After a dramatic and heartbreaking UEFA Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid, Manchester City must refocus and turn their attention to the Premier League as the title challengers entertain Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
This follows Liverpool’s surprising 1-1 draw over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening, which saw The Reds move top briefly on goal difference, while City, who are unbeaten in eight top-flight matches, know they can move three points clear at the summit with just three games remaining if they bounce back from their midweek disappointment and defeat Newcastle.
The Magpies, whose four-match winning run came to an end last weekend after a spirited display against Jurgen Klopp’s side as The Reds recorded a 1-0 win on Tyneside, have dropped to 13th in the table after Aston Villa, Brentford and Crystal Palace all won their respective games, but Newcastle sit 11 points above the bottom three and still have a chance of finishing in the top half this season.
Yet, the omens don’t look good for Newcastle this weekend in claiming a fifth away win of the campaign having never won a league match at the Etihad Stadium in 16 visits and Howe has lost all 11 of his top-flight meetings against City.
Despite the huge challenge that lies ahead, they will be encouraged that they have picked up the fourth most points in 2022 behind only the title chasing sides Liverpool and City as well as Spurs, which shows why Howe is deservedly in serious contention in being nominated for the Manager of the Season award.
Team News - Manchester City
Team News - Newcastle
City have an outstanding record against Newcastle as they have lost just one of their past 28 league meetings - that sole 2-1 defeat arrived at St James’ Park in January 2019.
The last time the two sides met in the blue half of Manchester was Boxing Day two years ago and goals in either half from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres gave City a comfortable 2-0 win over then Steve Bruce’s Newcastle.
The Magpies’ only triumph to date against City at the Etihad Stadium came in the EFL Cup round of 16 in October 2014 as Alan Pardew’s Newcastle claimed a famous 2-0 victory courtesy of goals from Rolando Aarons and Moussa Sissoko.
Ones to watch
Gabriel Jesus alongside his teammate Kevin De Bruyne have been nominated for April’s Player of the Month award in an eight-man shortlist which also includes Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes and it’s been an unforgettable month in particular for the Brazilian forward who’s scintillating form has seen him score six times in all competitions in five games.
His eye-catching man-of-the-match display against Watford just two weeks ago was certainly his best performance of the season so far as he became the first Brazilian to net four goals in a single Premier League match and he will be hoping to continue his rich vein of form heading into the final weeks of the campaign to help City regain their crown.
If the 25-year-old is to leave City in the summer, especially if the club completes the arrival of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, then Jesus has an opportunity to bow out in style and show interested clubs that he’s still got what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
Callum Wilson - Newcastle
But the Magpies’ number nine is back in contention after almost five months out and he could make a surprise start at City having trained all week. In addition, with six league goals in 15 appearances this season, the 30-year-old still remains Newcastle’s top goalscorer.
Whether Howe decides to introduce Wilson into the starting line-up or opts to include his target man on the bench, the England international’s return to the Newcastle side is a long-awaited one and Wilson will be looking to mark his first appearance since December with a goal and who better to score against than the reigning champions.
Manchester City: Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden; Jesus. (4-2-3-1)
Newcastle United: Dubravka; Krafth, Lascelles, Burn, Targett; Guimaraes, Shelvey, Joelinton; Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin. (4-3-3)
Where to watch
The match will kick-off at 4:30pm on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League with coverage starting from 4:00pm. Highlights of the match will also be available to watch on Sky Sports Football’s YouTube channel.