Newcastle United will be hoping to put an end to their worst losing streak of the season when they face Manchester City on Sunday at St.James' Park.
The Magpies have lost three consecutive matches in all competitions. The latest being a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City in their 3rd round FA Cup match on January 4th. The loss meant that Newcastle will only have Premier League matches to play for the remainder of the season.
Losses to Arsenal and West Brom have meant that Newcastle have fallen to eighth position in the Premiership. A full six points up on Southampton who sit ninth.
But a win against Manchester City will go a long way in the team returning to striking distance of a European spot for next season. They are only five points behind Everton for fifth.
Newcastle has shown an ability to raise their level when they have faced an elite club like Manchester City. Alan Pardew’s club have defeated Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea already this season.
The Magpies suffered a 4-0 defeat to City in the first match of the Premier League season on August 19th and will no doubt have revenge on their minds.
Injuries and Suspenions
Newcastle will be without right-back Mathieu Debuchy for a second consecutive match after he received a red card in the club’s New Years Day defeat to West Brom. He is eligible to return against West Ham on January 18th. Steven Taylor is again, likely to take his place.
The Magpies will continue to adjust to life without Fabricio Coloccini. The Argentine defender will miss several more weeks with a knee injury. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is expected to partner with Mike Williamson in the centre of defense.
Yohan Cabaye is battling a calf injury, while goalkeeper Tim Krul has been bothered by a shoulder injury. Both sat out the previous match against Cardiff City but are expected to play on Sunday.
Manchester City has been without leading scorer Sergio Agüero who suffered a calf muscle strain in December. Manager Manuel Pellegrini said this week that the Argentine has returned to training and could be cleared to play soon.
In recent matches, City have played in a 4-4-2 formation, with Álvaro Negredo and Edin Džeko as a striking partnership. Although, Manchester City has also been known to play 4-2-3-1 at times this season as well.
Even with Agüero injured, Manchester City still has a wealth of talent on the squad. They probably have the deepest squad of any club in the Premier League. Negredo has been a good pick up for the club this year, having pitched in eight goals. And the club gets scoring from its midfield as well. Yaya Touré is second of the team with ten goals already this season.
Alan Pardew should welcome back Cabaye and Krul to the squad. Newcastle has usually rotated between 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 for most of this season. With Debuchy suspended, Krul, Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko and Loïc Rémy will have to be at their best for Newcastle on Sunday.
Sunday’s match will be a meeting between two teams that have been going in opposite directions. Manchester City have not lost in their last nine Premier League matches. Newcastle, on the other hand have lost three consecutive in all competitions for the first time this season.
Although City have not lost in their last four Premier League matches away, their record on the road this season has been poor by their standards. Newcastle have been strong at St.James’ Park this season, having only lost twice.
The Magpies have a singular goal for the rest of the season which is to qualify for European football for next season. They will need to get a result against Manchester City in order to get back within sight of fifth place.
Newcastle will come out with a much better effort in front of their home fans. The match ends in a draw.
Newcastle United 1 – 1 Manchester City