So here we are again. Freshly buoyed from a good performance and a rather creditable draw again the reigning champions Chelsea last weekend, we now find ourselves away at a ground which, being kind, we struggle in.
So it’s off the Etihad Stadium where once again my expectations are dragging along the floor somewhere and all I ask for, like last week, is effort, application and commitment. If we manage that then, again like last week, we may find ourselves pleasantly surprised.
I don’t want to delve into recent history too much as I’ll cover that later on but suffice to say it’s been woeful against Manchester City. We can put up fights against Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal yet for some unknown reason we always seem to just roll over for City and with the talent an oil baron can fill a football team with that isn’t a good combination.
But Manuel Pellegrini’s are not proving to be infallible. They started off the season like a dog out the traps but they have hit a rocky patch in recent weeks and haven;t exactly set the house on fire in the Champions League. Not that the Champions League bothers us, or is likely to bother us, anytime soon!
Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph are all absent through various injuries for the home side. However it’s not all bad news as Wilfried Bony, Kelechi Iheanacho and Eliaquim Mangala are expected to return to the side following recent spells on the sidelines.
Jack Colback is nursing a calf injury and may be forced to sit this one out. Cheik Tiote could cover for him after a return to fitness.
Gabriel Obertan, Rolando Aarons and Massadio Haidara are all out so Kevin Mbabu is likely to earn a second Premier League appearance following an impressive debut last weekend. Steven Taylor, Paul Dummett, Emmanuel Riviere and Sylvain Marveaux are also out although the latter is edging closer to a return to fitness after some reserve appearances.
You have to go back to February 2001 to locate our last league victory at Manchester City – a 1-0 win courtesy of an Alan Shearer goal – and we’ve failed to even draw since the 2006/2007 season. Having said that we did win in the League Cup there last season but our last three trips to the Etihad have seen us lose 4-0 twice and 5-0 on the other occasion.
There have been 164 matches between the two sides in all competitions and the record is pretty even to be fair with United just edging it with 67 wins compared to 61 for City.
Stats and facts…
Newcastle are the only side in the entire football league not to have scored a goal away from home this season.
United need to win today to avoid our worst ever start to the season in the Premier League era.
Manchester City have lost successive league games, having previously won a club record 11 matches in a row. They last lost three consecutive league matches back in November 2008.
City are unbeaten in 17 league meetings with Newcastle (W15, D2), their longest-ever run without defeat against a single opponent in the Premier League.
Hope is in short supply from me today and I fear the worst. City can tear any team apart on their day let alone a team that is still trying to find out if it has legs let alone finding its feet. I suspect we’ll be discussing another defeat come the full-time whistle, and with an international break to ponder it over following the game the mood looks unlikely to improve.
Manchester City: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Otamendi, Eliaquim Mangala, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fernando, Fernandinho, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero
Subs: Willy Caballero, Martin Demichelis, Bacary Sagna, Manuel Garcia, Jesus Navas, Wifried Bony, Kelechi Iheanacho
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Daryl Janmaat, Chancel Mbemba, Fabricio Coloccini, Kevin Mbabu, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Vurnon Anita, Gerginio Wijnaldum, Ayoze Perez, Aleksandar Mitrovic
Subs: Rob Elliot, Jamaal Lascelles, Mike Williamson, Cheik Tiote, Florian Thauvin, Siem de Jong, Papiss Cissé