Newcastle United vs Manchester City Preview: Injury-riddled Magpies looking to shut out rampant City 
Photo Credit:(Gettyimages/Alex Livesey)

Newcastle United vs Manchester City Preview: Injury-riddled Magpies looking to shut out rampant City 

The Citizens travel to St James' Park having scored 33 goals in their last eight games as they look to move top of the Premier League.

Aaron Hindhaugh

Rafa Benitez has been hit with more injuries to his players as he heads into the Manchester City game with only one fit striker.

Newcastle United are just two points above the relegation zone but have a superior goal difference over their relegation rivals.

City have scored more goals in their last five games (21) than Newcastle have managed all season (19) which gives an idea of how the game may go tomorrow night.

A one-sided game

A lot of teams that play City try to sit deep and hit them on the counter-attack, however, Benitez is the master of defensive tactics.

The last time the Citizens visited Tyneside the Magpies rarely left their own half and only had 21% possession with only two shots on target.

Pep Guardiola will want his side to keep up their star-studded performances up against Newcastle who will look to frustrate the Spaniard's players.

Benitez will be hoping his walking wounded players can put up a good fight.

Newcastle are still without three of their most important players in Jonjo Shelvey, Mo Diame and Paul Dummett.  

Guardiola has a full strength squad to chose from with Benjamin Mendy expected to make the bench once again.

The Spaniard will likely start with Sergio Aguero as Gabriel Jesus started their FA Cup match on Saturday.

Last meeting

When the two sides met earlier this season City were 2-1 winners thanks to a long-range effort from Kyle Walker which cancelled out DeAndre Yedlin's equaliser in the first half.

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It is likely that Aguero will start against the Magpies as he has 14 goals in 12 games against Newcastle.

The Premier League champions have dominated this fixture in recent years scoring 18 goals in the last five meetings, winning four and drawing one.

The last time these two sides met at St James' Park City were 1-0 winners with Newcastle not threatening Ederson all game until the last few minutes when Dwight Gayle hit the post with a header.

Managers' thoughts 

Benitez seemed downbeat at his pre-match press conference like he was already accepting defeat against Guardiola's side.

The Spaniard spoke to The Chronicle about how his side could cope with City: "Man City have 4 or 5 of the quickest players in the PL."

"We have to do really well and, if we do really well, we have a chance but this is a very difficult game."

"One point could make all the difference, and goal difference is important for us as you have seen."

Guardiola admitted it would be a difficult test for his side on a cold night on Tyneside against one of the most defensive sides in the league.

"From our experience with Newcastle, it’s always tight and I imagine that will happen tomorrow because they defend really well."

"But I feel we attack better against these defences."

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"We attack more fluently."

Key battles

Defence vs Attack

All five of Newcastle's defenders will need to stay focused for the full match as City just need one chance to kill the game.

If the Magpies are to get anything from the game tomorrow evening they will have to keep a tight and compact defensive line all game and defend deep to limit the amount of space their star players have.

Rondon vs Laporte

At the Etihad Newcastle's goal came through a counter-attack that Salomon Rondon started as he held off defenders to give Yedlin his second goal for the club.

Newcastle will need their number nine to be his usual physical presence up front to relieve some pressure and get his side further up the pitch.