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Talking Points: City ready to turn up the heat

LEAD: City get back in the lead thanks to Kyle Walker.

LEAD: City get back in the lead thanks to Kyle Walker.

Analysing the key topics for discussion, ahead of Newcastle v City...


(Without tempting fate!), it’s worth noting that City have a remarkable recent record against Newcastle, unbeaten in our last 22 Premier League encounters against the Magpies – the longest undefeated streak against a single opponent in the top flight!

Of those clashes, we’ve emerged victorious in 19, drawing three. In fact, since our last league loss against the north-east outfit – more than 13 years ago in September 2005 – we have only been defeated once: in the 2014/15 League Cup campaign.

READ: Bernardo loving City's packed schedule

WATCH: Guardiola | 'We have to be faultless'

GALLERY: Blues prepare for Toon test

As a result, St James’ Park has proved to be a happy hunting ground with the Blues unbeaten on our last 11 visits.

A note of caution warns that Newcastle have won four of their last six home league matches against sides starting the day in the top two, but with one of those defeats inflicted by City, let’s hope our exceptional run continues…

CITY V NEWCASTLE: Our undefeated streak.



City v Newcastle: Our undefeated streak

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One man in particular who glitters against Newcastle is the one and only Sergio Aguero.

Kun boasts his own impressive record against ‘the Toon’, having bagged 14 goals in his 12 Premier League appearances against them - more than any player has scored against an opponent for a single club in the competition's history.

He famously netted five in the space of 20 minutes on an especially memorable afternoon and our 'fox in the box' will be hoping to unleash that predatory instinct once more to stun the Magpies.

With four goals in his last six appearances for our Argentine ace, you wouldn’t bet against it.

The chosen XI?

Enduring a packed fixture schedule is the price you pay for success.

With City still fighting in four competitions, the Blues find ourselves in the midst of a gruelling period in which squad rotation is proving key.

Crucially, Pep Guardiola was able to freshen up the starting XI in our Carabao and FA Cup clashes over the past few weeks, handing well-deserved rests to some and valuable minutes to others.



Guardiola: Refreshed Ferna ready to kick on

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Back to Premier League business tonight, you would expect a full-strength line-up, as we look to continue our outstanding January form and close the gap on league leaders Liverpool.

Only Vincent Kompany and Claudio Bravo have been ruled out of contention, while Benjamin Mendy is a doubt - yet to return to full fitness, following his lengthy lay-off.

With each player hungry for minutes, there have been an array of fine individual performances across the board over the past few weeks, providing a pleasant selection headache for the boss.

Who makes your starting XI? Let us know on Twitter @ManCity.

Turning up the heat

An opportunity which has proven rare over the past few months, City have the chance to put real pressure on league leaders Liverpool, as we play 24 hours before the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp's side host Leicester on Wednesday night and could find their lead atop the Premier League table cut to a single point, should the Blues triumph at St James' Park.

Needless to say, there is little margin for error and Guardiola asserted his side must remain 'faultless' if we to overhaul our title rivals, admittng he does not expect Liverpool to drop points.

Still, we can only control our own fate and three points tonight could provide a psychological advantage, as we look to stay hot on their heels.

Attack v defence?

Unusually and somewhat controversially, Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has insisted his side plan to focus on defence rather than attack against the Premier League Champions.

With the Magpies struggling, embroiled in a relegation fight, the Spaniard asserts 'damage limitation' will be the target for his side, in a bid to preserve a goal difference advantage on those around them.

“It makes no sense to have a go and lose 6-1 and be happy with that because we had a go, or lose 9-0," he said. "You cannot do that because it’s really bad for the confidence of your players."

City are of course, used to facing packed-out backlines; therefore, quality will be key, if we are to successfully unlock the opposition defence and come away with three points.

Men's Team

Bernardo loving City’s packed schedule

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Men's Team

Guardiola: Kompany has special qualities

Pep Guardiola has highlighted the crucial importance of Vincent Kompany to the Club’s cause – both on and off the pitch.

Pep Guardiola offers his thoughts on the short and long-term future of Vincent Kompany