Newcastle seriously improved their survival hopes with a convincing triumph over Swansea, but they also need to win the rearranged game against Man City if they want to climb out of the relegation zone. The Citizens leapfrogged Arsenal in the standings thanks to an impressive triumph at Stamford Bridge and they will be looking to stay there after the trip to St James’ Park.
In spite of the heavy summer spending and the arrival of Steve McClaren, Newcastle United largely struggled for form this season and they eventually slipped to the bottom three. With relegation to the Championship quickly becoming a realistic possibility, the club chiefs decided to act and replaced the former England manager with Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard, too, endured a tough start to his reign at St James’ Park, taking just one point from four league fixtures, before finally enjoying his first win as Newcastle boss last weekend. The 3-0 triumph over Swansea saw the Magpies close the gap behind safety to three points and they now have a chance to leave the bottom three altogether by winning the rearranged match vs Manchester City. That appears to be easier said than done considering that the Citizens are playing their best football in months, while the hosts will also be under a great deal of pressure in spite of the comfortable win over Swansea. Even if said victory will do wonders for the players’ confidence, it is clear that this is not the best time to be facing star-studded Man City.
Rafael Benitez could have starting right-back Daryl Janmaat back from a groin injury, while Aleksandar Mitrovic and Jonjo Shelvey could be recalled.
The infirmary at Newcastle United is still quite packed, with the likes of Fabricio Coloccini, Massadio Haidara, Tim Krul, Kevin Mbabu and Rob Elliot are unavailable.
Manchester City will be disappointed not to have mounted a serious title challenge in the Premier League, but the Citizens have done really well to recover from a difficult period and they have been thoroughly impressive during the business end of the season. While beating Liverpool to the Capital One Cup trophy, Man City surprised everyone by reaching the Champions League semi-finals, where they will be vying Real Madrid for a place in the final. Meanwhile, they also did well to get their league campaign back on track, with successive wins over Bournemouth, West Bromwich and Chelsea not only cementing their place in the top 4, but also helping them leapfrog Arsenal in third. The Citizens will now want to remain there come end of the season and secure automatic Champions League berth, so it goes without saying they will want to win at St James’ Park. The impressive 3-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge will keep them in good stead for Tuesday’s fixture, and there were plenty of positives for manager Manuel Pellegrini in said match. While the back line kept the second successive clean sheet, star striker Sergio Aguero continued the bright run of form by scoring a hat-trick and chances are he will prove a handful for Newcastle United defenders as well.
David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Gael Clichy are unlikely to return into action, but there are no fresh selection worries for Manuel Pellegrini.
Captain Vincent Kompany is closing in on his return and he may be in contention for starting places against Newcastle United.
Key Factors to Consider
- Man City won 13 of last 14 matches vs Newcastle
- Man City won last six games at St James’ Park
- Newcastle failed to score in six of their last eight meetings
- Both teams scored in four of Newcastle’s last six home games
- Man City kept three successive clean sheets on the road
Newcastle United showed a great deal of improvement to defeated Swansea at the weekend, but they will now have much bigger fish to fry. The Citizens have been thoroughly impressive of late and we believe they will extend the excellent run at St James’ Park.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 5/8