Well I’ve loafed about all summer, been on holiday in Turkey, spent some time in Barcelona, gained a promotion (sort of!) at work, but now it’s back to it as the Premier League returns to St James’ Park.
In terms of assignments things don’t get much tougher than a match against Manchester City. Whilst United have been on a relative spending (reinvestment) spree over the summer, it is a completely insignificant amount when you compare it to what the Etihad outfit have spent in recent transfer windows. In fact one player this summer for them equates to roughly what we’ve spent during this transfer window!
It’s true we’ve bought well, or at least we seem to have, but the reality is that all of those signings are going to have to hit the ground running if we are to thrive this season. They’ll need time to adjust and whilst some have performed well in pre-season the fact remains that the Premier League is a completely different animal to what many of these new signing have experienced before.
Siem De Jong will not make his Premier League debut for the Magpies as he misses out courtesy of a calf strain. Cheik Tiote (hamstring) will join him as will longer term absentees Davide Santon and Papiss Cisse. Hatem Ben Arfa would appear to still be exiled from the team whilst Jonas Gutierrez, despite possessing a squad number, has played less minutes in pre-season than Gabriel Obertan so is unlikely to feature.
Debuts are likely be handed to Jack Colback, Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat and Emmanuel Riviere.
Alvaro Negredo is injured and will miss the match while new £32m signing Eliaquim Mangala won’t feature. Sergio Aguero is also likely to miss out through a lack of match fitness. Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Martin Demichelis, Frank Lampard and Bacary Sagna all missed the Community Shield last weekend but are likely to be included in varying capacities tomorrow.
What can you say about previous meetings between the two sides apart from that they haven’t been very good for us? We lost all three games against them last season (two league and one cup) conceding eight goals and scoring none.
In fact you have to go back nearly nine years to find our last victory over the Citizens, with Michael Owen scoring the winning goal on that occasion.
Historically we have been the stronger side though winning 66 of 161 matches compared to 59 victories for City. At St James’ Park we’ve won 50 of the 82 games played between the two sides.
Stats and facts:
Newcastle have failed to score in their opening game in three of their four seasons since returning to the top flight.
Remy Cabella, who has joined from Montpellier, had more touches in the opposition half (2019) than any other player in Ligue 1 last season.
Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 15 Premier League matches (16 in all competitions) against Newcastle. They’ve won the last 10 games on the spin aswell.
The most debutants in a Premier League match for United has been five. Technically, although unlikely, Newcastle could beat that by giving debuts to Remy Cabella, Emmanuel Riviere, Facundo Ferreyra, Jack Colback, Daryl Janmaat, Ayoze Perez and Rolando Aaarons.
See what I mean that it’s unlikely…
Again this is one of those dead rubber games that I fear will end in defeat which will suck the early season excitement out of things. That’s just my opinion however so we’ll see.
On the other hand, we’ve got to play City and all the rest of the teams at some point so why not start off by playing one of the top sides in the division in our first game of the season? We’re at home so you just never never know, we might surprise a few people.
Howay the lads!
Date: Sunday, 17th August, 2014
Venue: St James’ Park