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Sky Blue News: Pep Presser, Women to Face Real Madrid, Week 3 Predictions, and More...

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Manchester City Press Conference Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekend. Both the Men and Women play tomorrow, so let’s get caught up on the latest form Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola dismisses Man City early advantage over Liverpool FC - Simon Bajkowski - Manchester Evening News

Pep knows it’s a long season and there are plenty of points left to play for.

With just one point separating the two teams over 38 games last season, some are seeing four after two games as significant between rivals who so often have had such tight contests. Guardiola, however, was not interested in talking up City’s prospects having seen the highs and lows that all teams go through during nine months.

“It’s very early days. I’m sorry but after two fixtures we can not make any plans about the future” the manager said. “We play Newcastle. Respect to all the other teams we will try to improve our game and win the game.

Pep Talk: “After two fixtures, we cannot make any plans about the future.” - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

The boss isn’t relying on past success as an indicator of Sunday’s outcome.

On Newcastle

“They had an incredible run of games and after that they were safe.

“Our level of attention and concentration was high because we had four games left and we gave everything and got as good result. But I saw in the game against them we struggled with the second balls.

“They are exceptional in terms of how direct and aggressive they are. Eddie Howe always makes competitive teams - at Bournemouth and here. Newcastle away is always an incredible environment. The stadium is one of the best I have seen here.”

“What happened in the past doesn’t matter. Newcastle is not a project for one season. No-one has the secret to success in world football, but we are aligned on the same page here...”


Two Blues are back in the squad, while the latest signing could see his City debut.

Asked in his usual media briefing in Manchester on Friday, Guardiola said: “Cole [Palmer] is back. Kalvin [Phillips] is back. Some niggles for some players but the rest are okay.”

The manager also said Sergio Gomez will be part of City’s travelling party to Newcastle on Sunday.

Gomez started training with the first team squad this week after completing his move from Anderlecht on Tuesday and Guardiola is happy with what he has seen from the Spanish left-back.

“So far, so good. No complaints,” he said.

Pep Guardiola delivers encouraging verdict on Sergio Gomez days after Manchester City arrival - Vayam Lahoti - City Xtra

Pep gives the full-go assessment for our new Spanish number 21.

Guardiola confirmed Gomez is in contention to be thrown straight into action against the Magpies on Sunday as Manchester City search for their third win of the league season.

“Yes, (Gomez is ready). I think so (part of plans for Sunday),” the 51-year-old added.

Whilst some of their rivals have made rather underwhelming starts to their respective seasons, City have so far maintained a perfect start to their title defence.

An opening day triumph away at West Ham saw Erling Haaland grab a brace on his Premier League debut.

Manchester City Women Set Up Real Madrid Champions League Tie - Manc Pete - Bitter and Blue

The Ladies dispatched FC Tomiris-Turan to set up a meeting with Las Blancas.

The blues qualified for the Champions League stages thanks to an impressive winning run that took them above neighbours United into a third-place WSL finish last season and were drawn against the Kazakhstan side, with Real Madrid and Sturm Graz being the other teams in City’s group. The winners of both ties then meet to decide who goes into a 2-legged play-off to compete for a place in the group stages.

In a boost to City’s defence, long-term absentees Esme Morgan and Steph Houghton were named on the bench and the blues unleashed a strong line-up, with Ellie Roebuck, Keira Walsh, Laura Coombs, Lauren Hemp, Alex Greenwood and England’s goal-scoring hero Chloe Kelly all making the starting line-up.


Deyna comes on in the second half and scores from the spot on her City debut.

She made no mistake from the spot, sending opposing goalkeeper Aytaj Sharifova the wrong way to open her account for her new Club after a summer switch from Atletico Madrid.

But while the 23-year-old was happy to take on penalty duties, Castellanos has revealed that her City teammates were the ones who handed her the responsibility.

“I was actually waiting for someone else to take it,” she admitted.

“I was okay with that [letting someone else take it], respecting the other players in the team, but they told me to take it and I was like: ‘okay, I’ll do it!’

“I had a couple of opportunities to score before the penalty. I was a little bit nervous because I felt like now, I was in the situation where to score goals is difficult.

Premier League predictions: Jones Knows thinks Tottenham will struggle to beat Wolves, Southampton can shock Leicester - Lewis Jones - Sky Sports

Predictions for every match, and Jones like City to continue their run of clean sheets against the Magpies.

I’ll be seriously surprised if Newcastle have the attacking capabilities to create enough big moments to put pressure on Manchester City. I was really disappointed with their quality in their 0-0 draw with Brighton last weekend with Eddie Howe’s side creating an expected goals figure of just 0.22 from five shots on goal.

Newcastle may have averaged two points per game this year - the most of any calendar year in the club’s Premier League history - but their attacking numbers are seriously underwhelming when digging into the data - surprisingly so.

Of all the ever-present Premier League teams since Howe’s appointment, no team have created fewer big chances (defined by Opta) than Newcastle (27) and only Wolves and Everton have posted a lower total expected goals than Newcastle’s (35.36). No wonder Howe is hunting for a creative player in this window. A solid defence can only take you so far.

And, not only has Howe lost every single one of his 10 games as a manager against Pep Guardiola (being the only manager to face him 10+ times and lose every game) his record against the elite teams since moving to Tyneside is pretty wretched. Against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham with Howe in the dugout, Newcastle have lost 19-2 on aggregate in six matches.

A Manchester City win without conceding at 11/8 with Sky Bet looks very generous to me.


Manchester City v Newcastle United: Preview, Team News and Prediction - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

Saul likes the Blues to bag a couple more, but concede their first on the season.

City are top of the barely going Premier League table. City are one of only two sides to have won both of our matches so far, sharing that record with Arsenal.

Newcastle, meanwhile, have four points from their two matches and, alongside City, are the only other side in the Premier League yet to concede a goal.

A fun match is ahead as a Howe vs Guardiola takes stage.

Which team will come out in front?

Team News

Pep Guardiola’s side have everyone healthy.

The Magpies have Krafth, Fernandez, Lewis, Shlvey, Targett and Fraser out.


Manchester City 4-1 Newcastle

Man City fans do not need to worry about backing Manchester United vs Liverpool FC - Jack Flintham - Manchester Evening News

And finally... Maybe it’s okay to be okay if the cross-town Reds get the win. Just this one time.

Last season there would have been many a Blues fan racked with guilt as they wondered whether they could bring themselves to celebrate their arch rivals taking points off Liverpool. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which way you look at it, City supporters did not have to worry about that as Jurgen Klopp’s side trounced United 4-0 at Anfield to help increase the tension ahead of the title run-in.

Looking back with the power of hindsight, City did not have to rely on Ralf Rangnick’s side doing them a favour as Ilkay Gundogan’s heroics rescued the Premier League crown for Pep Guardiola’s team. But had the unthinkable happened and the title returned to Merseyside, would supporters have pointed the blame at their neighbours across the city? I am not so sure they would.

One of the key strengths of Guardiola’s management style is that he is able to ensure that his players focus entirely on themselves and not what other teams, mainly Liverpool, are doing. That must be easier said than done when the battle at the top is decided by a point here or there.

City supporters who tune into Monday Night Football next week will be able to watch the proceedings against their two biggest rivals without falling into the quandary that hung over last season’s encounter. The first reason for this is rather simple - it is still early days.

That’s all for now. Check back tomorrow as we get ready for Newcastle vs Manchester City!!!