Manchester City welcome struggling Newcastle to the Etihad Stadium to close Boxing Day celebrations in the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola’s side enter the game after a comfortable 4-1 victory over Arsenal in the Carabao Cup, a result that set up a tantalizing semi-final with bitter rivals Manchester United.
Things aren’t going so well in the Premier League, however. City are currently in eighth place, edging leaders Liverpool by eight points with one game underway.
However, they have a very favorable record on Steve Bruce’s Newcastle, a record they hope to take advantage of given the Magpies’ poor form. Here is 90 minsCity’s thoughts on how City should line up after taunting a turkey.
Ederson (GK): The Brazilian has six clean sheets so far, a number only Emiliano Martínez of Aston Villa has improved.
Kyle Walker (RB): His versatility and recovery powers are just two of the world-class character traits.
Ruben Dias (CB): Stabilized City’s defense after his summer arrival and is unmistakably the top pick.
John Stones (CB): With Aymeric Laporte now enjoying a watch briefing, the previously thrown Stones are showing signs of a return to their best.
Joao Cancelo (LB): Like Walker, Cancelo offers great versatility – popping up on the right against Arsenal and, quite possibly, on the left here.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM): Scored against West Brom in City’s last home game and was normally tidy.
Rodri (CM): Seemed much more comfortable playing alongside Fernandinho midweek but he will be tasked with anchoring the midfielder alone against the humble Newcastle.
Kevin De Bruyne (CAM): The brilliant Belgian has already registered seven assists and that number will increase rapidly when Sergio Aguero gets in shape and shoots.
Phil Foden (RW): His goal and assist against Arsenal surely earned him a comeback from the Premier League. Surely?
Gabriel Jesus (ST): Caught his goal midweek and while Aguero still struggles to get back into shape, he could get a nod again.
Raheem Sterling (LW): Scored the decisive winner against Southampton, but he’s nowhere near his best. Could fill his boots here.