the big match tactical view : Newcastle v Manchester City
Newcastle v Man City Saturday 30 November, 12:30 Live on BT Sport 1
Sean Longstaff available
Newcastle are coming off a 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Monday night, which ended a good run of form that had brought them 10 points from their previous five matches.
That leaves them 14th in the Premier League table on 15 points, five clear of the drop zone.
Sean Longstaff is available after a three-match suspension and could well come back into midfield, possibly in place of Jonjo Shelvey.
Matt Ritchie, who has been out since August, suffered a setback in his recovery from an ankle injury and captain Jamaal Lascelles is a big absentee from central defence until the new year.
Attacking chance for Jesus
City recovered some of their poise with last week's 2-1 home win over Chelsea, their first match since losing 3-1 at top-of-the-table Liverpool, but then stuttered again in midweek with a 1-1 home draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
The pressure is on Pep Guardiola's side to keep winning in the Premier League, with Liverpool nine points ahead of them after 13 games. City sit third, a point behind Leicester.
Gabriel Jesus looks likely to start up front in place of Sergio Aguero, who is set to be out for a few weeks after suffering a groin injury against Chelsea.
Bernardo Silva is available after his one-match ban, although Riyad Mahrez may get another chance on the right after his match-winning goal last weekend.
Nicolas Otamendi returned to the centre of defence in midweek and could be paired with John Stones, who has started the last four Premier League games.
Magpies looking for another upset
Newcastle were the last team to beat City last season, 2-1 in this fixture in late January, before Guardiola's side went on that incredible 14-match winning streak that carried them to the title.
That was a smash-and-grab from Newcastle, then managed by Rafa Benitez, as they scored with their only two shots on target to cancel out Aguero's first-minute goal.
The Magpies are a similar side under Steve Bruce; mostly well organised and stubborn but with only flashes of goalscoring flair.
They are capable of upsetting a big team, as they showed with a 1-0 win at Tottenham, but in the main their record against the top sides remains poor. This season they have lost 3-1 at Liverpool, 5-0 at Leicester and 1-0 at Chelsea in games against the other sides in the current top four apart from City.
Being at home might make a difference but their only league wins this season at St James' Park have been against Manchester United (1-0) and Bournemouth (2-1) and they will have to raise their game a few notches to compete with City.
Bruce's team have scored nil or one in 11 of their 13 league matches and that is unlikely to be enough against City, who have been restricted to fewer than two goals by only Liverpool and Wolves this season.
City were strangely out of sorts on January's visit to St James' Park and they are not in the sparkling form of old this season but their away record remains pretty strong, bar the blip of the 3-2 defeat at Norwich in September.
A clear-cut City win looks likely, by at least two goals, and the choice of bet is a City win to nil at1.93. Since their losing visit here, seven of their 11 away wins have come in that fashion.
Consider a low score
City are quite capable of pushing the score over 2.5 goals by themselves, as they did in their opening 5-0 away win at West Ham, but it is more likely to happen if the hosts score too.
That was the situation in City's away games at Bournemouth, Norwich, Everton and Liverpool and arguably there is some vulnerability at the back for Guardiola's side, who are now without a clean sheet in their last six games in all competitions.
Newcastle have difficulty scoring, however, and 63% of their matches have had under 2.5 goals. Three of the five exceptions came when they conceded heavily on the road (3-1 at Norwich and Liverpool, 5-0 at Leicester).
With Newcastle far from certain to score and City maybe not having to do too much to win, under 2.5 goals is not out of the question at2.96.
Man City's Gabriel Jesus has scored seven goals in his last eight Premier League starts, including three in four so far this term. He is4.10 to be first goalscorer.