Manchester City will look to get back on track after a disappointing week which saw them throw a two-goal lead at CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and lose to West Ham over the weekend, sending them 6 points off leaders Chelsea at this early stage in the Premier League.
The Capital One Cup may not represent the most glorious of cup competitions, but this is an ideal opportunity for City to pick up a morale-boosting win before their derby clash against cross-town rivals Manchester United. However, it won’t be easy against a buoyant Newcastle side who are now unbeaten in their last 3 Premier League games, including the most recent away win at Tottenham.
Almost exactly a year ago, City travelled to St. James Park in the fourth round of the same competition, needing extra time to defeat a resolute Newcastle side 2-0.
Samir Nasri and Frank Lampard are both still out for this clash, while Alan Pardew will be without the services of Emmanuel Riviere, Michael Williamson, Cheick Tiote and Papiss Cisse in addition to long term absentees Siem de Jong and Davide Santon.
In the last 11 matches in all competitions, City have won every single one of them at a cumulative score of 29-5.
Newcastle have never won the League Cup, and the closest they got to it was in 1976 as runners-up to Manchester City.
Manchester City – Manuel Pellegrini’s tactics
After having come under a lot of criticism for his rigid adherence to a 4-4-2 formation that saw his side drop points against CSKA Moscow and West Ham, it’ll be interesting to see how the Chilean responds in this midweek clash in the Capital One Cup. It is unlikely he’ll change formation – City’s 4-4-2 should be good enough to see them through against the Geordies – but it is likely he’ll pair Fernando and Fernandinho in the centre to provide a better shield for the defense than an axis with Toure provides. He’ll be looking to kill the game off early and maybe bring on some youngsters, and it’s possible Scott Sinclair will get his first start of the season. Another loss here will be a psychological blow to the Citizens, so this game is as much about Pellegrini’s man-management as it is about the players upping their game, something that’s been missing in this City side this season.
Newcastle United – Tim Krul
Alan Pardew will know that getting a result at the Etihad will massively reduce the pressure on him, so he’ll be hoping that the Dutchman in goal has a good day against City’s formidable attack. Krul had an excellent game against City the last time they met in the League Cup, with his numerous saves crucial to taking the Magpies to extra time, where they eventually lost. City clearly have their weaknesses, as this week has demonstrated, so if Newcastle are tidy at the back, it’s more than likely that they can catch their opposition on the break and snatch a victory against the defending League Cup champions.
Projected Starting XIs
Manchester City: 4-2-2-2: Hart – Sagna,Demichelis,Mangala,Clichy – Fernando,Fernandinho – Navas,Sinclair –Jovetic, Dzeko.
Newcastle United: 4-2-3-1: Krul – Janmaat,Taylor,Coloccini,Dummett – Colback,Anita – Gouffran,Cabella,Obertan – Perez
City are in a bit of a rut at the moment while Newcastle are not the easiest of opponents, but Manuel Pellegrini will have no doubt stressed the importance of a win here before the derby next weekend, so a home win looks most likely.