Match Preview: Newcastle vs Manchester City
By Arjun Sharad
Manchester City travel to St. James' Park and face The Magpies for their FA Cup quarter final tie as City look to redeem themselves after the Chelsea loss earlier this week. With the EFL Cup already in the bag for the third year in a row and fifth time in the last seven seasons, Manchester City are favorites to become the first team since Arsenal in 2015 to retain the FA Cup too. Pep Guardiola’s men will be searching for their 10th successive FA cup win, last losing in the FA Cup back in Feb 2018, a daunting stat Newcastle cannot afford to ignore. However, Newcastle have picked up momentum in their recent games with a big win of 3-0 against Sheffield United and then holding Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw.
Even before the Chelsea game, Pep had stated that “…The Newcastle game will be a final for us”, clearly expressing the importance of winning the competition again this year. The last time Manchester city visited St. James' Park was back in November, the result was a 2-2 draw with the late goal from Jonjo Shelvey at the 88th minute ensuring a point for the Magpies. Although Manchester City boasts one of the fiercest attacks in the league, it must be noted it’s Newcastle who have scored more goals than any other club left in the competition so far this season, hence leading to added pressure on our defense for this upcoming fixture.
Manchester City will be without Fernandinho who is suspended due to his red card against Chelsea. John Stones and Phil Foden are back in training while Eric Garcia will be checked, after picking up head injury in the Burnley game. Sergio Aguero is sidelined with a Knee Injury and Cancelo is also said to be out (Knock). There's no new update on Claudio Bravo and is expected to remain out as well.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will be without Nabil Bentaleb, who is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the competition already. Steve Bruce will hope fellow midfielder Matty Longstaff has shaken off a thigh problem, while his brother Sean Longstaff is doubtful nursing a muscle strain. Defenders Florian Lejeune and Ciaran Clark are working their way back to full fitness while they have been joined on the list of possible absentees by Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden.
Even though Chelsea defense hasn’t been the best this season (6 clean sheets), City managed to score only once through an amazing free-kick by De Bruyne. City players had just 4 shots on target in the last game, and Pep Guardiola will look up to players to produce a better goalscoring display this time around. Missing Aguero is certainly going to be a huge handicap, however, City have no dearth of goalscorers in the squad.
It will be important for city to have a fluid formation, where Sterling, De Bruyne, Foden and Jesus keep rotating and shifting their positions, as Jesus can drop on the wings occasionally and allow wingers to make those runs inside the box. Manchester City can play Gundogan in front of the defense, a role that has suited him more than the attacking one, to reinforce the back four as Newcastle shall, with players like Miguel Almiron, having scored four goals in his five FA Cup appearances, and players like Andy Caroll and Jonjo Shelvey who will constantly attempt to test Ederson.
Similar to how Manchester City usually plays, Newcastle utilizes the width of a pitch and look to create chances from the wings with the help of crosses from players like Rose, Saint-Maximin and Manquillio. Winning those aerial duels against tall players like Andy Caroll will be vital, and Shelvey and Almiron will look to exploit and create chances from the middle of the pitch. Much like what we saw against Sheffield United, Steve Bruce will look to initially have a defensive setup and block most of the chances city will create, and rush to attack on the counter only. City cannot afford to be wasteful with the chances they get to score, and capitalizing on early chances will be the key to securing a win against this Newcastle side.
Head to Head
Newcastle play their first FA cup quarter final in 15 years. Since English football resumed, Manchester City made an emphatic return, scoring eight while conceding none while demolishing Arsenal and Burnley. That was halted by the defeat to Chelsea. The Cityzens are also yet to face Premier League opposition in the FA cup competition yet, having beaten Port Vale, Fulham, and Sheffield Wednesday to reach this stage.
The home side remain unbeaten since the restart, having registered four points against newly-promoted sides Sheffield United and Aston Villa. With their league season is all but over, both sides will go into this one fully motivated. City's enormously talented squad obviously makes them favourites, although Newcastle will feel like they can get a result, having not lost to Guardiola's side in their last two home meetings.
In a Head-to-Head analysis done for Manchester City vs Newcastle United in all competitions for the last 10 games between the two sides, Manchester City have been unbeaten in 7 of them (5W, 2D)
The upcoming fixture is crucial for both the teams and we can expect to see both the clubs fielding their best XI.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Gundogan, David Silva, De Bruyne; Foden, Sterling, Jesus
Subs: Carson, Stones, Mendy, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Sane, Mahrez
Newcastle: Martin Dubravka, Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose, Ritchie,Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Carroll
Subs: Yedlin, Schar, Atsu, Gayle, Joelinton, Willems, Darlow, Krafth, Muto, Lazaro
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistant Referees: Scott Ledger & Adrian Holmes
Fourth Official: Andrew Madley
Reserve Assistant: Mark Dwyer
VAR: Andre Marriner
AVAR: Stephen Child
Date: Sunday, 28 June
Kick off: 11 PM IST
TV: Sony Ten 2 & HD
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