Four wins, three draws and six defeats - that is how Newcastle have performed in the league this season. A total of 15 points has left them in 14th spot in the table, five points clear of the relegation zone.
The Magpies actually entered Monday's clash with Villa off the back of successive wins over West Ham United and Bournemouth but could not make it three in a row as they suffered a two-goal loss at Villa Park. Jonjo Shelvey was handed the captain's armband in the absence of Jamaal Lascelles, but the Englishman could not inspire his team from the middle of the park.
Miguel Almiron's struggles continued, meanwhile, meaning that the Paraguay international has still not registered a goal or an assist since arriving from the MLS during the January transfer window. Allan Saint-Maximin is also yet to score this season, but the attacker has excited the fans with his performances.
While the loss at Villa was disappointing, there is no question that Newcastle have shown signs of improvement in recent months. Indeed, since being thumped 5-0 at Leicester City at the end of September, they have beaten Manchester United, West Ham and Bournemouth, in addition to sharing the points in a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Magpies also only just lost at Chelsea last month but now face a City side that just cannot afford to drop points due to Liverpool's form.
Bruce's team will then head into a very interesting set of fixtures against Sheffield United, Southampton, Burnley and Crystal Palace, before travelling to Old Trafford on Boxing Day to take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United.
Newcastle did run out 2-1 winners in the corresponding match last season, although that was their first Premier League victory over the Citizens since 2005, with the Manchester side dominating this fixture in recent years.
There is no question that the supporters will be demanding a response this weekend, and the Magpies have only lost one of their six league matches at St James' Park this season, which came on the opening weekend to Arsenal.
Recent form: WLDWWL
There was no room for error against Chelsea last weekend as City entered the match 12 points behind Liverpool, who had recorded a 2-1 victory away to Crystal Palace earlier in the afternoon.
N'Golo Kante handed the Blues a one-goal advantage at the Etihad Stadium, but Kevin De Bruyne levelled the scores before Riyad Mahrez scored a vital second goal. The victory moved Guardiola's side back to within nine points, which still stands heading into this weekend's matches.
A record of nine wins, one draw and three defeats has brought the Citizens 28 points, leaving them one point behind second-placed Leicester. Liverpool have 37 points from their 13 matches, and the Reds will fancy their chances of overcoming Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon.
City's task is actually quite simple, just keep winning. There is simply no room for error due to Liverpool's stunning form, and it might well be that Guardiola puts his focus on the Champions League if the club are unable to close the gap in the league heading into the final few months.
The English champions were in Champions League action on Tuesday night, drawing 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad Stadium. The point was enough for City to secure their passage into the round of 16 as group winners, but it was far from a convincing performance.
In all competitions, City have won just one of their last four matches. That said, their only defeat since the start of October came at Liverpool, and there is an argument that the reigning champions were much the better side for long periods of the clash at Anfield.
The Citizens have lost two of their last four Premier League away matches, though, including a 3-2 defeat at Norwich City in the middle of September. There is no question that the team are struggling defensively due to the departure of Vincent Kompany and injury for the brilliant Aymeric Laporte.
In terms of what is ahead for Guardiola's side, they will open the month of December with a trip to Burnley, before the small matter of the Manchester derby at home to Manchester United on December 7. They will then take on Arsenal, Leicester and Wolverhampton Wanderers before hosting Sheffield United on December 29, which will bring an end to their 2019.
Recent form: LWWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDLWD
Newcastle will once again be without their skipper Lascelles due to a knee injury, while Matt Ritchie remains on the sidelines after undergoing a second ankle operation.
Florian Lejeune could make the squad having fully recovered from a second knee operation, although it seems unlikely that the centre-back will be named in the XI this weekend.
Midfielder Sean Longstaff is available after a three-game suspension, though, and the Englishman could join Shelvey - again expected to skipper the side - in the middle of the park.
Aguero's absence will see Gabriel Jesus feature at the tip of the away team's attack.
Newcastle possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Yedlin, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Willems; Almiron, S Longstaff, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Fernandinho, Stones, Mendy; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Sterling, Jesus, Bernardo
Head To Head
Newcastle actually lead the head-to-head record 72 wins to City's 68, while there have also been 39 draws between the two teams.
As mentioned, the Magpies ran out 2-1 winners in the reverse match last season, while the two teams played out a 1-1 draw at St James' Park in April 2016.
City have a recent away win over Newcastle in the Premier League to their name, though, with Sterling scoring in a 1-0 success in December 2017.
Between January 2009 and October 2015, the Citizens won 12 straight Premier League matches against the Tyne and Wear club.
We say: Newcastle 0-2 Manchester City
The pressure is on City once again due to Liverpool's stunning form, and Newcastle's home form this season has been strong. Guardiola's side know how to win these type of matches, though, and we fancy them to pick up an important three points in Saturday's early start.