Newcastle – Manchester City (Capital One Cup)
Come next Wednesday the Magpies will play host to the Citizens in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup. Both teams go into this tie looking for a positive response to the disappointing results of the weekend. An unmotivated Newcastle was defeated in local derby by Sunderland and an exciting Manchester City fell to Chelsea, with a 90 minute absurd goal. Who will be the one to shake that feeling?
The Magpies come from a crushing defeat. In fact, struggling rival Sunderland got their first victory of the season last Sunday (2-1), courtesy of Newcastle United. Yet another evidence of the inconsistent run they have been having, in all competitions: 11 fixtures, 5 won and 4 lost. Like a roller-coaster they manage to give Liverpool, a top seed, a fight for the points and lose , the very next week, to a bottom side.
To get to this stage, Newcastle beat Morecambe and Leeds United, twice a 2-0 result. Alan Pardew is betting strong on this competition, fielding a squad at his maximum power, like he did on the last round. However, this time around, he must think ahead. And ahead, right after this Capital One Cup fixture with City, comes Chelsea. Considering how last lineup performed a few changes would be welcome. The trio he selected against Sunderland – Rémy, Ben Arfa and Gouffran – just did not work out. Maybe it’s time to bring Papiss Cissé back on, or move their best scorer to his rightful place. Sissoko could give way to Vurnon Anita. Ryan Taylor (knee) is a long-term absentee. Fabricio Coloccini continues his recovery from a groin injury.
Probable lineup: Krul – Debuchy, Dummet, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara – Tioté, Anita – Gouffran Marveaux, Sam Ameobi – Cissé.
In the 2012/13 season the Citizens came second to Champion Manchester United and lost the FA Cup final to Wigan Athletic (0-1). The first of the last is hardly a title that suits this side’s ambitions. Dominant has they may have been in recent years they aim for more than runner’s up moral victories. So it is true some players need a rest to be at their best in the coming Premier League and Champions’ fixtures. But they can’t just relax and risk to drop the ball. True winners have to perform with the same killer instinct and intensity, game in and game out. Having said that, the Manchester City side allows enough depth for some key-players to sit this one out. Kun Aguero, for instance, can open space for Edin Dzeko or Álvaro Negredo. If Aleksandar Kolorov, Micah Richards and James Milner get a shot in the starting XI it will not be a shock. Joe Hart may be given time to ponder on his recent mistakes and certainly not much harm could come from starting Costel Pantilimon instead. Team Captain Vincent Kompany continues unavailable.
Probable lineup: Pantilimon – Richards, Demichelis, Lescott, Kolarov – Milner, Garcia, Rodwell, Navas – Jovetic, Dzeko.
Newcastle and City already met this season, in the Premier League’s opening day, at the Etihad. The team from Manchester netted four times and did not conceded. Pellegrini’s men also have the best attack in the League, with 21 goals in 9 games, an average of nearly two and a half per match. And the Citizens have won the last 6 fixtures between the two sides. But psychologically the points they dropped at Stanford Bridge leave scars. Maybe this is Alan Pardew’s chance to get the foot in the door and kick it to the next round.