Manchester City will be aiming to build on their much-needed win over Stoke City last time out by taking three points against mid-table Newcastle United in Saturday’s late kick-off.
With Barcelona visiting the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League before a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool coming up next Sunday, this is the beginning of a huge eight days for City, who are boosted by the return of Yaya Toure following the Africa Cup of Nations, while big-money signing Wilfried Bony can now make his debut.
It was a crucial result at Stoke, as it provided the champions’ first three-point haul in the Premier League on New Year’s Day, but with Chelsea’s lead at the top still standing at seven points, they cannot afford a slip-up here in a game they should be expected to win despite losing to the Magpies in the Capital One Cup earlier this season.
The visitors may still just have the one win so far under John Carver, but recent performances have offered plenty of reasons for encouragement, with more vibrancy and creativity on display going forward, with Sammy Ameobi finally beginning to show supporters what he is capable of.
Another youngster, Ayoze Perez, is continuing to impress and his pace along with a notable eye for goal could cause the Man City defence numerous problems. The hosts have shown a number a vulnerabilities at the back since the turn of the year, so Newcastle should not be totally ruled out here.
Sergio Aguero should overcome a slight back problem to feature for City, who are without James Milner due to a knee injury.
Newcastle have been hit by injuries to Cheick Tiote and Paul Dummett – who is out for much longer than originally feared. Remy Cabella is doubtful.
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