The defender is hoping his side can build on their victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.
The Magpies appointed Steve McClaren this summer and underwent something of a rebuilding process as he signed a number of new players to freshen up his squad.
It has been a struggle so far, though - they are winless in seven games, second from bottom of the Premier League table and have suffered a disappointing League Cup exit to Sheffield Wednesday.
And Zabaleta says he is surprised by their position, given their brush with relegation last season.
“I’m very surprised to see Newcastle where they are because of the experience they had towards the end of last season,” he told mcfc.co.uk.
“After that situation, you expect to bring in new players - which has happened - but the results haven’t been good so far. They have a new coach now and there is a long way to go so there is time for them to improve and climb the table.”
City must build on Monchengladbach victory
The defender, however, insists that he and his side will still be doing all they can to pile on the pressure this weekend.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are in need of a win themselves. Having started the season on fire, they have now lost their last two league games, against West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.
They returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League in midweek, though, and Zabaleta is keen for them to build on that victory.
“It doesn’t change me wanting to beat them on Saturday, though,” he added.
“We need a good result ourselves and we have to start winning games again and need to build on our win over Borussia.”