Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Sergio Aguero will be out for a “few games” due to a thigh injury, but Gabriel Jesus can pose a serious threat to Newcastle United as his replacement.
Aguero sustained the blow in the closing stages of the Sky Blues’ win over Chelsea on Saturday, and is expected to miss a busy part of the Premier League holder’s festive schedule.
The Etihad Stadium natives have 10 matches to play across all competitions before the year is over, starting with the visit of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday night and Saturday’s televised top-flight trip to St. James’ Park.
Guardiola is expected to have midfielders Rodri and David Silva available for the UEFA clash after the Spanish duo were taken off against Chelsea after suffering cramp, as neither reported further issues after the game.
Steve Bruce will have his work cut out trying to reduce the threat Jesus can offer us at the weekend, with the Brazilian the likely stand in for Aguero while the 31-year-old begins his rehabilitation.
Can we cause an upset on Saturday?
Jesus has featured ten times in the league thus far this season, but has only started four games and played a total of 464 minutes from a possible 1,170. Nevertheless, he has found the back of the net three times and will arrive on Tyneside as the Sky Blues’ joint-fourth leading goalscorer.
His haul may be a third of that by Aguero, yet Jesus is averaging more shots per ninety minutes than his experienced teammate with 5.2 to the Argentine’s 4.6. He is also averaging more on target than the former Atletico Madrid man with 2.1 to 1.3, per WhoScored data.
Only Phil Foden, who has played just 54 minutes in the top-flight this season, is averaging more shots and shots on target than Jesus per ninety minutes, with the Brazilian also completing the third-most overall dribbles per 90 to Foden and Bernardo Silva with 2.5.
One area where we can try to eliminate the threat that Jesus will pose at the weekend will be in the air, with the 5 ft 8 centre-forward only winning 2.7 of his 6.2 duels, whereas our least successful centre-half is Ciaran Clark at 3 successful battles from 6.4 with Jamaal Lascelles in second place having lost 1.6 of his 3.8 per 90.