Newcastle United dealt big blow, Bruno Guimaraes worry & Pep Guardiola prediction – moments missed v Man City
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Rafael Benitez briefs Anthony Gordon
Ahead of Anthony Gordon’s first start for Newcastle, he was given a pep talk by his former Everton manager Rafael Benitez. The former Newcastle manager was on BT Sport media duty for the match and spent plenty of time talking with various members of the Newcastle staff, but most notably Gordon.
The Spaniard and the 22-year-old were locked in conversation on the edge of the pitch before the match as Gordon prepared to make his full debut. Benitez was Newcastle manager from 2016 to 2019 and remains a well-respected figure at St James’s Park.
Godron came into the side for Allan Saint-Maximin, who was surprisingly dropped by head coach Eddie Howe after some encouraging attacking displays.
And the youngster’s full debut would prove to be a frustrating one despite a few fleeting glimpses of quality on the ball. The winger had a good chance early on for The Magpies as he bared down on goal before crumbling under the pressure of Kyle Walker as he hit the ball off his standing leg instead of getting a shot away.
Newcastle United dealt injury blow ahead of the match
Eddie Howe was forced to make a big change to his starting line-up as club captain Jamaal Lascelles came into the side for only his second Premier League start of the season over six months after his first. Lascelles replaced Fabian Schar, who suffered concussion symptoms following Newcastle’s 2-0 Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester United the weekend prior.
Schar missed training through the week and was forced to sit out the game as it fell inside the six day concussion rest period.
Premier League concussion protocols stipulate that players who have suffered a concussion should undergo a period of rest from all physical and mental activity – usually for six days – while being monitored by the club’s medical staff.
Explaining Schar’s absence further, head coach Howe said: “Fabian took a nasty knock to his eye. He had a nasty cut and bruise around that area. He did some tests with the doctor during the week, so quite early in the week, he wasn’t going to be available to play.”
It’s not the first time Schar has taken a blow to the head and suffered concussion symptoms for Newcastle, which is why the club will be managing the defender’s situation carefully.
“I don’t think Fabian’s history is part of my thinking, but the doctor who has been with us a long period of time knows Fabian’s history,” Howe added. “That’s all taken into account with the concussion protocol, that we will follow to the letter.”
Newcastle United suffer set-back for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest
We all knew it was coming. Joelinton picked up his 10th yellow card of the season and will now face a two-match suspension.
The Brazilian has been in good form for The Magpies and recently picked up the club’s player of the month award for February. And he put in a solid display at the Etihad Stadium as he tried to help Newcastle get a foothold in the game.
But in his efforts, Joelinton picked up a yellow card after stepping on Ruben Dias’ foot in the second half.
Any player shown 10 yellow cards in their side’s first 32 Premier League fixtures will serve a two-game suspension.
Joelinton was also suspended for Newcastle’s trip to Southampton back in November after picking up five yellow cards inside the club’s first 19 Premier League games of the season.
He will miss the upcoming league matches against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest but will be back available for the home match against Manchester United on April 1.
Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes concern continues
Bruno Guimaraes has had a difficult month or so at Newcastle. After an ankle injury scare against Fulham didn’t prove to be serious back in January, the Brazilian was handed a three match ban following a straight red card against Southampton.
He returned to the side in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United but appeared to aggravate his ankle once again as he was withdrawn in the closing stages after playing on briefly.
Again, it seemed to be nothing more than a scare as the 25-year-old trained through the week and was passed fit to start at Man City.
But in the first half, Guimaraes went down holding that same right ankle once again and looked in some discomfort during the match.
And Howe suggested afterwards: “Bruno was maybe showing the effects of that knock he had on the ankle last week. But I don’t think there’s any long-term problem there.”
Pep Guardiola shows his class and makes big Newcastle prediction
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is regularly complimentary about Newcastle and remained true to form on Saturday both before and after the match.
In his programme notes, Guardiola wrote: “Everybody knows how good [Newcastle] are. They have been so consistent, but also good to watch.
"What an incredible job Eddie Howe has done. Eddie deserves so much credit. It's not easy to create a team as good as his Newcastle side in the time he has.”
During City’s 2-0 win following goals from Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva in either half, Guardiola also played the role of mediator when Wilson and Manuel Akanji clashed on the touchline.
And after the match the City boss admitted Howe’s side caused problems at the Etihad Stadium.
“It’s Newcastle, it’s an exceptional team,” he said. "Their threat isn’t a surprise. There’s a reason why they were in the Carabao Cup final, and for a lot of minutes they were better than [Manchester] United. This team, and this club, in the next few years will be a threat for the title.”