Manchester City will look to continue their dominant start to the season when they travel to Tyneside to face a confident Newcastle United side at St James’ Park on Sunday evening.
Manchester City will travel to St. James’ Park this weekend as they gear up to take on Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United on Sunday evening in Matchweek 3 of the 2022/23 Premier League.
Both clubs have had a solid start to their campaigns and are the only two teams in the league with a 100% clean sheet record. However, that is set to change on Sunday when two of the world’s richest clubs face each other on Tyneside.
Newcastle have made a good if unspectacular start to the new campaign, as they rode their luck for much of their visit to Brighton last Saturday. Eddie Howe’s team failed to register a single shot on goal and struggled to create any meaningful threat. However, they did show excellent resilience to hang on for a point thanks to Nick Pope’s goalkeeping heroics and goal-line clearances from Fabian Schar and Kieran Trippier.
Newcastle United appear to be very well-organised defensively, but Howe will demand more attacking endeavour and poise in the final third as a repeat of the dire Brighton display will almost certainly result in defeat for Newcastle on Sunday against the English champions.
Manchester City will head into the game against Newcastle in high spirits after a 4-0 thrashing of AFC Bournemouth. They have only conceded two shots on target in 180 minutes of Premier League action so far, and have won both of their games quite comfortably, putting them four points clear of title rivals Liverpool already after two match days.
However, St James’ Park has become a tricky ground to visit this year for even top teams. Since Howe’s arrival, Newcastle have effectively shut the shop at the back and have conceded just ten goals since the turn of the year, if two five-goal defeats against City and Tottenham are kept aside.
So, while Manchester City boast a far superior individual quality on paper, they will have to do their due diligence on Sunday, with little room for complacency, and Newcastle are not expected to go down without a fight in front of their bouncing home support. The Hard Tackle will now analyse both the teams and how they are shaping up ahead of Sunday’s clash at St James’ Park.
Team News & Tactics
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 17, 2022
Jonjo Shelvey remains unavailable for selection for Newcastle, having undergone surgery on his hamstring in London last weekend, and could miss the first half of the season. Otherwise, Eddie Howe has no pressing injury concerns as such ahead of the visit of Manchester City and hopes to welcome Ryan Fraser back into the squad, while a late decision will be made on left-back Matt Targett’s fitness.
Newcastle look set to start the game in a 4-3-3 formation that can dovetail into a 4-5-1 while defending. Summer signing Nick Pope has successfully taken over from Martin Dubravka as the club’s No. 1 with back-to-back clean sheets and is the undisputed choice between the sticks for the Magpies.
Emil Krafth, if fit, could get a look-in at right-back, with Trippier versatile enough to switch across to the opposite flank in place of the injured Targett, as Dan Burn facing twinkle-toed Riyad Mahrez would be an uneven match. Thus, new signing Sven Botman could be dropped from the starting XI, with Howe likely to stick with the experienced pairing of Schar and Burn to keep a tight lid on City’s sharp movement.
Bruno Guimaraes, who is being courted by Real Madrid as a replacement for Casemiro, will play as a deep-lying playmaker, pulling the strings in midfield, with Joelinton and Joe Willock being deployed as the box-to-box midfielders, but their main job will be to cut off City’s midfield passing lanes through aggressive mid-block pressing and by making tackles and interceptions.
Newcastle will rely on last season’s top-scorer Callum Wilson to produce the goods in the final third with little service because clear-cut chances will be hard to come by against a superior opposition like Manchester City, who will be on the attack for the majority of this game, while Newcastle will have to most of the defending.
Allan Saint-Maximin will once again pose a threat from the left, while Paraguayan star Miguel Almiron will keep his place in the starting XI ahead of Ryan Fraser on the other flank. Howe can also call upon Jacob Murphy if he decides to go with more defensive output down the left side.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pope; Krafth, Schar, Burn, Trippier; Willock, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin
Kalvin Phillips missed out on the squad that swept Bournemouth aside last weekend due to a knock. The same was true for youngster Cole Palmer, with the duo back in contention this weekend. Aymeric Laporte will have to wait longer to recover from knee surgery, with a return scheduled for September at the earliest.
City boss Pep Guardiola could name an unchanged lineup from the one that thumped Bournemouth 4-0 last weekend. As is customary, Ederson starts in goal. Despite Nathan Ake’s excellent start to the season, John Stones could be reinstated at the heart of the Manchester City backline, where he should reunite with usual partner Ruben Dias.
— Sergio Gómez (@sergiogm_10) August 18, 2022
Kyle Walker has been performing admirably as an inverted right-back and will slot into the same role here. After losing left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, Manchester City have moved to strengthen their full-back department by signing Spanish Under-21 international Sergio Gomez from Anderlecht.
The 21-year-old La Masia academy product was a regular attacking presence on the left flank for his former club last term. He now competes for a wide role with Joao Cancelo, who is set to keep his place at left-back on Sunday.
Kevin De Bruyne, who has 17 goal contributions in his last 12 Premier League outings, and Ilkay Gundogan should slot in on either side of Rodri in central midfield. Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva might make a cameo appearance now that reports linking him to Barcelona have cooled down.
Erling Haaland would arguably be the centre of attraction in the final third and that could afford wingers Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez more space to work with and make deadly runs in behind. Jack Grealish is another option but is unlikely to be handed a start, but his directness and speed could be vital off the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Haaland, Foden
- Manchester City have won their last six matches against Newcastle in all competitions, with a dominant aggregate scoreline of 22-3 during that period, including five clean sheets.
- The Citizens have won 27 of their last 33 Premier League away matches, and are unbeaten in their last 19 league games on the road.
- Newcastle United and Manchester City are the only sides yet to concede a goal in the Premier League this season after two matchdays.
- The Magpies are on a stunning home streak, having won eight of their last nine Premier League home matches, with a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool their only blemish.
- Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has a 100% losing record against Manchester City, having lost all 12 of his Premier League meetings against Pep Guardiola’s side, conceding a whopping 39 goals with only 5 in reply.
Player to Watch
While some questions were raised over whether summer addition Erling Haaland would be able to fit into Guardiola’s system after City went almost two seasons without a recognised striker, the Norwegian hitman has quickly silenced the few doubters, establishing himself as a vital member of the team, with two goals and an assist in the first two league games.
His lack of touches was emphasised heavily against Bournemouth, but he creates spaces for other attacking players around him by occupying defenders, and his presence could only benefit midfield runners such as De Bruyne and Gundogan. After firing a blank against the Cherries, the striking phenom will be itching to get on the scoresheet here.
Newcastle United 1-2 Manchester City
The visitors have won their opening two games without any issues, but Sunday marks their toughest challenge of the season so far as they are set to lock horns against a high-flying Newcastle United side that are well capable of springing a surprise on their day.
Newcastle have been hugely impressive at home for a while now, and St James’ Park has been transformed into a fortress once again, so much so that only Liverpool have taken maximum points from their trip to the northeast this calendar year.
Having said that, City won 9-0 across their two league games with Newcastle the last term, and their dominance in this fixture cannot be overlooked. Thus, while the Magpies may put on a better performance this time around, City are still heavy favourites, and the Hard Tackle backs them to come out on top with a narrow 2-1 win.