Newcastle vs Man City is expected to be an interesting match as a victory for the visitors will close the gap with the League leader, Liverpool to just 2 points, while the host will hope to cause an upset for Pep Guardiola’s team.
Manchester City emerged victorious at the Etihad Stadium in August during the last Premier League clash between the duo. Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden who have been impressive this season combined on the afternoon to give the team 3 points with a 1-0 win.
However, the Cityzens’ last visit to St James’ Park ended in a defeat as the host sent Pep Guardiola’s men out of the Carabao Cup with a narrow 1-0 win. Alexander Isak and Joelinton combined to get the lone goal, but their combination would be impossible for the match on Saturday evening.
The Brazilian was forced off early in the second half during last weekend’s 3-0 win at Sunderland in the FA Cup third round. And will be out for at least six weeks with a thigh injury.
“The prospects over the next couple of weeks aren’t good,” said Howe. “It’s an injury that will see him certainly miss, probably, a minimum of six weeks.
“It’s a real blow for us because he’s such an important player. He’s had a very stop-start season unfortunately this year, where he was so consistent last year. He’s had a few different problems and this is a big blow.”
Similarly, Manchester City will be without arguably the best striker in the world, Erling Haaland. Pep Guardiola during the pre-match conference confirmed that the Norwegian will not be available for selection.
City had expected the 23-year-old back to be back in action early in the new year but the problem is proving more troublesome than expected and the Haaland is not yet back in full training.
Speaking ahead of the Newcastle vs Man City match, Guardiola said: “Yes, (he’s had) a little bit of disturbing problems in his feet. It’s fine but the doctors decided to stop for one week and maybe restart in Abu Dhabi.
“Hopefully at the end of this month, he’ll be ready. It was a little bit more than we expected in the beginning.”
City also be without Jack Grealish due to sickness and John Stones remains sideline with injury.
Similar to Haaland’s situation, Howe had hoped to welcome back the likes of Harvey Barnes (foot), Joe Willock (achilles), and Elliot Anderson (back) for the Newcastle vs Man City match or probably at the end of the month, but that now appears unlikely.
“Harvey is getting closer,” said the head coach. “He hasn’t trained with the group but he’s been running on the grass, had his boots back on, and kicking balls around. We’re pleased with his progress currently but he still has a long way to go.”
On Anderson and Willock, he added: “They’re not expected back any time soon. Elliot is continuing his rehab from a stress fracture in his back. It’s been a difficult injury to manage for him and he’s not been very active for a long period of time, he’s trying to let his back heal. I think he has another scan next week so hopefully that’ll give us good news and he can start to build up his work.
“With Joe Willock, he’s improving. He’s building up strength in his achilles and feeling better, but still not running.”
Callum Wilson is still recovering from a calf issue but could return at Aston Villa on January 30.