14th December 2012
Having slipped into the danger zone after the defeat to Fulham, Newcastle desperately need a morale-boosting win to kick-start their league campaign. Victory over reigning Premier League champions would be a perfect tonic, but the problem is Manchester City are eager to make amends for the derby defeat to United.
Newcastle chiefs did everything they could to help the team keep up with impressive performances after the fifth-place finish, having not only kept hold of key players but also added several quality signings. However, the Magpies just could not hit the ground running and after losing four of last five league games they find themselves just two points above the relegation zone. Injuries to star players Yohan Cabaye, Fabricio Coloccini and Hatem Ben Arfa certainly had something to do with the slow start, while Alan Pardew’s persistence to play Papiss Cisse on the wing left the team completely relying on Demba Ba for goals. The Magpies have been showing some improvement since Fabricio Coloccini and Hatem Ben Arfa returned into action, but the problem is that the Frenchman is doubtful for the City clash with a hamstring injury. Gabriel Obertan could return, but Yohan Cabaye, Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic are definitely out.
Manchester City are another side that have been playing well below their potential this season, as given the quality of the squad and money invested in the players, the Citizens should be doing much better. With the Citizens having crashed out of Europe and allowing United to create a six-point cushion at the Premier League summit, I am really surprised that club chiefs still believe Roberto Mancini is the man for the job. The realty is the Italian have utterly failed to get the maximum out of his star-studded squad, and I can certainly see him getting the boot before this season is over. It will be difficult for City to recover from weekend’s defeat to United that could end up costing them the Premier League title, but the Citizens have to man up and attempt to bring maximum points from St James Park. That could prove to be a difficult task if Vincent Kompany fails to recover from a hamstring problem, especially seeing that Gareth Barry is banned.
Clashes between out-of-form sides rarely produce a lot of goals, but I believe this clash could prove to be an exception to the rule. Both Newcastle and City desperately need a morale-boosting victory and that should guarantee us an end to end game at St James Park.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 5/6