Mens Team

Stones starts as Pep makes five changes

Stones starts as Pep makes five changes
John Stones is one of five changes to City’s starting XI for the visit of Newcastle United.

The England defender has been side-lined with injury since the restart of the Premier League and hasn’t played a first team game since March 4 against Sheffield Wednesday.

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Also recalled are Nicolas Otamendi, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Rodrigo.

Raheem Sterling gets a rare rest on the bench.

Line-ups

City: Ederson, Cancelo, Zinchenko, Otamendi, Stones, Rodrigo, D Silva (c) Foden, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Jesus

Subs: Bravo, Walker, Sterling, Gundogan, Laporte, Bernardo, Fernandinho, Garcia, Doyle

Newcastle United: Dubravka, Yedlin, Krafth, Schär, Fernández, Rose, Lazaro, Shelvey, Bentaleb, Ritchie, Joelinton

Subs: Darlow, Gayle, Muto, Manquillo, Almirón, Atsu, Longstaff, Allan, Young.

Formation analysis

With the keeper and full-backs the same that started against Southampton, the Stones/Otamendi central defensive partnership is the only change across the back four.

Rodrigo resumes his anchor role in front of defence, with David Silva and De Bruyne completing the midfield trio.

The forward line will see Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden supplying Gabriel Jesus – though the formation will be fluid throughout.

City look to bounce back quickly

Sunday’s defeat at Southampton will have hurt and it also raised the question of games that have been lost this season despite City dominating.

There was a feeling that, despite so many shots and corners on the Saints’ goal, that it was one of those days when the ball was never going to go in the net.

Whether Newcastle bear the brunt of that misfortune remains to be seen, but the visitors arrive at the Etihad unbeaten in six Premier League matches.

It is likely that Steve Bruce will abandon the defensive mindset his team had for the recent FA Cup tie at St James’ Park and throw caution to the wind as and when possible.

It should be an open, attacking game and three more points would edge City closer to Champions League qualification and sealing the runners-up spot.

Stats and facts

City have won the last 10 Premier League meetings at the Etihad – one more would be a Club record against one side.

City have won 15 of the last 18 league meetings.

If Ederson keeps a clean sheet this evening, it will be the first time since September 2011 that City have had five successive shut-outs at home in the league.

Kevin de Bruyne has scored or assisted a goal 15 times in his last 14 Premier League starts.

Newcastle are on a six-match unbeaten Premier League run, winning three and drawing three - only Manchester United (nine games) are currently on a longer top-flight unbeaten run.

Steve Bruce is yet to win a Premier League away match against Man City as a manager with three draws and eight losses.

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