Newcastle attempt to put their disappointing FA Cup exit behind them by welcoming Manchester City to St James’ Park tomorrow.
A return to winning ways would ease some of the pressure that has started to build once more after an impressive first half of the season.
However that return to winning ways, if it transpires that way, will have to be against a side who are playing extremely well at the moment. Manchester City seem to have found a solution to their problem of having so many expensive superstar players in one side and have now become a team rather than a set of individuals.
City look more fearsome right now than they ever have done and their results at home speak for themselves. They’ve played ten league games at the Etihad and have won every one of them scoring nearly four goals on average in each of those matches. Away from home they have been shaky but even those blemishes are starting to be erased and they’ve not lost on the road since their visit to Sunderland back in November. They are setting themselves up nicely for the tail end of the season.
Fabricio Coloccini is still sidelined and Mathieu Debuchy is still suspended so both will miss this game along with, potentially, Davide Santon who is struggling with a thigh problem. Ryan Taylor remains absent and will be for a good while yet.
It’s not all bad news though as Yohan Cabaye, who missed the defeat to Cardiff with an achilles issue could return while Tim Krul should be fit to resume goalkeeping duties.
Sergio Aguero is out as he continues to recover from a calf injury. Stevan Jovetic and Micah Richards might be fit enough to return to the squad while Jack Rodwell and Jesus Navas are both doubts ahead of the game.
Our previous against City doesn’t make for good reading in recent years and you have to scroll back to September 2005 to find our last recorded win against them which was a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Michael Owen goal.
Since then we’ve hosted Manchester City seven times (six in the league, once in the League Cup) with only a solitary draw to our name.
However it’s not all bad news as we do still hold the upper hand historically. There has been 169 meetings between the two clubs with United winning 70 times, City winning 61 times with 38 draws rounding things off. At St James’ Park we’ve played 77, won 48, drawn 15 and lost 14 matches.
Stats and facts…
Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League matches against Newcastle, winning the last eight.
Newcastle have not lost four games in a row for just over a year.
Loic Remy has been caught offside (23 times) more than any other player in the Premier League.
Newcastle have the same points after the same amount of games as we accrued in the season where we finished fifth. We’re also 13 points better off than at the same stage last season.
I know this sounds a little bit like a love in towards Manchester City. It’s not meant to be but few can deny they’ve been devastating and impressive of late.
If only the same could be said for Newcastle eh? The wheels are wobbling at the moment and a game against a side bang in form is probably not what we need right now. Mind you, stranger things have happened and lets be fair, we’ve come up short against supposed weaker teams so why not try and get back to winning ways the hard way?
The key word there is ‘try’ and as long as we do that I’ll be happy enough. We may not be able to compete with the spending power of City or their quality on the pitch, but we can match their effort at the very least.
Howay the lads!
Date: Sunday, 12th January, 2014
Venue: St James’ Park