Manchester City travel north to face Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.
Pep Guardiola has come out on top in the majority of the managerial head-to-heads he has encountered, with Eddie Howe his favourite opponent. The Catalan coach has beaten the former Bournemouth boss in all ten meetings between the pair – this is the best winning record one manager can boast against another in Premier League history (per BBC).
Here’s the XI Guardiola may deploy to extend his dominance against Howe.
GK: Ederson – City’s keeper hasn’t conceded a goal this season but has only faced two shots on target in as many games.
RB: Kyle Walker – The fullback’s first goal for Manchester City came against Newcastle in 2018 – he has only scored twice more in the Premier League since.
CB: Ruben Dias – The first player into training each morning has a view of the Etihad from his flat.
CB: Nathan Ake – The Dutch international made 121 appearances under Howe at Bournemouth, fostering a strong relationship with a coach who once gushed: “We love working with him and we think he has got outstanding attributes.”
LB: Joao Cancelo – With 13 direct goal contributions across all competitions last season (including three against Newcastle), Cancelo became the first defender under Guardiola to hit double digits going forward since David Alaba at Bayern Munich in 2013/14.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – Guardiola delivered an ominous prediction for the rest of the division when he insisted De Bruyne could add a prolific edge to his game: “Kevin, before last season, was just assist, assist and now he is the pleasure to score goals.”
CM: Rodri – For the first time in his senior career last term, Rodri finished a league season with more goals (seven) than yellow cards (five).
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – Since the start of 2021, Gundogan has scored a league-high 20 goals.
RW: Riyad Mahrez – The Algeria international has either scored or assisted four Premier League goals across his four visits to St James’ Park.
ST: Erling Haaland – At one point during City’s breezy beating of Bournemouth, Haaland went 27 minutes between touches, roughly as long as it takes to get the tram from Manchester city centre to the Etihad.
LW: Phil Foden – Back in 2018, Foden missed the celebrations for his first Premier League title to go fishing with his father, Phil Sr. Fortunately, Foden has had three opportunities to bathe in domestic glory since.