There are still many questions to be answered regarding this Newcastle United team, and in truth there will still be questions regardless of the result at the Etihad Stadium on Monday.
A game away at title-chasing Manchester City is perhaps not the best way to start the season, although on the other side of the coin it does at least get it out of the way early doors.
As you might be able to tell from that last bit I’m not exactly hopeful of picking up a result in Manchester but that doesn’t mean I’d be happy to see us go through the motions like we always seem to do against City. This group of players, lack of investment aside, were not great last season and now they have to set about showing that they justify the hype surrounding them.
From players to manager to those above, questions need answering. Are the players we have good enough? Is the manager good enough? Was 5th place the fluke or was 16th due to exceptional circumstances? Will we ever sign anyone ever again on a permanent basis? So many questions, but at least now they can start to be answered.
Matija Nastasic will miss the game after picking up an ankle injury during pre-season whilst Carlos Tevez and Kolo Toure have now departed the Etihad and (obviously!) won’t face us. However City have spent in the region of £90 million this close season on bringing in Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho so they aren’t shy of a few replacements.
Loan signing Loic Remy is absent with a calf injury while Davide Santon also misses out. Jonas Gutierrez is doubtful with hamstring strain. Mehdi Abeid, Shane Ferguson, Adam Campbell and James Tavernier have all been loaned out so aren’t available for consideration.
City done the double over us last season winning 3-1 at St James’ Park and 4-0 at the Etihad which isn’t exactly anything to get excited about.
When we’re away from home against City we historically tend to suffer. There have been 78 games played at Manchester City’s various homes over the years with the Citizens coming out on top on 41 occasions compared to just 21 victories for United.
Overall though we do still hold an advantage when you consider games played home and away. Newcastle have notched up 66 victories compared to 56 for City with 36 draws making up the numbers. Remarkably goals scored between the two sides is almost identical with United finding the back of the net 233 times compared to City’s 223 goals scored against us.
Match stats and facts:
United last beat City almost eight years ago in September 2005 with Michael Owen scoring the goal on that occasion. We’ve faced each other 13 times since.
City have recorded seven straight victories against us. The last time we managed to avoid defeat against City was when Joe Kinnear was in charge of football managing matters.
United’s first away Premier League fixture of the season has resulted in nine defeats, five draws and five victories from 19 games.
After the way last season went, and seeing how the summer has gone, my final thought is how high can I count such is my lack of optimism regarding this game. I expect us to get nothing so if we get something it will be a bonus for me. That doesn’t mean that a lack of effort is allowed. If we lose to the better team on the day then that’s fine so long as I cans see we’ve given it a go and haven’t turned up thinking we’re going to lose before a ball is kicked. As a fan I might think that, but I’m also not paid tens of thousands of pounds a week to give 100% and be professional.
Still, I might be pleasantly surprised.
Howay the lads!
Date: Monday, 19th August, 2013
Venue: The Etihad Stadium