Pundit Paul Merson has claimed that Manchester City will have too much for Newcastle United to handle as the Magpies travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
Eddie Howe’s side delivered a stunning performance to smash Aston Villa to begin the Premier League season, but the trip to face the treble winners threatens to stop Newcastle from building up momentum.
Merson has told predicted City to win 2-1 in his Sportskeeda column despite some notable injury absentees, but has claimed that Newcastle will provide a tough test for the Champions.
“This season is the real test for Newcastle United. They were incredible against Aston Villa and the Magpies will have a go at City but Pep Guardiola and co. are just too good right now,” he stated.
“Kevin De Bruyne is a big player for City and his absence is going to have a telling effect on them. It’ll no doubt be a major blow for them. It will be interesting to see how Haaland performs in his absence.
“Erling Haaland is a goalscorer. He doesn’t mess about. He just wants to get into the box and score goals much like Ruud van Nistelrooy during his time at Manchester United. People won’t be worried if he can keep scoring goals.
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“I don’t think he’s going to have much trouble scoring a lot of goals the way he is going. Despite everything that Newcastle will throw at them, City should be able to brave this challenge particularly since the game is happening at the Etihad.”
Newcastle’s away record
Going to the Etihad Stadium is difficult for any team in the world, but Newcastle’s away record last season may provide a bit of hope for the trip.
The Magpies lost just three league matches on the road in the entire campaign, albeit one of these defeats came in a 2-0 loss at City.
The absence of Kevin de Bruyne could hit City hard, but they will still be favourites on the day despite Newcastle’s convincing victory last week.
This will be a true test of just how far Newcastle have come in the last two years, especially given the side’s poor record at the Etihad.
Heavy defeats, including multiple 5-0 thrashings, have been handed to Newcastle at Man City over the years, and Newcastle have remarkably not gained a point in this away fixture since 2006.
A draw on Saturday would therefore be a huge result for Howe and Newcastle to build upon.