Pep Guardiola’s expressive nature can make Benitez look a fool, and in doing so make Mike Ashley’s lack of summer investment in Newcastle stand out further.
Just how will Pep and his team of Centurions look to humiliate Benitez’ Newcastle?
Would he have learnt from last week’s master tactical display of Wolves how to break down hard to beat teams?
After another humiliating cup defeat by Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, a trip to the Premier League Champions is probably not ideal for the Magpies to get thier season back on track.
Indeed, City should expect much more of the same set up from Benitez as last week: Tight, compact and one for the neutral, Newcastle will discard the idea of ambition and entertainment.
A 5-4-1 formation will most likely be deployed. The question on everybody’s lips will be how can Pep Guardiola and his City team break the Newcastle wall?
A good all-round performance may just expose the idea of putting up a ten-man wall and hoping for the best for future opponents…
Option 1: 3-5-2
This formation used against Huddersfield worked a treat and continually got in behind the Yorkshire outfit, in what turned into a drubbing at the Etihad.
Wingbacks Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy regularly made successful inroads down their flanks, while David Silva and IIkay Gundogan pulled the strings.
The Frenchman Mendy used his power to intimidate and push back the Huddersfield defence whilst with Aguero and Jesus up top, City became too much for the Terriers.
The way City can utilize the fullbacks is the main plus of using this system. Furthermore, the likes of Mahrez, Sterling and Walker can also play in this system meaning City’s power will be frightening.
Murphy and Ritchie- the most likely choices out wide for Newcastle- will go out wide to combat the threat of the City wing backs, meaning space opens in the middle as a three vs two in the Centre of the park in favour of City starts to develop of Fernandinho, Silva and Gundogan who will all look to give the ball wide or to Aguero and Jesus down the middle.
Option 2: 4-3-3
The most likely option for City and the one used most often as City ran away with the title last season.
Kevin De Bruyne revelled in this system, playing with David Silva in a number ten position. With the Belgian out injured, Bernardo Silva or Phil Foden would be likely replacements in this position.
The Portuguese has excelled so far this season out wide and in the centre whilst Foden has the potential to deliver. With De Bruyne injured, this could be just what the wonder kid from Stockport needs. The two Silva’s ahead of Fernandinho as a sweeper behind gives City full reason to believe that midfield dominance will turn into a possession fest, yet we have come to only expect this whilst watching Guardiola’s team.