It is manager of the month against possible manager of the season as Steve Bruce’s Newcastle take on Manchester City on a grey Friday night in May.
It is a slightly inconsequential fixture with Newcastle assured of safety after Fulham’s relegation was confirmed on Monday night, but is City’s first game as defending champions. After a slightly sloppy defeat at home to Chelsea last time out, City will want to lay down a marker going into next season at the Champions League final later this month. Pep Guardiola made a raft of changes last time out with a surprise switch to a back five but expect a more orthodox approach tonight. City have won their last three meetings with Newcastle by an aggregate score of 9-0.
City will be without Kevin De Bruyne due to a muscular problem. Sergio Aguero is one short of equalling the Premier League record for most goals for a single club: 183 by Wayne Rooney for Manchester United. If they avoid defeat, City will set a new record of 23 away games unbeaten in all competitions by a side in England’s top four divisions, surpassing Notts County’s 2012 run in League One.
Things have picked up for Newcastle in recent weeks, capped off by a stunning victory at Leicester seven days ago in which they went 4-0 up. The return of Allan Saint-Maximin and Joe Willock’s goals from midfield have proved key, and Bruce is now keen to remain at the club. Newcastle are unfortunately without Callum Wilson, Karl Darlow, Ryan Fraser, Isaac Hayden, Jamaal Lascelles and the suspended Fabian Schar on the sidelines.
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When asked about taking the club forward, the Newcastle manager said: “Look, I hope so. I’ve got a contract and until I hear otherwise, I’m going to crack on.
“We are doing pre-season at the moment, we’re putting all the plans in place. Conversations will be had and that’s what I can say on it.”
Full team news on the way shortly.
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