Newcastle look set to face their toughest test of the season so far as they travel to Manchester to face the reigning champions, Manchester City. This weekend’s fixture adds to a difficult start for the Magpies who have already faced two of last season’s top six in their opening three games.
Benitez’s side have failed to pick up a win so far this season with their best result being a 0-0 draw against Cardiff City. Last weekend a late DeAndre Yedlin own goal was enough to send the visitors Chelsea home with all three points.
Eden Hazard looked threatening in the first half with a number of runs in the attacking third but failed to test Martin Dubravka. The best of the first half chances dropped to Pedro, who couldn’t convert with his left foot. Hazard gave Chelsea the lead from the penalty spot late in the second half after Fabian Schar was penalised for taking Marcos Alonso down in the area, although replays showed he got the ball . Dubravka got his fingertips on the ball but couldn’t keep out the Belgian’s spot kick.
Joselu equalised for Newcastle in the 83rd minute. Chelsea fans were outraged that the goal stood as DeAndre Yedlin, who assisted Joselu’s headed effort, appeared to catch Olivier Giroud with his elbow in the build up to the goal. However, it was Chelsea who would have the last laugh in the tie after Yedlin deflected Marcos Alonso’s volley into his own net in the 87th minute.
Manchester City were also frustrated in their previous fixture as their 100 per cent start to the season was halted by Wolves. Rui Patricio produced a fabulous acrobatic save to tip Raheem Sterling’s half-volleyed strike on to the post in the first half, but it was the last season’s Championship winners that opened the scoring in the second half. Willy Boly dived through the air to meet Moutinho’s in-swinging cross. The final touch of the ball came off Boly’s arm which went unnoticed by the referee and his assistant. Wolves lead was fairly short lived as Aymeric Laporte met Ilkay Gundogan’s free kick with a bullet header in the 69th minute. The game finished 1-1 as Wolves picked up just their second point of their first Premier League campaign since the 2011/12 season.
Newcastle fans will be pleased to know that Kevin De Bruyne will be out of action for City, however, Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie have all picked up knocks for the Magpies (according to Benitez) and may not be fully fit for this weekend’s clash.
Benitez put out a 5 man defence against Chelsea which allowed his full backs more freedom to create from wide positions, and away at Manchester City it may be likely that his side will try to play on the counter attack as many will expect City to try to control and dominate the flow of the game.
Predicted Newcastle line-up:
Dubravka; Yedlin, Clark, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett; Murphy, Ki Sung-Yeung, Diame, Atsu; Rondon.
Predicted Manchester City line-up:
Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Mendy; Gundogan, Fernandinho, David Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane.
Predicted final score: Manchester City 3 – 0 Newcastle