Match Time: 6/29/2020 01:30 Monday(GMT+8)
Manchester City return to action just three days after being dethroned as champions of England when they switch their attention to an FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle United on Sunday. Pep Guardiola's side may have had the Premier League trophy prised from their two-year grip, but they remain FA Cup holders and are favourites to win the competition again ahead of their trip to St James' Park.
The destination of the 2019-20 Premier League title has been known for some time, but the act of having it officially confirmed will nonetheless hurt Man City as their reign as kings of England comes to an end. Guardiola's side have firmly established themselves as one of the greatest teams in English football history over the last two years, amassing 198 league points in that time and producing the first ever domestic clean sweep of trophies last term. One of the best-ever have been comfortably second best in the league this season, and yet it could still end up being one of the most memorable campaigns in their history as they look to bring in even more silverware. The EFL Cup is already in the bag for the third year in a row and fifth time in the last seven seasons, and they are favourites to become the first team since Arsenal in 2015 to retain the FA Cup too. With their holy grail the Champions League also to come in August, Man City could still end up winning another treble this season, and with the league out of reach that means that they are likely to prioritise the FA Cup for now.
That will not come as particularly welcome news for Newcastle or any of the other clubs in the competition as Man City go into this quarter-final looking to chalk up a 10th successive FA Cup win - last losing in the competition back in February 2018. City have scored a whopping 35 goals at a rate of almost four per game since then, while they have conceded just four times at the other end, keeping six clean sheets. It is a formidable record for sure, but Guardiola's side have looked much more mortal this season and, in the Premier League alone, have already been beaten eight times in 2019-20. Another defeat on Sunday would see them lose three successive away games for the first time since October 2016, and it is worth noting that they were only able to come away with a draw from their league visit to St James' Park this term. Newcastle have won the last two FA Cup meetings between these two sides at home too, while in all competitions it is now seven games unbeaten at St James' Park for the Magpies - a run which stretches back to New Year's Day.
Remarkably, Ahmed Elmohamady's equaliser for Aston Villa on Wednesday night was the first goal Steve Bruce's side had conceded at home since Rochdale's visit in the FA Cup on January 14, ending a run of five successive clean sheets. The firepower at Man City's disposal might test that further on Sunday, although it is Newcastle who have scored more goals than any other club left in the competition so far this season, netting 11 times in wins over Rochdale, Oxford United and West Bromwich Albion. That tally has admittedly been aided by needing two replays from their three meetings with lower-league opposition, though, whereas Man City have made little fuss in getting past Port Vale, Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday so far. Newcastle have not knocked the holders out of the FA Cup since 1957, although as it happens that was also against Man City - one of six Newcastle wins from eight previous ties between these two sides in the FA Cup. Adding another victory to that tally might just make fans believe that this is finally the year they will end a trophy drought which stretches back to when they last got their hands on the FA Cup in 1955. The Magpies are already enjoying their best FA Cup run since 2006, and should they go further on Sunday then it will be another feather in the cap of Bruce, whose appointment was so widely questioned among the club's fans.
Newcastle FA Cup form: DWDWW
Newcastle form (all competitions): LDWWWD
Man City FA Cup form: WWW
Man City form (all competitions): WWLWWL
Manchester City will be without the suspended Fernandinho following his red card against Chelsea on Thursday night, with that ban carrying over into the FA Cup. Sergio Aguero has undergone surgery on his knee problem and could miss the rest of the domestic season as a result, but Gabriel Jesus can come back into the starting lineup after only being named on the bench at Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian has scored seven goals and registered four assists in just nine FA Cup outings, but is yet to score in his two previous appearances against Newcastle. John Stones, Eric Garcia and Claudio Bravo all remain fitness doubts, while Phil Foden, who missed the Chelsea game with a dead leg, will hope to have recovered in time to start this match following a productive spell since lockdown. While changes are inevitable, Guardiola is also expected to name a strong side with such a strong emphasis now on FA Cup glory for the success of their season. Bernardo Silva, who has four goals and four assists in his last 10 FA Cup outings, will be hopeful of retaining his starting spot, while there could also be a first start of the season for Leroy Sane despite his desire to leave the club.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will be without Nabil Bentaleb, who is suspended as a result of picking up two yellow cards in the competition already. Matty Longstaff and Sean Longstaff are both still injury doubts, while they have been joined on the list of possible absentees by Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden. Florian Lejeune and Ciaran Clark are both definitely sidelined too. Miguel Almiron is expected to start having scored four goals in his five FA Cup appearances - compared to two in 40 Premier League games - while the likes of Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle are also pushing for inclusion following their impacts off the bench against Villa.
Newcastle possible starting lineup: Darlow; Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose; Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin; Carroll
Man City possible starting lineup: Ederson; Cancelo, Otamendi, Garcia, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, D Silva; Bernardo, Jesus, Sane
Newcastle United VS Manchester City
Handicap Pick: Manchester City -2