Venue: St James’ Park.
Date: Sun 06th May 2012.
Referee: Howard Webb.
TV: Sky Sports 1.
Manchester City last won the League in 1967-1968 and they did so by beating us 4-3 at St James’ Park on the last day of the season. They could effectively do the same again tomorrow if Manchester United slip up against Swansea, so let’s hope that history doesn’t fancy repeating itself in that respect.
This is a huge game for both teams. City want the title of course but if we want any chance of playing Champions League football next season we just can’t afford to drop any points from here on in. Even then, we’d have to hope that Spurs drop points in their last two games (away to Villa & home to Fulham) or that Arsenal do likewise (home to Norwich & away to West Brom).
We’ve recovered well from our pounding at Wigan though with a great mid-week win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which certainly took Harry Redknapp by surprise who, during one of his not-getting-the-England-job interviews, said he “didn’t see that one coming”.
My first instinct is to say there’ll be plenty of goals in this game but I’m wondering if both teams will err on the side of caution, at least to begin with. I think Manchester City in particular will want to probe around and see what we have on offer before committing themselves forward in numbers, but once they’ve got the lay of the land they’ll unleash their formidable strike force. Nothing less than 3 points will suffice for City.
I do believe we can win this but we’ll have to be on the top of our game to do so. I hope the gruelling 103 minutes we played against Chelsea on Wednesday hasn’t sapped us of too much energy. We’re at home and we should be looking to take the initiative and there’s currently the feeling that if we can get the ball the Cisse in good areas enough times he’ll score. If we can score first I fancy our chances but I’m a bit glum about the prospects if they score first.
I’m certainly excited about this one and really looking forward to it – let’s hope it goes our way.
We come into this game with just one defeat in the last six, which was our 4-0 defeat at Wigan last weekend. Otherwise we’ve notched up wins against Chelsea (2-0 – away), Stoke (3-0 – home), Bolton (2-0 – home), Swansea (2-0 away) and Liverpool (2-0 – home).
Manchester City have won the last 4 on the trot, beating Man Utd 1-0 at home, Wolves 2-0 away, Norwich 6-1 away and West Brom 4-0 at home. They lost 1-0 at Arsenal prior to that and the mackems held them to a 3-3 draw at home 6 games ago.
|Last 6 League Games||Pts|
|Newcastle – All League Games||W||W||W||W||L||W||15/18|
|Manchester City – All League Games||D||L||W||W||W||W||13/18|
|Newcastle – Home League Games||D||D||W||W||W||W||14/18|
|Manchester City – Away League Games||W||L||D||L||W||W||10/18|
Manchester City have only lost 5 league games this season, all away, to Arsenal, Swansea, Everton, Sunderland and Chelsea. But we’ve been strong at home, with just two defeats at SJP to West Brom and Chelsea back in December.
|Newcastle – All League||36||19||8||9||55||46||52.78||25.00|
|Man City – All League||36||26||5||5||88||27||72.22||13.89|
|Newcastle – Home League||18||11||5||2||29||15||61.11||11.11|
|Man City – Away League||18||9||4||5||36||17||50.00||27.77|
Vuckic, Saylor and Lovenkrands remain on the long-term sick list but Sammy Ameobi is apparently back in training, although it’s very unlikely he’ll play any part in this game.
The good news is that Cheick Tiote should be okay for the game after having to have stitches following his argument with Mikel on Wednesday and apparently Danny Simpson – who missed Wednesday’s game – faces a late fitness test.
Newcastle (from): Krul, Elliot, Simpson(?), R Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Ferguson, Perch, Williamson, Cabaye, Tiote, Marveaux, Guthrie, Obertan, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Gosling, Shola Ameobi, Ba, Cisse.
Apparently Manchester City have only one injury worry and that’s to Joe Hart who’s receiving treatment to a foot injury he picked up in their game against Man Utd. From what I can gather he’s expected to be fit for the Newcastle game though.
Manchester City (from): Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Lescott, Clichy, Barry, Nasri, Silva, Y Toure, Aguero, Tevez, Pantilimon, Richards, Kolarov, Milner, De Jong, Dzeko, Balotelli.
I suspect we’ll go with pretty much the same team we put out against Chelsea in the middle of the week, although it’s possible that Danny Simpson could resume at right back. There’s been some debate as to whether one or two of our recent matches have been 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 but I don’t suppose it has to be either. There’s nothing to say we can’t switch from a front three to a front two as necessary during a game depending upon how things pan out, with Ba moving central, Jonas moving out left and Benny hanging back a touch on the right.
City are likely to play their 4-2-3-1 attack/4-5-1 defence formation with Tevez spearheading the attack. Our defence will be kept busy trying to deal with the like of Aguero and Silva as well as Tevez and their goal difference shows what City are capable of in that respect.
We can score too of course. Besides the obvious recent delights of Papiss Cisse, the likes of Ben Arfa and Cabaye are capable goal scorers and it would be an excellent game for Demba Ba to start finding the net again.
What The Managers Say
Ahead of the game, Alan Pardew said:
“In the scheme of the Premier League this is a huge game – the Champions League position on our part and, for Manchester City, the title. It would be fantastic for them to try and beat that Manchester United strangle-hold on it. We’ve won seven of our last eight games, which is incredible really, and we go into this match in great form.“
Meanwhile, Mancini paid us a compliment by claiming this game will be harder then the one they played against Man Utd last weekend. Mancini said:
“I think this game will be more difficult for us. The United game was at home and we played very well to win but Newcastle is away and I think it will be harder.“
“Cisse is incredible. He scored two fantastic goals against Chelsea.
“But not just him, their whole team is playing very well. They play to win in every game, they have a good mentality and for this reason I think it will be a good game on Sunday.”
Howay The Lads!