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Talking Points: Sagna or Zabaleta to start?

City’s final game for a fortnight is a Saturday 3pm kick-off against Newcastle United.

The Magpies come into the game boosted by their draw against Chelsea, while Manuel Pellegrini’s men will hope to pick up where they left off in Germany on Wednesday night.

Where will the game be won or lost? Here are five things to look out for on Saturday afternoon…

One for sorrow, two for joy…

Seven years have passed since City last lost three Premier League games in a row.

It’s a milestone we will be striving to avoid on Saturday afternoon when Newcastle come to town for our final game before the latest round of international fixtures.

History is on our side when it comes to facing the Tynesiders as we are on a run of 17 Premier League meetings without a defeat to them.

That’s our longest-ever unbeaten run of games against a single Premier League opponent and the Magpies have also failed to score against us in five league meetings, while we’ve netted two or more in our last 14 games against them.

All that said, Newcastle’s Capital One Cup win over us at the Etihad last October is still all too fresh in the memory...

Sagna or Zabaleta…

Bacary Sagna has undoubtedly been one of City’s star performers in the first two months of this season, excelling in the absence of Pablo Zabaleta.

The Frenchman is used to playing more football than he did in his first season at City and he’s shown just why he was considered one of the league’s best defenders during his time at Arsenal in this run of nine consecutive starts.

Now Zabaleta is back, City have real competition for places – there’s an argument to say that the pair have been the Premier League’s vanguard for right-backs over the last decade.

Will Sagna be given a well-earned rest on Saturday or will Pablo have to wait to make his first start of the season? All will be revealed on Saturday at approximately 2pm.


The Silva effect…

David Silva has scored more Premier League goals against Newcastle than any other club (five in ten appearances).

While you could see that City’s no.21 was still working his way back to full fitness against Borussia Monchengladbach following his month-long lay-off, he still showed some sublime touches and the effect he has on the rest of the teammates was there for all to see.

In Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne, Toure and Fernandinho always had someone to pick out and the Spaniard’s clever movement unsettled the German defensive line, paving the way for a large number of City’s 20 shooting opportunities over the 90 minutes.

David was withdrawn early on Wednesday night and with another couple of days of training under his belt, expect him to have come on further still for Saturday’s game against Steve McClaren’s side.

David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi

Harvest time...

Could Kun’s winner against Borussia be the start of another hot streak for our Argentine ace? His club and international teammate Nicolas Otamendi certainly thinks so.

The defender said: “Despite his age, we must remember that Sergio has a lot of experience of playing in Europe.

“A top player like him, they always focus on themselves and forget about any mistakes. His main goal is to be a threat in the opposition area.

“He showed a lot of confidence, taking the penalty, and for us he is a key player. That's what we expect of him.

“Obviously strikers need to score goals. The more goals they score, the more confident they feel.”

Sergio has scored 11 goals in 12 Premier League games in the month of October, the best ratio (0.91) of anyone with 10+ goals in the month.

An ominous stat for the sides facing City in October…

Sergio Aguero

Bad timing…

City have developed an unhappy coincidental knack of meeting teams just as they’re coming into form in recent weeks.

That was certainly the case on Wednesday night when the previously beleaguered Borussia Monchengladbach gave a confident display following their first two Bundesliga wins and took City right to the wire.

On Saturday, Manuel Pellegrini’s side will meet another team with every reason to travel to the Etihad Stadium full of confidence.

Newcastle United may have let a two-goal lead slip against Chelsea at St James’ Park last time out but, inspired by the returning Aleksandar Mitrovic, they produced a spirited showing which belied their lowly league position.

Are things clicking with the Magpies? Georginio Wijnaldum believes so, declaring that the draw with the champions has solved a “crisis of confidence”.

Just in time for their trip to Manchester…

Make sure you don’t miss out on our next home match and buy your ticket now for City v Newcastle on Saturday 3rd October at 3pm. Tickets for this match are now extremely limited, with only single seats remaining.

Hospitality packages are also still available in the new Legends suite from £150 per person (plus VAT). You can enjoy your matchday with friends and family in this fantastic suite with great food and drink, as well as some of the best views of the pitch.

Call our dedicated sales team and book now on +44 (0)161 444 1894 (option 1, option 2).

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