Manchester City are looking to remain on top of the Premier League on Sunday when they travel to St James’ Park, where they will face a struggling Newcastle United.
With just 10 points from 17 games, the Magpies are currently second from bottom in the league standings, three off 17th-placed Watford. The side only picked up their first win of the campaign at the start of the month, a 1-0 victory over fellow relegation-battling side Burnley. Newcastle traveled to Anfield in midweek, when Jonjo Shelvey gave the visitors a perfect start in Merseyside, only for Liverpool to hit back through Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah, and Trent Alexander-Arnold, with the game finishing in a 1-3 defeat for the Magpies.
Newcastle need to improve defensively if they are to climb out of the relegation zone, having conceded 37 goals in 17 matches, the worst record in the division, only keeping one clean sheet all season. Newcastle have an xG of 29.37 generated against them so far in the season and have an xG of 1.666 against them per 90 minutes. Howe’s side have averaged the lowest percentage of possession across all Premier League games this season, suggesting that the home side are going to need to endure longer periods of pressure from their visitors and attack on the counter.
Newcastle full-back Jamal Lewis was forced off after just 15 minutes against Liverpool, and he will be sidelined until January with a hamstring injury. Matt Ritchie is likely to fill in at left-back in Lewis’ absence on Sunday.
Manchester City are setting the pace for another emphatic title race with the Reds. They have won each of their last seven games since a shock 0-2 loss to Crystal Palace in October. Pep Guardiola’s side’s goals came from all over the pitch with six different goal scorers in midweek, as Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, John Stones, Nathan Ake, and a brace from Kevin De Bruyne sunk Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds.
The above visual shows us the shot map from City’s game against Leeds United. The Cityzens were unmatched with the number of attacks they made on the opposition goal and came at Leeds’ keeper from all sides of the pitch. They attempted 30 shots on goal and had 50% of these efforts on target. The win was Man City’s seventh consecutive win in the Premier League and the second clean sheet in a row, remaining with the best defense in the division, having only conceded nine goals.
Manchester City might miss their man in form, Bernardo Silva, for this game as he is a doubt for Man City after being substituted off at halftime against Leeds as a precaution. Guardiola may rest the Portuguese international, having played every minute of every game since the beginning of November.
However, Pep Guardiola’s troops are only one point clear at the top and cannot afford to slip up. The Magpies have also been really poor and relegation to Championship next season is a real possibility.
Newcastle United predicted starting lineup:
Dubravka, Ritchie, Lascelles, Schar, Manquillo, Fraser, Hayden, Shelvey, Murphy, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.
Manchester City predicted starting lineup:
Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri, Grealish, Foden, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Sterling.