Manchester City returned from the Club World Cup with a spring in their step and will be pushing for a sixth straight win when taking on Newcastle at St James’ Park.
The visit of the champions presents a stern challenge to the Magpies, who have lost their last three Premier League matches.
Manchester City have looked a far more confident side since their success at the Club World Cup and they can close the gap to Premier League leaders Liverpool to just two points by defeating Newcastle at St James’ Park.
The Citizens are only two points worse off than they were at the same stage as last season and would expect to improve in the second half of the campaign.
Kevin De Bruyne made his long-awaited return as a substitute in last Sunday’s 5-0 success at home to Huddersfield in the FA Cup third round, but the Belgian may have to wait a little longer for his second Premier League start of the season.
Pep Guardiola is not the sort of manager who makes changes for the sake of it and will be respectful of the players responsible for City’s five-game winning streak.
However, the returns of De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku are likely to have raised standards in training as the players holding the shirts do their utmost to retain them.
City might not be far off peak performance and that would be bad news for Newcastle, who have been sliding towards mid-table.
Five losses in six league games has seen the Magpies drop to ninth and heap pressure onto Eddie Howe.
There was some respite last Saturday when Newcastle triumphed 3-0 away to bitter rivals Sunderand in the FA Cup but it came at a cost, with Joelinton picking up a quad injury that will keep him out for at least six weeks.
Newcastle continue to be dogged by far too many injuries and their problems give ample encouragement to City, who should prevail in a high-scoring game.
Phil Foden to score at any time - 11/5
Phil Foden is known as one of City’s most inventive players but he is also scoring plenty of goals (11 in all competitions) and can find the net against Newcastle.
The 23-year-old has netted four times in his last four appearances and looks a solid 11/5 wager to find the net on Tyneside.
Gordon will have to carry out more defensive duties than usual against such high-quality opposition and that makes him an even more likely candidate for a caution.
Newcastle continue to be hampered by a lengthy absentee list.
Joelinton sustained a quad injury during last Saturday’s 3-0 triumph at Sunderland in the FA Cup third round that has ruled him out for at least six weeks, while Joe Willock (Achilles), Callum Wilson, Matt Targett (both hamstring), Nick Pope, Jacob Murphy (both shoulder), Harvey Barnes (foot), Elliot Anderson (back) and Javi Manquillo (groin) all remain sidelined.
Sandro Tonali continues his suspension.
De Bruyne came off the bench in last Sunday’s 5-0 success at home to Huddersfield in the FA Cup third round and will be hoping to make his first Premier League appearance since August.
Doku (thigh) also returned against the Terriers but John Stones (ankle) remains sidelined.
Late checks will be made on Erling Haaland (foot), Manuel Akanji (knee), Bernardo Silva and Kalvin Phillips (both illness).
City have won their last five matches.
Newcastle have won just one of their last 32 Premier League games against the Citizens.
The Magpies have lost five of their last six Premier League fixtures.
|Manchester City wins
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.