Manchester City will look to get back to winning ways after suffering their first defeat of the Premier League season last Sunday at the hands of Liverpool.
Manchester City will look to get back to winning ways after suffering their first defeat of the Premier League season on Sunday at the hands of Liverpool.
Late goals from Bernardo Silva and IIkay Gundogan put the win in doubt and set up a tense finale, but Jurgen Klopp's side held on to avenge September's 5-0 thrashing in the reverse fixture; as City's 81-year wait for a league double over the Reds extended.
Despite losing the undefeated tag this season, Pep Guardiola's outfit still sit 12-points clear of rivals Manchester United atop the table, and will now look to reassert their dominance in England's top flight by ensuring three points against Newcastle on Saturday.
The Magpies will be hoping to better their poor showing in their first meeting at St. James' Park; where Gary Neville described the hosts' first half display as "the worst of the season."
Back in October of 2004 - before the mega money takeover at City - Newcastle triumphed over the travelling side, in one of the most exciting second-half showings in Premier League history.
A goalless first half was encored by sheer chaos, as Newcastle netted a stunning free-kick courtesy of Laurent Robert, before Alan Shearer converted a penalty giving the Geordies a two goal cushion.
However Kevin Keegan's side fought back into the game, drawing level after a stunning solo goal from Shaun Wright-Phillips, quickly followed by a controversial spot-kick from Robbie Fowler.
Newcastle's headed goal put the Magpies back in the ascendancy, but was quickly cancelled out by Wright-Phillips. With little over ten minutes to go, it looked as though the points were to be shared.
However, Craig Bellamy wrote his name into Toon folklore in the dying embers of the game, by smashing an emphatic volley into the back of the net; sparking jubilation in the stands and securing all three-points for the home side.
The key battle in this fixture will likely play out between Mohamed Diame and Kevin de Bruyne in the midfield.
The City team is stacked with talent and can hurt Newcastle in numerous areas and in numerous ways, but Rafa Benitez would be foolish to not pit extra attention on dealing with the Belgian maestro and limiting his offensive output on the day.
If de Bruyne is allowed to receive the ball as and when he wants, he will almost certainly orchestrate Newcastle's demise. Therefore, Mohamed Diame will likely be tasked with limiting his output through harrying and using his physical presence to disrupt his usual rhythm.
His midfield partner Jonjo Shelvey holds the role of deep-lying play-maker and has a typically languid style; meaning the lion's share of defensive responsibility and work-rate will be put on the former Senegalese international.
Fabien Delph had proven his defensive capabilities at left-back this season - following the early injury setback to Benjamin Mendy - but now looks set for a lengthy absence after sustaining a knock at Anfield.
David Silva was an unused substitute on Sunday despite being deemed match-fit and is expected to start here. Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Vincent Kompany are to continue rehabilitation and will play no part on Saturday.
Benitez is hoping that Florian Lejeune could return, while Jesus Gamez, Chancel Mbemba and Dwight Gayle are all doubtful to travel. Aleksandar Mitrovic is a candidate for selection after a long recovery period, and could be deployed as the lone striker at the Etihad
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Danilo, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Sane
Newcastle United: Darlow, Yedlin, Clarke, Lascelles, Dummett, Manquillo, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Murphy, Josel
It's possible that Liverpool's triumph on Sunday could act as a trail blazer for other teams; as they look to replicate the key elements of the Reds' performance.
However, in this case, Newcastle simply do not have the required personnel or fitness to approach the game in the same way and will likely play into City's hands by sitting deep and looking to hit the home side on the counter attack.
Pep Guardiola will ensure his outfit continue in the manner that got them to their comfy 12-point lead and will dispatch Newcastle at the Etihad. Benitez's side simply do not have the attacking firepower to compete.
Manchester City 3-0 Newcastle United