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Newcastle vs Manchester City: Predicted Lineups

Who starts at St. James’ Park?

Leicester City v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Quarter-Final

MANCHESTER CITY

The Premier League schedule was quite nice and did not give Manchester City a game on Boxing Day, which meant one extra day of rest compared to almost every other team in the league. The Blues didn’t waste a lot of energy in their win against AFC Bournemouth over the weekend, so maybe there isn’t a lot of reason to make big rotations here.

Pep Guardiola knows that the next game after this one is on Sunday, so he can afford to go with a strong side here and rotate more away to Crystal Palace before coming home to face Watford two days later. Newcastle are always difficult to beat, especially at St. James’ Park, and Pep will no doubt take this very seriously and pick a strong team.

But which team? Ederson in goal, Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi and Fabian Delph in defense, Fernandinho and David Silva in midfield and Gabriel Jesus up front seem to be locks to start, which leaves four positions to fill. Vincent Kompany may not be risked for a second game in four days having just returned from injury, so Eliaquim Mangala will probably start in place of the Kaptain in defense.

In midfield, Kevin De Bruyne played against Bournemouth while battling a stomach problem, and there hasn’t been a lot of time for him to recover properly. Ilkay Gundogan could be pushing for a start here, and it makes sense given the German came off the bench on Saturday and didn’t play a lot of minutes.

Up front, Sergio Agüero could be going back to the bench with Jesus as the main striker. The Brazilian played zero minutes at the weekend after going strong for 120 against Leicester City, so it’s only natural for Gabriel to return after a week off. There’s a chance the two play together in case Pep wants to have a more potent front line to deal with what will probably be a parked bus from the Magpies, but if they don’t then Leroy Sané and Bernardo Silva will probably start on the wings.

Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph; Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva; Bernardo, Jesus, Sané

Bitter and Blue XI (as chosen by you!)

Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané


NEWCASTLE

Rafael Benítez always loves to face big managers, and usually does pretty well against them thanks to a sound defensive gameplan and an incredible dedication from his players, who always buy into what the Spaniard wants from his teams. This current Newcastle side haven’t done particularly well against big sides, but they did take a point from Liverpool at St. James’ Park earlier this season thanks to a fantastic display of collective defending.

Rafa will need an even better effort from his entire team on this one, and we shouldn’t expect anything different than what we’ve seen from many of City’s opponents this season: a well organized side with a lot of players behind the ball looking to keep the game close until they can get a goal on a set piece or counter attack.

In terms of the players, there isn’t a lot of depth in the squad so Benítez will have to stick with the team that’s given him some good results in recent fixtures, with the only real doubt in the starting lineup being Jonjo Shelvey, who’s back from suspension and could start over Mikel Merino or Isaac Hayden.

Predicted XI: Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo; Ritchie, Hayden, Merino, Atsu; Joselu, Gayle