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Preview: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Newcastle United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two sides who endured contrasting fortunes in their EFL Cup quarter-final showdowns will soon turn their attention to the Premier League as Manchester City face off against Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day.

City eased into the last four of the EFL Cup with a dominant 4-1 win on Arsenal's turf, whereas Newcastle bowed out of the competition as they lost 1-0 at Championship side Brentford.


Match preview

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Finding the back of the net has not been Manchester City's forte this season, but Pep Guardiola will be hoping that his side have rediscovered their goalscoring touch after putting four past Arsenal on Tuesday evening.

The Citizens were helped by a less-than-convincing performance from Runar Alex Runarsson in between the sticks, but City simply eased to victory at the Emirates thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte, with Alexandre Lacazette pulling one back for the Gunners.

Guardiola's men are well on their way to a fourth consecutive triumph in the EFL Cup, but City's attention now turns to the Premier League as they look to get their title charge back on track heading into the New Year.

City were made to work for their victory at high-flying Southampton last weekend, but Raheem Sterling's early finish ensured that Guardiola's team travelled back from the South Coast with another three points in the bag, which was only their third victory in their last seven top-flight outings, however.

It is possible for eighth-placed City to break into the top four on this festive weekend, but Guardiola's men would need to win and hope that Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Chelsea all suffer defeat, which is extremely unlikely to occur despite the surprises that Boxing Day fixtures have thrown up in the past.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce pictured on November 6, 2020© Reuters

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce accepted that he would be heavily criticised for the Magpies' performance at Brentford, with Josh Dasilva's second-half winner enough to dump the Premier League side out of the competition at the quarter-final stage.

Bruce continues to divide opinion amongst the Newcastle fanbase, but with no cup football to contend with for another few weeks, the Magpies boss can simply focus on producing more consistent results in the Premier League heading into 2021.

Newcastle have only tasted defeat once in their last four Premier League outings - a run which includes victories over Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion - but the Magpies had to rely on a controversially-awarded Callum Wilson penalty to bail them out of trouble against a 10-man Fulham last weekend.

Should Bruce's men defy the odds and prevail on Man City's turf, they will temporarily leapfrog Wolverhampton Wanderers into 11th before the West Midlands outfit face Spurs on Sunday, but defeat would hand Crystal Palace and Leeds United the opportunity to overtake Newcastle this weekend.

City put five past Newcastle without reply in this fixture last season, and the Magpies have not won a top-flight game on the hosts' turf for over 20 years.

Manchester City Premier League form: LWWDDW
Manchester City form (all competitions): WWDDWW

Newcastle United Premier League form: LLWWLD
Newcastle United form (all competitions): LWWLDL



Team News

Manchester City defender Eric Garcia receives treatment for an injury in December 2020© Reuters

Apart from the injured Eric Garcia, and the COVID-positive Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus, Guardiola is blessed with a fully-fit squad for this showdown.

A number of changes on the hosts' end will be expected - starting with Ederson coming back in goal for Zack Steffen - while John Stones and Benjamin Mendy should return to the rearguard.

Fernandinho is likely to cede his place in midfield to Ilkay Gundogan, while Kevin De Bruyne - who is reportedly close to agreeing a new deal with City - will also return for this one.

Sergio Aguero was given a run-out for the final 15 minutes at Arsenal on Tuesday, but Guardiola may not want to risk the Argentine from the first whistle just yet, so Ferran Torres could lead the line again with Jesus out.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have seen their squad ravaged by a recent coronavirus outbreak, with Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin still recovering at home.

Fabian Schar and Javi Manquillo are also believed to have tested positive for the virus, while Federico Fernandez remains a doubt after missing the loss to Brentford due to fatigue.

Bruce named a strong contingent for Tuesday's game and most of the team who started in that one will likely keep their places here, but Matt Ritchie and Jeff Hendrick are both options for change.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Mendy; Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling; Torres

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Darlow; Yedlin, Hayden, Clark, Lewis; Almiron, Shelvey, Longstaff, Ritchie; Wilson, Joelinton


SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 2-0 Newcastle United

City, and Aguero in particular, boast an incredibly strong record against the Magpies, who will still be reeling from their dampening EFL Cup exit. Guardiola's men have not hit their usual goalscoring heights in the Premier League, but they will fancy their chances against a decimated Newcastle defence, so this should be a routine win for City on Boxing Day.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling pictured in October 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32201668
United StatesUnited States23272070
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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