The team in second place in the Premier League takes on the side second from bottom at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as Manchester City come up against Newcastle United, who are still searching for their first win.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men can do with three points themselves, as after a perfect start they have lost their previous two league games and conceded six goals in the process. Last weekend, they were eventually blown away by a Tottenham side that grew from strength to strength; a rather concerning collapse having gone a goal up, even if two of the London club’s goals should have been ruled out for offside. The defeat meant they relinquished top spot to bitter rivals Manchester United.
Things also looked grim for a time in midweek as they trailed to Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League, a game where Joe Hart underlined his value to City on his return to the starting line-up with several marvellous saves including one from the penalty spot. But for once in Europe, their response was strong and they got the goals their pressure in the latter stages merited, securing a crucial victory and ensuring they head into this one in a buoyant mood.
If Newcastle really want to claim the three points they are craving for, they must not set too much store by the omens, as their recent record against Man City in the Premier League is dismal in the extreme, losing the last 11 meetings in a run that dates back all the way to January 2009. They have not managed as much as a goal in last five, so something really has to change on that front if the Magpies are to harbour any faint hopes of earning a positive result here.
The game against Chelsea last time out does at least offer hope, as they produced a much improved performance from the ones which saw them go down without a considerable fight against West Ham United and Watford. Aleksandar Mitrovic showed glimpses of what he is capable of and gave them a focal point in attack, while Ayoze Perez looked sharp and Kevin Mbabu performed very well on his Premier League debut. This is a tough ask, but there is hope if they can reproduce what they showed against Chelsea, even if they could not hold on to their lead in that match.
Man City have five key players out injured, with Samir Nasri, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph all sidelined. Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala are fit again, however.
Rolando Aarons, who scored when the two sides met in the Capital One Cup last season, is out for Newcastle as well as Gabriel Obertan and Massadio Haidara, while Jack Colback is doubtful with a calf injury.
Played for both – James Milner: Now at Liverpool, Milner was one of Sir Bobby Robson’s final signings as Newcastle boss, arriving in 2004. Surprisingly, he often struggled to establish himself as a regular on Tyneside and was limited to 94 league appearances, in which he scored six times. In 2010, he joined Man City and experienced the most successful spell of his career, winning the Premier League twice as well as the FA Cup and Capital One Cup before leaving in June.