Nicholas doesn’t hold any hopes of them widening that gap, however.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Manchester City are unconvincing, but the same can be said of Liverpool. At this time of the year, with the fixture congestion and the confusion of injuries, you never know.
“Ederson is back, which is a big positive for City, although the full-backs are worrying and concerning, as are the centre-backs.
“You live and hope but I can only see Man City winning this one. I don’t see it being stylish and it will be a day of frustration. But they will pick off Newcastle nevertheless, who will not want to lose by too many.
“I have nothing but compliments for the way Bruce goes about his business. This one is a free swing but he knows if they loosen up they could lose four or five and goal difference could be valuable.”
Nicholas predicts a 2-0 City win.
Even when City are unconvincing, as Nicholas says here, it’s hard to see them dropping points in this one. Of course, stranger things have happened, and the Magpies actually won out when the two sides met in this corresponding fixture last year, but it would be some turn up to repeat that feat. There was a lack of cutting edge against Aston Villa on Monday night, and Chris Sutton even went as far as to claim that Bruce should be “humiliated” by the display that his team put on, as per the BBC. He cannot afford for a similarly passive performance on Saturday, or his boys will get mullered. Defensive solidity will be the key to success, but even then, against this City side, that might not be enough.