Newcastle United travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening to face last season’s champions, Manchester City. The Magpies haven’t won away to City since the 2014 2-0 EFL Cup victory and they have only beaten their Manchester opponent once in sixteen matches since then. However, with new ownership and aspirations, Eddie Howe will be confident that his side can cause an upset.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City started the 2023/24 Premier League season in a similar fashion to how they ended the previous campaign, with a convincing victory over Burnley at Turf Moor. Erling Haaland silenced all of his critics within the first five minutes, reacting quickly to place the ball into the bottom left corner. However, unfortunately for Pep and Man City, Kevin De Bruyne picked up a hamstring injury which will keep him out for an extended period of time. Even with the absence of the best creator in the league, City and Haaland managed to double their advantage before the break, Rodri then added a third in the 75th minute which wrapped up an almost perfect day out for the Blues.
City also travelled to Athens in midweek, in order to play Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup final. The Spanish opposition took the lead in the 25th minute, yet City replied through Cole Palmer just after the hour mark. The blues went on to win the silverware on penalties but the overall performance will worry Pep and we saw glimpses of weakness even against Burnley last weekend. The Sevilla attackers found plenty of space in behind the City backline and if it wasn’t for poor finishing, they could have scored at least three goals on the night. If this level of complacency is apparent against Newcastle, then City will be in for a difficult game, as we have seen how ruthless the Magpies can be when given space in attack already this season.
The city of Newcastle is heavily invested in the success of their football team following last seasons finish in a UEFA Champions League spot. Eddie Howe has developed a side that can compete against the very best and it won’t be long until Newcastle are seen as one of the best teams in the league. Winning mentality, work ethic as well as technical quality would be the best phrases to describe the Magpies under Howe.
We witnessed all of that in their opener against Aston Villa at St James park last weekend. The home side showed their intent from the first minute of the game and by the 6th minute, their new signing Sandro Tonali opened the scoring, putting his body on the line to score, which just epitomises Newcastle’s willingness to suffer in order to achieve success. Aston Vila struck back not long after but fan favourite Alexander Isak got off the mark and restored the lead in the 16th minute. As Villa started to apply pressure in the second half, the hosts took advantage of the space left in behind, scoring three goals in similar fashion.
The game ended 5-1 to Newcastle and confidence will be at an all time high, to the point where Eddie Howe, the team and the fans will be confident that they can beat Man city at the Etihad this weekend.
Newcastle will be fully prepared and rested for the tie on Saturday, unlike City who had to play ninety minutes on Wednesday night. Both teams will be confident that they can claim three points and I don’t see either manager being happy with anything less than that. It is a tough game to call and goals should be guaranteed.
The final prediction is Manchester City 2-2 Newcastle United