Thu 11 Jan 2024, 16:29 by Ash Harrison

'Wouldn't be surprised': Paul Merson predicts who will win on Saturday - Newcastle or Man City

'Wouldn't be surprised': Paul Merson predicts who will win on Saturday - Newcastle or Man City
Sky Sports
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Newcastle United welcome the Premier League champions to St James' Park on Saturday evening for the 5:30pm kick-off live on TNT Sports.

Fresh off the back of beating our old nemesis, Sunderland in the FA Cup, Newcastle now return to league action in a fixture as tough as it gets.

Both sides will be desperate for a win after falling off the pace lately. Newcastle have some making up to do after their last home outing which saw Nottingham Forest come away with all three points.

Manchester City have some top players on the verge of a return from injury and it's a case of whether or not Pep Guardiola risks the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland in this fixture.

Erling Haaland
Visionhaus via Getty Images
Pep Guardiola is contemplating risking Haaland on Saturday with the break coming up

Paul Merson has had his go at predicting the outcome in his column for Sportskeeda and he's opted for a narrow win for City.

"Newcastle are slowly getting some injured players back and are coming on the back of a good result against arch-rivals Sunderland. The win would've surely boosted their morale, but Sunderland were never going to get anything from the game after the team they put out, and Newcastle's XI was miles apart on the night.

"Eddie Howe's side are really good at home and have to win this one to have a glimmer of hope in terms of finishing top four, but Manchester City are also in need of a win as they aim to close the gap at the top of the table to just two points. They'll have to be patient, though, as St. James' Park is a tough place to visit.

"You talk about clubs making signings in January to revitalize their squads for the second half of the season, but just look at what's happening at Manchester City. They have Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland returning after their respective injury absences - that's almost like £200m worth of talent coming into the team. It's simply mindblowing, no two ways about it.

"I think Manchester City will secure a narrow win but wouldn't be surprised if this game ends all square.

"Prediction: Newcastle United 1-2 Manchester City"

Let's just get what we can from this one

Confidence is rarely high when Manchester City are our opponents and even though we have beaten them this season in the Carabao Cup, we're not sure we can do it again.

The good news is that after this game there's a two-week break where Eddie Howe can get the squad together and rebuild the confidence that has been lacking lately and maybe work on some new ideas.

Hopefully, by the end of the month, we will also have a couple of players returning from injury that will give us a lift too.

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