning champions still have some catching up to do, though, as they remain five points behind the Gunners with 13 games to play, while in-form rivals Manchester United are hunting them down in third, sitting six points further back with a game in hand.

Following a lengthy period away from the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola’s side will welcome a return to home soil, with four of the next five matches to be played on the blue side of Manchester including Saturday’s clash with Newcastle, who the Citizens have beaten in each of their last 13 Premier League home meetings – only Everton against Fulham (14) have ever had a longer winning home run against an opponent in the division.

Man City currently boast the best home record in this season’s Premier League, accumulating 31 points from a possible 36 available, with a 2-1 defeat to Brentford and a 1-1 draw with Everton the only blots on their copybook. The Citizens have also scored a total of 41 league goals on home soil so far this term, more than any other team in England’s top-four divisions.

Guardiola’s side should have few problems finding the net against Newcastle, as they have scored in each of their previous 28 league meetings with the Magpies, but keeping the ball out of the net could prove challenging having kept just three clean sheets in their last 16 top-flight matches, a surprisingly poor run of form on the defensive front that needs to be addressed if they wish to close down Arsenal at the summit.

Newcastle supporters have had plenty to cheer about this season and the Toon Army were in full voice as their side took to the Wembley pitch for the first time since 1999 for Sunday’s EFL Cup final.

However, hopes of lifting their first major domestic trophy for 68 years were quashed at the hands of Man United, who came out on top to secure a 2-0 victory courtesy of first-half strikes from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford.

The euphoria of lifting silverware could have acted as a catalyst to turn their recent league form around, but Eddie Howe has insisted that their cup final heartache will not affect their efforts to push for Champions League qualification.

Newcastle have recently slipped out of the top four following a run of just one win in their last seven Premier League matches, and they are now tasked with ending a four-game winless run with a trip to Man City, a fixture that Howe has labelled as the “most difficult in the football calendar”.

Not since the days of Bobby Robson and Alan Shearer have the Magpies won a league game on the blue side of Manchester, with the latter netting the only goal in a 1-0 victory back in September 2001 at Maine Road – Erling Braut Haaland’s father Alfe-Inge Haaland also played in that match for the Citizens.

Despite their recent form, Newcastle will have reason to be optimistic on Saturday as they have not lost any of their last eight top-flight away matches, while they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Man City at St James’ Park earlier this season, a contest that they were leading 3-1 before Haaland and Bernardo Silva restored parity in the final half-hour.

Manchester City Premier League form:

Manchester City form (all competitions):

Newcastle United Premier League form:

Newcastle United form (all competitions):

We say: Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle United
While there have been no more than two goals scored in 10 of Newcastle’s last 12 matches across all competitions, the net rippled on six occasions the last time that they faced Man City, and more goalmouth action could be on the cards on Saturday.

The Magpies will be keen to respond with a resilient performance at the Etihad, but they may struggle to handle a title-chasing Citizens side who have looked more like their clinical selves in the last two games.

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