|Erling Haaland will be the man to beat but can the Newcastle midfield trouble the champions on Saturday? (Photo credit: Sporting News)|
The champions got off to a fine start at Burnley last weekend and would love to keep things going with another quality performance and three precious points to match, but they have to do it against an impressive Newcastle side.
The Geordies beat Aston Villa 5-1 on the opening day and will also hope to build on the great result with another stellar performance against the champions, a statement result that would once again announce their intent that this season could be on the cards.
Erling Haaland took off where he left off last season with a brace at Turf Moor, and Alexander Isak also maintained the same energy against Unai Emery’s Villa; the two will go head-to-head at the Etihad on Saturday in the final game of the day.
Sandro Tonali got himself introduced to the Newcastle fans in the best way possible; the Italian marshalled the midfield and also got on the score sheet in what he’d remember as an amazing debut for Newcastle in the Premier League.
Manchester City will be without Kevin De Bruyne for a few months after the Belgian creative force went under the knife to resolve his hamstring issues. De Bruyne pulled out of the Burnley game in the opening stages and was replaced with Matteo Kovacic.
Pep Guardiola could still head into the transfer market to find solutions to his midfield problem, but Rodri and the Croatian recruit would do the job until then. Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden could also help, and you won’t put it past Guardiola to try John Stones again in midfield.
Newcastle has what it takes to stretch the champions and take the battle to them, but they will have to take their chances when they do. Harvey Barnes could get an opportunity to start after an impressive debut off the bench last weekend.
Manchester City remains the favourite for this game, but that doesn’t rule out the Toon Armies. Eddie Howe also brought in Lewis Hall from Chelsea as a fullback, along with Tino Livramento, preparing the squad for hectic fixtures in the coming months.