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If there’s one player Newcastle United will hope gets a rest on Saturday, it’s Sergio Aguero.
City’s greatest goal-scorer of all time has a phenomenal record against the Magpies and has scored 14 times in 12 games against them.
In fact, he averages a goal every 61 minutes against the Geordies, finding the net in eight different matches.
He even bagged five goals in one unforgettable match against the Toon in 2015/16 and claimed another treble in this fixture last season.
Given his impressive start to this campaign and the fact he’s scored nine goals in his past four games against Newcastle and it seems like an easy decision to start the Argentine tomorrow afternoon.
Though many top sides are likely to drop points at Molineux this season, it’s probably fair to say Pep wasn’t entirely pleased with last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Wolves.
The bar has been set so high that any game City don’t win is something of a surprise to the nation – and that is said with no disrespect to any of our opponents.
Wolves are a good side and deserved a point – but the Blues uncharacteristically misplaced several passes during the game and weren’t quite at their purring best.
Pep sets high standards, as do the players, so he could well shuffle his pack against Newcastle tomorrow in a bid to return to winning ways.
Last weekend City played with an unusual 5-3-2 formation, demonstrating that Pep is looking at new ways of approaching games where the opposition sit deep.
It happened against Huddersfield, too, with an intricate system designed to find a path through a crowded final third.
Newcastle showed against Chelsea that they can defend resolutely and though it was no more than attack v defence at times, the Magpies were unfortunate not take a point from a game the visitors had dominated.
It will be fascinating to see how the Blues approach this game, because the Magpies will almost certainly look to keep things tight and compact.
With this in mind, it’s impossible to second-guess what the City starting XI or formation are likely to be.
For supporters, international breaks can be the source of frustration.
Teams that are on a roll don’t want the break and, given the summer hiatus for club football and the World Cup, pausing the season after just four games feels like an unwelcome interruption.
But given the number of players the Blues had on World Cup duty, and the staggered return of the players and fragmented pre-season, this break may be well timed for City.
Those not called up can recharge their batteries some more, those carrying knocks can recover and it will be an early chance for the manager and coaching staff to take stock of the first few weeks of action.
Plus, Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo will be two weeks further along in their rehabilitation – so all in all, the break is likely to be more beneficial than detrimental.
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