Friday, August 19, 2022

Man City (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

If last weekend’s trip to Brighton was our first big test of the season, we’re stepping it up another few levels this Sunday as Manchester City come to town.

The Premier League champions have won both their games with minimal fuss so far, following a 2-0 win at West Ham on the opening day with a 4-0 battering of Bournemouth.

In truth, we were fortunate to come away from the South Coast with a point last Saturday, relying on some Nick Pope brilliance, goal-line clearances, missed chances and last-ditch defending to keep the score at 0-0.

Perhaps it’s a sign of a good side if you can play poorly and still find the spirit to muster a precious point on the road, with ourselves and Man City the only two sides yet to concede a goal this season.

That said, it was clear (again) last weekend that we are a few new attackers away from being a side capable of disrupting the big six and competing for a place in Europe. Not only that, some feel it was proof another holding midfielder is needed now Jonjo Shelvey will miss the first half of the season.

In a game that forced us onto the back foot, Bruno Guimaraes didn’t look nearly as comfortable in that deeper role – which limits his ability to make things happen in the final third. He ran the show in that position against Nottingham Forest, but we won’t be playing a newly-promoted side at St James’ Park every week.

Still, we’ve started the season unbeaten, with two clean sheets and four points from our opening games, gaining an early advantage on top 10 rivals likes Man Utd, West Ham, Leicester, Wolves and Everton – all of which are stuck on one point or less.

Sunday isn’t a ‘free hit’, but we can head into this one confident, ready for the challenge and with a sense of freedom, backed by another sell out crowd and a brilliant home record in 2022.

Man City may have beaten us 4-0 when the two sides last met at St James’ Park in December, but our home record since then has been nothing short of outstanding, seeing us win seven of our last nine, with our only loss coming in a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Team news

Matt Targett is facing a late fitness test after missing our previous game with a dead leg, however Ryan Fraser is expected to return after overcoming a back spasm.

Jonjo Shelvey will miss out once again and it remains to be seen if Emil Krafth or Federico Fernandez will feature after both failed to feature in our latest set of training photos.

For Man City, new full-back Sergio Gomez has been named in the matchday squad, with Lavin Phillips also fit after overcoming a minor injury.

Predicted line ups

(4-3-3): Dubravka – Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn – Guimaraes, S Longstaff, Joelinton – Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin.

If Targett passes a late fitness test, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Howe go with a 5-3-2 formation, allowing Schar, Botman and Burn to all start at centre-back.

However, the only change I can see – on the basis Targett missed out – is Sean Longstaff coming in for Willock, with the latter going missing during large parts of last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Brighton.

Howe may also want to see how Longstaff can perform in that holding role, as the club are said to be weighing up a move for another midfielder now Shelvey has been ruled out for the first half of the season.

In attack, Almiron’s energy could be key at both ends and crucial in stopping the marauding Joao Cancelo, although he could be the man sacrificed if Howe does opt for a 5-2-3?

Predicted Man City XI: (4-1-2-3): Ederson – Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo – Rodri – Gundogan, De Bruyne – Foden, Haaland, Grealish.

One to watch: Erling Haaland – Portuguese star Joao Cancelo provides ridiculously good quality from full-back and often causes havoc when drifting into midfield, but it’s hard to ignore Erling Haaland. The big man plays like a striker that’s been made in a lab and caused havoc at West Ham in his last away outing, with his movement, pace, presence and ice-cool finishing helping him to a brace against the Hammers. Whether it’s Burn, Schar, Botman or all three, they have their hands full with Haaland!

Match prediction

I expect us to give this one a real go, but it’s always a huge task finding the balance against a Man City side who always dominate possession and push teams back with goal threats in every area of the pitch.

I fancy us to score and believe we’ll have our moments in-between the backs-to-the-wall defending, but there’s a reason only Man City and Liverpool have beaten us at St James’ Park since Eddie Howe took the job – they’re a bit special!

Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Man City

Source link

0 coment rios:

Post a Comment