Having lost for a third consecutive Premier League away match on Sunday, Manchester City will enjoy home comforts again this evening as they welcome Newcastle to the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side have won their three home matches since lockdown by an aggregate score of 12-0, in contrast to their struggles on the road which have seen them defeated at Chelsea and Southampton in the last fortnight. [via TransferMarkt]
Their last away win, though, came against today’s opponents in an FA Cup quarter-final the weekend before last, with Steve Bruce’s side currently in 12th place and among a cluster of mid-table teams harbouring only faint hopes of making a late burst for Europe.
Guardiola has heavily rotated his starting line-up in recent games and, with City back in action less than 72 hours after their clash at St Mary’s on Sunday, he could be set to ring the changes again here, even with Sergio Aguero the only injury absentee among his squad.
We predict that the Spaniard will make no fewer than eight changes to the line-up that began the 1-0 defeat at Southampton, taking the opportunity to utilise the depth of his squad and give several players a breather:
Goalkeeper Ederson is the only Manchester City player to start in every league game since lockdown and he is likely to maintain that record this evening, despite his involvement in Che Adams’ decisive goal on Sunday. There could be a completely revamped back four ahead of him, though – full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker sat out the St Mary’s defeat and may well be restored here, with a rejigged central defensive partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones, the ex-Everton man coming in for his first start since March after a recent ankle injury.
The midfield trio could also have a totally different look to it from the Southampton game. Kevin De Bruyne came on as a substitute at the weekend so he is likely to be recalled here, while the two Silvas may be given a breather to make way for Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan, neither of whom were called upon at St Mary’s.
The other change to the line-up from Sunday could see Raheem Sterling rested after starting Man City’s last four matches in all competitions, with Phil Foden getting a chance from the start to build on his good form of late. Riyad Mahrez is likely to keep his place on the right flank while Gabriel Jesus, still awaiting his first goal since February, ought to be kept in the line-up so that he can finally break his recent duck and restore his confidence.
Can Gabriel Jesus be trusted as Man City's first choice striker?
Such is the depth of Guardiola’s squad that predicting his line-up is often a guessing game, although recent matches have taught us to expect quite a few changes from one game to the next given the tight scheduling of fixtures.
Man City fans, what changes do you anticipate for this evening’s starting XI? Let us know in the comments section below!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience