Up front, Jack Grealish is likely to start on the left flank, with Raheem Sterling on the right and Gabriel Jesus down the middle – though all three are likely to chop and change as the game progresses.
City’s Golden Chance
The Premier League title race has been nip and tuck for some time now, with Liverpool chipping away City’s 14-point lead at the top to move within one point.
Both teams have been imperious - machines that just keep winning matches, but both are well aware that any dropped points in the run-in could be decisive.
Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Anfield last night means that City can move three points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side with a victory against Newcastle.
That would leave a simple equation of seven points from the three matches that remain to guarantee a fourth title in five years for City.
After the gut-wrenching manner of our Champions League exit in midweek, Liverpool dropping two points on Saturday evening was exactly the fillip Pep Guardiola’s side needed ahead of today’s game.
Now, City must capitalise with three points this afternoon – it won’t be easy against a rejuvenated Newcastle side who can be relaxed and play with freedom – but a chance to move three clear is too good to miss.
Stats and facts
- City have lost just one of the past 28 league games against Newcastle (W23, D4), a 2-1 defeat at St James' Park in January 2019.
- Newcastle have never won a league match at the Etihad Stadium (D2, L14), losing each of their last 12 visits to the stadium.
- City failed to win four of the opening 10 league matches this season (D2, L2) but have dropped points in only four of their subsequent 24 top-flight fixtures (D3, L1).
- The reigning champions have scored 18 Premier League goals from set-pieces this season (excluding penalties), the most of any side.
- City have scored 789 goals in 359 Premier League matches at the Etihad Stadium, an average of 2.2 per game - the best ratio any side has at a particular home venue in the competition's history.
- Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in 15 goals in his last 16 Premier League appearances, scoring nine and assisting six.
- Rodri has scored five goals in 29 Premier League appearances this term, equalling his combined total in his two previous seasons across 69 games.
- Riyad Mahrez has scored in each of his last five league starts at the Etihad Stadium.
- Newcastle's 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United on 27 December is the only point they have earned in 10 league games this season against teams currently in the top six.
- The Magpies have only won one of their 26 Premier League fixtures away to the reigning champions (D8, L17) - at Manchester United in December 2013, when Yohan Cabaye scored the only goal.
- Defeat would be the 100th Premier League loss of Eddie Howe's managerial career in what will be his 215th game.
- Howe has lost all 11 of his Premier League meetings with Manchester City, the longest 100% losing record a manager has recorded against a single opponent.
- Nine of those defeats have come against Pep Guardiola - also the longest 100% losing record one manager has against another in the Premier League.