Newcastle United will be fighting relegation hard, but the game against Manchester City can prove to be intimidating to that thought, as Sergio Aguero coming to St James’ Park will be looking to terrorise the Magpies once more and continue his scintillating form on Tuesday when the teams clash at Tyneside. Newcastle won their last with a 3-0 score-line over Swansea City. The victory kept the Magpies two points behind the Sunderland and pulled them within three of Norwich City, who are narrowly above the drop.
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Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri are both expected to return. Aguero will be on a serious high after his hattrick against Chelsea in their last game. The return of Toure and Nasri compensate for the loss of David Silva, still feeling enough ankle pain to ensure he cannot play two games in three or four days. That means the defensive heroes of the midweek win over Paris St Germain, Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi, both retain their places, although Fernando – equally effective – is given a well-earned break on the bench after playing four full games in the space of ten days.
Rafa Benitez had named a much-changed back four for Newcastle’s clash with Swansea City at St James’ Park. Benitez also axed skipper Jonjo Shelvey with Moussa Sissoko taking the armband for the day while Aleksandar Mitrovic was also relegated to the bench with Ayoze Perez. With Steven Taylor out through injury, Benitez opted to play Jamaal Lascelles in the heart of defence with Chancel Mbemba. There was also a return to the team for Jack Colback. Gini Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko are expected to retain their place in the side despite poor performances at Southampton.
• A win for Manchester City will make it their eighth consecutive Premier League victory over Newcastle United.
• City have beaten Newcastle 15 times in the Premier League; only against Aston Villa (18 times) have they won more.
• With 31, the Magpies have used more players in the top flight than any other side.
• Newcastle, in their last game, won against Swansea City and their last couple of games have been high scoring ones.
• Newcastle are the worst victims of late goals, having conceding 15 in the last 15 minutes of league matches; more than any other side.
• The Magpies’ last – and only – win in the city of Manchester came against City at Maine Road in September 2000.
League Head to Head
30 Mar 2013 Manchester City v Newcastle United W 4-0 Premier League
19 Aug 2013 Manchester City v Newcastle United W 4-0 Premier League
12 Jan 2014 Newcastle United v Manchester City W 0-2 Premier League
17 Aug 2014 Newcastle United v Manchester City W 0-2 Premier League
21 Feb 2015 Manchester City v Newcastle United W 5-0 Premier League
03 Oct 2015 Manchester City v Newcastle United W 6-1 Premier League
Manchester City – Sergio Aguero
Aguero cut a swarth of destruction through Newcastle in the reverse fixture at the Etihad on Oct. 3, barnstorming to five goals in a 20-minute span around halftime as Manchester City thrashed the Toons 6-1. He scored in all methods and forms – a diving header, his right foot, his left foot, a dink over the keeper, a vicious curler from outside the box and inside a post, a slot home from close range as cool as you like – as he became the fifth player in Premier League history to net five in a game.
Aguero enters this contest looking to build on a hat trick that powered the Citizens to a 3-0 victory at Chelsea on Saturday.
Newcastle United – Georginio Wijnaldum
The nine-goal player hasn’t scored since January and he has struggled for form in recent months, especially away from home. United manager Rafa Benitez, however, is not minded to drop Wijnaldum, who captained PSV Eindhoven to the Eredivisie title last season.
When asked about Wijnaldum’s form in an interview, Benitez said: “When you have players with international experience, players that can make the difference, you want to see them winning the games.When you see him in training, you can see he has so much quality that he can be the difference and we will support him to do that.”
He has gone from being Dutch Footballer of the Year plundering nine goals in the first half of the season to giving a performance as an invisible man, but in a high octane game such as this one, he is likely to want to improve himself and also help save his team from relegation. Experience will bound to be key.
Unless Newcastle United performs a miracle, the result is most likely to end up in a 2-0 victory for Manchester City.