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Premier League preview: Newcastle United v Manchester City

Alan Pardew and Roberto Mancini share a common theme ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash between Newcastle United and Manchester City.

The two managers are both desperate to get their seasons back on track after recent stumbles.

Pardew’s Newcastle have picked up just 17 points from 16 league games so far this season and sit 14th in the table, having lost five of their past six matches.

City, pipped 3-2 by United in the heated Manchester derby on Sunday, now trail their arch rivals and league leaders by six points.

The early kick-off on Saturday looms as an intriguing tussle – Newcastle have won four league matches at St James’ Park this season, including a 3-0 triumph over Wigan earlier this month, their biggest league victory of the campaign.

City, however, are unbeaten on the road this season, having won three and drawn four on their travels.

Pardew has not minced his words when asked about the club’s slide, especially after Monday’s 2-1 defeat at Fulham.

“It’s no good having great performances at Stoke and here (at Craven Cottage), but not getting anything out of it,” he said.

“We’ve got to be more diligent in that final third defensively. We know the games coming up. But this is a difficult place to come. I think we’ve won once here in six years.

“It’s no tougher than Man City at home – you can’t look at them any differently.”

Pardew will be hoping Hatem Ben Arfa will be closer to full match fitness after the French midfielder was substituted early against Fulham.

Meanwhile, City midfielder Gareth Barry’s availability is in doubt after the Football Association charged him with abusing a match official during the derby defeat.

But City manager Mancini will be hopeful key defender Vincent Kompany recovers from the groin injury that caused him to limp from the field against United after 21 minutes.

It seems likely striker Carlos Tevez will start after being left on the bench against United, meaning Mario Balotelli would miss out after underperforming and storming down the tunnel following his substitution on Sunday.

Thu 13 Dec, 2012
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