Match Preview: Manchester City vs. Newcastle United
Newcastle played Crystal Palace and their former manager Alan Pardew to a 1-1 draw in their last match. Since Pardew’s departure, the club has only one win in seven matches. And it is unlikely to get any easier. After Aston Villa next week, they will face Manchester United, Everton and then Arsenal.
Manuel Pellegrini’s club sit second in the table but have seen their title hopes diminish in recent weeks. They beat Stoke City 4-1 in their last match, putting an end to a four match winless streak in the league. However, they are now seven points behind Chelsea for first.
St James’ Park is expected to be bustling tomorrow evening, and those who have been lucky enough to get the Man City match tickets are in for a treat.
Injuries and Suspensions
Newcastle received some bad news on the injury front this week. Siem de Jong had surgery for a collapsed lung and will be out several weeks. Although, he is still expected to play this season. Paul Dummett suffered a knee injury and is expected to miss this match. Worse still, Cheick Tioté, who has been ravaged by injuries all season, returned from the African Cup of Nations with a knee injury. He could be shut down for the rest of the season.
Rob Eliott (thigh muscle), Rolando Aarons (Hamstring), Jonas Gutierrez (cancer recovery) and Steven Taylor (ruptured Achilles) are all expected to be out longer. Ryan Taylor made a surprise return last weekend, also from a knee injury. He was an unused substitute against Crystal Palace.
Manuel Pellegrini has close to a full squad at his disposal. Although, it would be wrong to say that City do not have their concerns. Defender Eliaquim Mangala has been bothered by a groin injury. But there are concerns with the health of Sergio Agüero who appears to be playing through an injury. He scored last week for the first time since twisting his knee against Everton in early December.
Possible Line-Ups and Tactics
Newcastle will use the 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday. John Carver has not tampered much with Alan Pardew’s legacy at the club so. In part, this is because the various injuries have left the Newcastle manager with few choices. The loss of Dummett leaves Newcastle very light in defense. And the club has learned to live without Tioté for much of the season already.
Manuel Pellegrini has used the 4-2-3-1 formation for most of this season. Although, he has used 4-4-2 at times as well. Yaya Touré and Wilfried Bony should be available for the club on Saturday after returning from the African Cup of Nations as champions. Sergio Agüero leads the club in goals with 16. Touré and David Silva are second with seven each.
These two clubs played one another in their first match of the season back in August, with City coming out on top 2-0. But the Magpies returned the favour in October, knocking City out of the League Cup with the same score line. Newcastle will be looking to defeat Manchester City in the league for the first time in almost a decade.
It will not be easy. The Citizens have only lost twice at home in the league this season. Although, they have only one win in their last four matches. That includes a defeat to Arsenal, and draws against Burnley and Hull. The return of Yaya Touré will be a major boost to the club that has looked vulnerable in his absence. And Newcastle has not been good on the road in recent matches. They have only one victory in their last seven matches.
City has close to a full squad and will be too difficult for Newcastle to overcome. However, the Magpies have been playing in close matches recently and should manage a draw.
Manchester City 1 – 1 Newcastle United
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