Manchester City return to Premiere League play tomorrow against Newcastle looking to regain form that saw them at the top of the table for the first seven weeks of the campaign. Losing ground and slipping into second, City have suffered two consecutive league defeats before facing a Newcastle side fresh off of an exciting draw against defending champion Chelsea.
What's important to know is that Manchester City have had immense success against the Tyneside club, as they are unbeaten in their last 17 matches against Newcastle. Last February the teams faced off and Manchester City would go on to win 5-0. City had a similar rate of success against Spurs before falling to them last week, so expect the players to come out driven and prepared for a contest. Newcastle are once again finding themselves digging out of a hole -- sitting in 19th place and struggling to find consistency thus far.
The Citizens have faced quite a few fitness setbacks, most notably amongst the defensive area of the pitch. Captain Vincent Kompany has missed the last few weeks after a calf injury (his tenth in three and a half seasons), and center half partner Eliaquim Mangala has also been nursing an injury. The squad that began the season so well defensively have now given up more goals in their last two Premier League matches then they had in their last 11 games combined. Despite being compatriots, Nico Otamendi and veteran Martin Demichelis have seemed a bit incompatible thus far, and as shown in the Champions League draw this past Wednesday to Borussia Mönchengladbach, the defense has been saved in grand fashion by Joe Hart. The Blues will be without Kompany again this weekend but expect Mangala to return, and possibly see the return of Pablo Zabaleta to the first team.
Newcastle found a re-energized spirit after the return of Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Serbian international who faced a three game ban after receiving a straight red against Arsenal. Mitrovic pairs with Ayoze Perez to certainly provide a threat for The Toon, the pair managed to create havoc against Chelsea's back line, albeit a seemingly easier task than in recent memory.
Offensively, Manchester City still have all of the tools to be a constant threat. The main group of attacking players in Agüero, De Bruyne, Sterling and David Silva will finally be in action for the first time in league play, and though Agüero has struggled to find the back of the net, he remains active up top and constantly provides a barrage against opposing goalkeepers. October is an active month for Aguero, as he has scored 13 goals in 14 matches in the fall month for City, David Silva also loves playing against Newcastle, scoring 5 goals against the club which is more than any other team he's faced. The return of Silva is quite welcomed as the offense didn't quite flow as easily as it did when he was absent, although Kevin De Bruyne has proven to be worth every bit of what was paid to get him in sky blue. Silva provides a fantastic link between the holding midfielders and the attacking players, it was quite evident during the week that he's incredibly active feeding Aguero. Yaya Toure will miss the match due to a nagging hamstring injury, Toure attempted to play at the week against Gladbach but ended up subbed off at halftime.
This is a match that City should win, and although Newcastle has had some newfound confidence from last week's draw, playing at the Etihad and emerging victorious is something that requires discipline and consistency, something that Newcastle have certainly lacked thus far.
City - WLLWLW
Newcastle - WLLLLD
Out (City): Clichy, Delph, Kompany, Nasri, Toure.
Out (Newcastle): Taylor, Haidara, Dummett, Riviere