Newcastle look to bounce back from their dismal defeat at Aston Villa, but have the tough task of doing so against the reigning Premier League champions.
Steve Bruce will hope the Magpies can make it consecutive wins against Manchester City, with Newcastle coming from behind to shock Pep Guardiola’s side last season.
A short week, on the back of a truly abysmal performance on Monday, is hardly ideal preparation for such an ominous fixture, but they will step onto the St James’ Park pitch with absolutely nothing to lose.
But Bruce make changes? Or will he resist the temptation, and keep faith with the bulk of his side?
Fabian Schar and Emil Krafth to be included
After showing defensive frailties at Villa Park, and DeAndre Yedlin suffering a knock, there looks certain to be changes in the back line.
Although my preference would be moving Federico Fernandez wide to replace the injured American full-back, then restoring Florian Lejeune to the starting XI, it is not the way I expect Bruce to go.
I expect him to bring Emil Krafth into the side, in a like-for-like swap for Yedlin, while Fabian Schar should make his long-awaited return, the only question is who drops out to make way for him.
Ciaran Clark is likely to retain his place, as is Fernandez, with Paul Dummett probably becoming the unlucky loser.
Sean Longstaff will make a welcome return
Jonjo Shelvey was installed as interim skipper in the last game, deputising for the injured Jamaal Lascelles, but he looked lethargic throughout the game, and disappeared for long spells.
As a result, I think he will drop to the bench for today’s game, with Sean Longstaff coming straight back into the side, having served his three game suspension, which seems to have lasted an eternity.
Bruce will hope he and Isaac Hayden can reestablish their fantastic partnership from last season, with the pair not playing together since the thrashing at Leicester, thanks to both players suffering consecutive suspensions.
Bruce to maintain loyalty to ailing forward three
Bruce is likely to refrain from changing his attacking trio, despite their continued search for goals, with only Allan Saint-Maximin looking like he is on the verge of finding the net.
Joelinton is clearly suffering from not having a fellow striker to play alongside, while Miguel Almiron shows no signs of getting his first goal for the club.
Although they are likely to get another chance today, Bruce must be getting close to shaking things up at the business end of the pitch, as the current drought continues.
Predicted lineup: Dubravka; Krafth, Schar, Fernandez, Clark, Willems; Hayden, S Longstaff; Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.