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Pep makes two changes for Newcastle visit

TOON: City face Newcastle in the Premier League this afternoon

TOON: City face Newcastle in the Premier League this afternoon

Pep Guardiola has made two changes to the Manchester City side that lost to Liverpool last weekend.

David Silva has returned to the starting lineup after he was on the bench for the game at Anfield.

And Oleksandr Zinchenko comes in at left-back for Fabian Delph, who suffered a knee injury against the Merseysiders and had to be withdrawn after half an hour.

Indeed, City’s injury situation continues to worsen. Vincent Kompany is close to a return but isn’t fully fit for today’s game, while Benjamin Mendy (knee), Gabriel Jesus (knee) and Phil Foden (ankle) are also sidelined.

The 4-3 defeat to Liverpool was our first loss in 30 Premier League games, a run that spanned 281 days.

City have made the joint-best start to an English top-flight season after 23 games (W20, D2, L1). It matches Tottenham’s double-winning side of 1960-61 and Chelsea in 2005-06.

READ: City v Newcastle | Talking Points 

READ: Fernandinho agrees new City deal

City team

City XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva; Sterling, Sane, Aguero

Subs: Bravo, Danilo, Gundogan, Mangala, Bernardo, Adarabioyo, Diaz

Tactics

City, as ever, are likely to go 4-3-3. Zinchenko joins Kyle Walker, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi in the back four.

Fernandinho, who signed a new deal at City this week, will play just in front of the defence, adding protection and allowing Silva and Kevin De Bruyne license to get forward and create.

And up front, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling will provide pace and width in support of Sergio Aguero, who has scored a remarkable 11 goals against Newcastle during his time in English football. 

It’s a lineup that’s bold, attacking and almost guarantees goals.

Newcastle team

Match stats

City are unbeaten in 20 Premier League matches against Newcastle United (W17 D3) – our longest unbeaten run against a side in their league history.

Newcastle have lost each of their last eight away top-flight matches at Man City – they have only lost more consecutively against an opponent on one occasion, losing nine in a row away at Spurs between 1928 and 1956.

City have scored at least four goals in each of their last four home top-flight matches against Newcastle (19 scored in total) – the last team to achieve this in five in a row were Spurs against Blackburn in January 1966 (four or more in six consecutive games).

Rafael Benitez, however, has seen his sides keep four clean sheets at the Etihad in the Premier League – only Alex Ferguson (5) has masterminded more shutouts than the Spaniard.

City lost for the first time in 31 Premier League games in their last match against Liverpool – however, we’re still unbeaten at home in 23 home matches in the competition (W18 D5) since a 1-3 loss to Chelsea in December 2016.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Pep Guardiola previews City's upcoming game against Newcastle.

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Guardiola previews City v Newcastle

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Since the start of the 2013-14 season, City have lost just nine of their 87 Premier League home games, the joint-fewest of any side in that time to have played more than one season in the competition. Only three of these defeats have been against non ‘big six’ sides, though one of them was against Leicester when the Foxes won the title in 2015-16.

Newcastle have won back-to-back Premier League away games, having won just one of their previous 20 in the competition before that. They last won three in a row on the road in the top-flight back in December 2001 under Bobby Robson.

Sergio Aguero has had a hand in 13 Premier League goals against Newcastle (11 goals, 2 assists), averaging a goal or assist every 49 minutes; indeed, at the Etihad, Aguero averages a goal or assist every 31 minutes (8 goals, 1 assist in 283 minutes).

Aguero’s 11 goals against Newcastle in the Premier League can be bettered by only two players - Michael Owen (13) and Wayne Rooney (15).

Matt Ritchie has mustered 40 shots in the Premier League this season without scoring, more than any other player in the division yet to find the back of the 

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