Preview: Manchester City v Newcastle

Newcastle’s winless start to the season is expected to continue when they take on defending champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

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Premier League
1 September 2018
Game-week 4
Kick-off: 18:30 (GMT+2)
Venue: Etihad Stadium

Referee: K. Friend
Assistants: S. Bennett, D. Eaton
Fourth official: C. Pawson

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Man City 177 67 39 71
Newcastle 177 71 39 67

Previous encounter:

Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle (Premier League) 20/01/2018

Man City goalscorers: S. Aguero (34, 63 pen, 83)

Newcastle goalscorers: J. Murphy (67′)

Players to watch:

Sergio Aguero enjoys facing the Magpies and has scored 14 goals against them, including two hat-tricks – the most recent one coming in the corresponding fixture last term. The Argentine ace already has three goals to his name in the new campaign after hitting a triple against Huddersfield a fortnight ago.

The Toon will be hoping that Joselu can deliver the goods once more should chances come their way, with the Spanish striker having bagged a goal apiece against Tottenham and Chelsea.

Team form and manager quotes:

Pep Guardiola’s side is unbeaten after three rounds, but they will be determined to bounce back from last weekend’s 1-1 draw at newly-promoted Wolves.

City has looked in ominous form this month as they brushed aside Arsenal 2-0 in their top-flight opener, before dishing out a 6-1 hammering to Huddersfield.

The Premier League title holders were denied a third straight victory by Rui Patricio, who put in an outstanding display in goal to earn the Black Country club a share of the spoils last time out.

Guardiola wants a response from his team as he seeks a return to winning ways before the international break.

“We dropped two points – or won one – at Wolves, and one of the secrets of last season is in the days we didn’t get three points, we won the next one,” the Spaniard said in his pre-match press conference.

“There are a lot of points to play for. After the international break starts the real season.”

The Magpies are still searching for their first victory of the campaign following 2-1 defeats to Tottenham and Chelsea, while newcomers Cardiff held them to a goalless draw in between those two matches.

There was more disappointment to follow in midweek when the Tynesiders were dumped out of the EFL Cup by Nottingham Forest in the second round.

Another tough fixture beckons this weekend and Toon boss Rafael Benitez is aware that his players have to perform a lot better or risk a thrashing at the hands of the Citizens.

“We will try to manage our squad, get a good result and that’s it. It’s 11 v 11, anything can happen, and that’s football,” Benitez told the media.

“When you lose a game in a cup against a team in the division below, then you have to analyse why… We know we have to do better.

“Nobody knows our players better than us. I have a lot of confidence in them and I’m very proud of them.”

Team news:

The hosts have an almost full-strength squad available for the visit of Newcastle, with only Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo absent with long-term injuries.

Skipper Jamaal Lascelles is back in contention for the visitors after shaking off an ankle problem, but Jonjo Shelvey (thigh) and Matt Ritchie (knee) miss the trip to Manchester.

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