Newcastle – Manchester City (Premier League)
Premier League returns with the Citizens visiting St. James Park. In 2013 the two sides met three times, all wins for the Manchester team, that were able to score 10 goals and maintain a clean sheet. Does Newcastle have what takes to stop such a devastating attack force?
Alan Pardew’s side has been one to gather points in a roll and then break those momentums falling to teams they were supposed to overcome. Were not for defeats against Sunderland, Swansea, Hull and West Bromwich the Magpies could perfectly be knocking at the top four’s door. Their next opposition aside the Toon have done extremely well against strong squads. They’ve made Everton fight (3-2), reached a stalemate with Liverpool (2-2) then beat Chelsea (2-0), the Spurs (0-1) and United at Old Trafford (0-1).
Newscastle United are 8th with 33 points, 1 behind United and 6 clear of Southampton. Slightly over half of the Premier League fixtures they are 8 points short that what was their final score last season. Well done, you Toon!
Ryan Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini are both ruled out, the later for at least a month. Mathieu Débuchy is suspended following a red card. It will probably be too soon for Yohan Cabaye’s return. Tim Krul is doubtful.
Probable line-up: Krul — Santon, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara — Tioté, Anita — Arfa, Sissoko, Gouffran — Rémy.
Manchester City sit in 2nd in the Table with 44 points, one less than leaders Arsenal. They have been unbeaten in the last 14 matches, victorious in 12. The FA Cup third round against Blackburn caught them off-guard. The Citizens took “resting players” a little too far and were pinned to a 1-1 draw and a rematch by the Rovers. The wake-up call worked. In the League Cup fixture they went back to their dominant selves at home. West Ham were totally out-classed and were not for Adrián’s courageous performance City would have scored four or five more. Negredo made a hat-trick, Yaya Touré one and Dzeko a brace. It was so overwhelming that the Bosnian lost track of the score-board. The entire squad took the game seriously, it’s as simple as that. More than any other side of the Premier League, the world really, Manchester City has the luxury of having at least two world-class players for each position. So, when Pellegrini rotates the starting XI nothing significant happens. They’re all starters, that’s the bench every manager dreams of. Aguero can take his time reaching full fitness, Pellegrini expects he’ll be back in training in a week or so. Micah Richards and Stefan Jovetic are there already. Touré had the fans worried on Wednesday about his ankle for a minute but he’s a tough bloke. Jesus Navas should have recover from the knock on the knee.
Probable line-up: Hart — Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov — Fernandinho, Touré — Nasri, Silva — Dzeko, Negredo.
Manchester City was absolutely dominant in the opening game of the season, a peak of what was to be their form at the Etihad. In August Newcastle wasn’t able to stop Aguero, Touré, David Silva and Nasri from netting. Away they have been improving but are not as dominant. In October, in a Capital One Cup tie at St. James Park, the Magpies forced the Citizens to beat them in overtime, following a 0-0 draw. Will Laudrup’s men have a glitch of opportunity for payback on Saturday?