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Title-chasing Manchester City travels to the North West to take on Newcastle United’s cauldron-like atmosphere. Here is a preview
Manchester City opens their league account for 2024 with a Premier League showdown at St James’ Park to take on a faltering Newcastle.
Recent history favors the visitors, but the Magpies ended a 10-game losing streak against City when they last met in the Carabao Cup Third Round thanks to Alexander Isak’s second-half strike.
This time around, Eddie Howe’s men are in poor form, having lost four of their last five league matches.
Newcastle kicked off their Premier League campaign with a sensational 5-1 win against Aston Villa. Yet, successive defeats to Manchester City, Liverpool, and Brighton subdued the mood a bit, but they bounced back with five clean sheets in all competitions.
Up next was an incredible 4-1 home win against Paris Saint-Germain, as the Magpies showed they would be competing admirably in their UEFA Champions League ‘Group of Death’. There was a single defeat in the next six games in all competitions. They also beat Manchester United and Arsenal but back-to-back losses at Dortmund and Bournemouth exposed their ill luck with injuries.
Impressive showings against Chelsea, PSG, and Manchester United set them on a good path, but Newcastle have won only one of their last eight matches as they crashed out of the UCL and Carabao Cup.
They will be desperate to get back to winning in the first league game of 2024 and it is pertinent to note that the Geordies have scored in each of their last ten Premier League home games.
City must thus be wary of a side who are keen to impress having already failed the St. James’ Park test this term.
Pep Guardiola’s charges will be looking to begin the year as they mean to go after a spectacular 2023 that saw them lift all five significant trophies. Newcastle provides a stern test but the Citizens are set on reclaiming the top spot, especially with the return of key players from injury.
The Premier League winners breezed past Burnley, Newcastle, Sheffield United and Fulham in their first four matches, displaying their immaculate control and game management.
The first international break did not slow them down. They returned with a bang against West Ham United, beating them 3-1 and then seeing off Nottingham Forest 2-0 despite losing influential midfielder Rodri to a red card.
A midweek cup defeat to Newcastle was seen as a blip but manifested into something more significant when Man City lost 2-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Then, the top-of-the-table clash against Arsenal was decided by Gabriel Martinelli’s deflected shot at the Emirates Stadium.
That loss to the Gunners was particularly catastrophic as they lost ground at the top of the table but then responded in typical fashion with wins over Brighton, Manchester United and Bournemouth before drawing 4-4 with Chelsea after one of the most epic games of the season.
More points were dropped in successive league games against Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa. Still, they beat Luton and drew Crystal Palace before traveling to Saudi Arabia for the FIFA Club World Cup.
The Mancunians have regained lost ground since that triumph in the desert with successive league wins over Everton and Sheffield United leaving them within five points of league leaders Liverpool. After being helped by rivals dropping points, City still have a game in hand and are yet to get into their groove this season.
They will be looking to hit their customary run of remarkable form as the year begins and beating Newcastle is the first step.
This game is scheduled for Saturday, 13 January 2024, with kick-off at 5:30 PM UK time. Match tickets are available for sale on each club’s website with priority allocation for members and season-ticket holders.
The home crowd will be fired up for this game and Newcastle’s recent poor form will galvanize the fans to support their team right from the first kick. There is always a unique matchday atmosphere on Tyneside and the visit of the all-conquering Man City only raises the stakes.
This match will be sold out and fans who would like to buy Newcastle vs Man City tickets may be able to do so via a ticket resale site.
Newcastle has been devastated by absences with Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson the latest to join Sandro Tonali, Nick Pope, Jacob Murphy, Harvey Barnes, Javier Manquillo and Matt Targett on the suspended or injured list.
Although Jamaal Lascelles, Joe Willock and Elliot Anderson are doubtful for the visit of Man City, Joelinton has returned to boost their ranks.
John Stones and Jeremy Doku have been injured and are close to returning, while Guardiola hopes to have Erling Haaland back for this game.
Elsewhere, Kevin De Bruyne returned to the matchday squad for the first time since picking up an injury in the season’s opening game.
Several unavailable options ravage the hosts so they will prioritize continuity with the current fit players. Teenage midfielder Lewis Miley should remain in midfield while Alexander Isak leads the line.
Newcastle: Dubravka; Livramento, Schar, Botman, Burn; Miley, Guimaraes, Longstaff; Joelinton, Gordon, Isak
Haaland should go straight into the lineup and one of the impressive Phil Foden, Jack Grealish or Julian Alvarez will have to make way in attack.
City must match Newcastle’s physicality so it won’t be a surprise to see Ruben Dias and Josko Gvardiol handed starting roles.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol; Kovacic, Rodri; Silva, Alvarez, Foden; Haaland
Manchester City conceded first in their last two Premier League travels and they must be wary of doing so again at a raucous St James’ Park. Small margins will be critical earlier, and the visitors must maintain an emotional and psychological balance.
Current form suggests City will find a way to secure all three points but the Geordies will not be making it any easy for them.