Preview: Manchester City v Newcastle United

A second side in black and white stripes arrives at Eastlands this week. Only this time it contains Joey Barton rather than Del Piero.

Roberto Mancini will be looking for victory following last weekend’s morale boosting win over Chelsea. A repeat of the defeat to Sunderland which followed the triumph over Liverpool needs to be avoided.

City are currently more adept at putting up strong defensive performances and snatching a goal on the break. Fluent attacking football that overwhelms teams we are expected to beat is proving harder to produce. For this reason, the team will need to be fully recovered from the game on Thursday if we’re to secure three points.

Kolo Toure:

“We just need to be consistent in our results. Against Newcastle, it’s really important that we continue to show we are improving.

“Every time we face a big team, we play well, but every time we come up against a team we are expected to beat, then we struggle. We hope that tomorrow, we are going to change that.”

Once again it will be interesting to see which side Mancini puts out. Zabaleta is injured and speculation has suggested Boateng will take over at left-back, presumably with Boyata on the right.

This would be harsh on Lescott, who is no worse going forward than Boyata, and stronger defensively at left-back than Boateng. The German is also a more natural right-back and should be played in his stronger position while integrating himself into the team. If he does, then let’s hope he get tighter on Ben Arfa than he did on Iaquinto!

Up front the question of whether Adebayor starts will dominate. Mancini tends to revert to Tevez as a lone striker for Premier League games, but if we’re to get the best out of Ade then the manager probably needs to give him the confidence boost of another start.

Newcastle’s defence isn’t as strong as that of Juve and Ade could well find his first goal of the season. Mancini is likely to bring Silva and Milner back into the starting line-up after partially resting them on Thursday.

Gareth Barry looked a little jaded against Juve and maybe Mancini could go with Yaya alongside de Jong for this fixture. Tevez could provide additional energy and creativity playing behind the main striker.

Chris Hughton would probably take a draw and is unlikely to go cavalier Keegan against us. As a result the extra creativity gained from playing Yaya deeper may well be required.

No doubt Shay Given will get a warm reception from the Newcastle fans and it’s hard not to feel sympathy for him after Joe Hart’s mistake on Thursday.

Newcastle are proving hard to predict on their return to the Premier League. An away victory over Everton and 6-0 thumping of Villa have been mixed with home defeats to Blackpool and Stoke. Despite looking weak in certain areas, they have some hardened Premier League players in Barton and Nolan. Andy Carroll is the obvious danger up front and he will look to get the beating of Kolo in the air.

Roberto Mancini:

“We must win against teams such as Newcastle. We must not think that we can win only against Chelsea and Liverpool. If we want to go up the table, we must win also against Newcastle.

“When a team such as Newcastle or Sunderland face City, they will play more defensively than Chelsea or Liverpool.

“This is the problem. Some teams will put a lot of players behind the ball, and it can be difficult to find a solution to this.”

Elsewhere this weekend, Chelsea play Arsenal, Tottenham play fifth placed Villa, and United have a potentially tricky game away to in-form Sunderland. The chance could be there for City to move further up the table and tighten our grip on a Champions League position.

Blue Days line up (4-2-3-1):
Boateng – K Toure – Kompany – Lescott
de Jong – Y Toure
Silva – Tevez – Milner

Blue Days prediction: 3-0 to City.

Europa League verdict: Manchester City 1 Juventus 1
Player ratings: Manchester City v Newcastle United

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