On February 21st, Newcastle United travel to the Etihad to take on Manchester City. The two sides have very different goals for this season, but they would both love three more points to add to their tally. Manchester City can’t afford to drop too many more points if they are to stay in the Premier League title race. Basically, every game City should win is a must win at this point. Newcastle are unbeaten in their last three matches after losing their previous three. Having already beaten Chelsea this season in the league and already beaten City in the Capital One Cup, the Magpies would love to take yet another big scalp. At this point in the season, every game is a big game, so both teams will be looking for those three precious points.
Manchester City have no one out with injury at he moment. Now with Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony back, Manuel Pellegrini has a fully fit squad. Newcastle on the other hand have lots of players out through injury. Remy Cabella, Rolando Aarons, and Sammy Ameobi are all injury doubts for Saturday. They are also without Cheick Tiote, Paul Dummett, Steven Taylor, Rob Elliot, and Siem De Jong who all have long term injuries.
Newcastle actually beat Manchester City at the Etihad earlier this season 2-0 in the Capital One Cup. In the league on the other hand, Newcastle are win less in their last 16 matches against Manchester City. Each of the last two league meetings at the Etihad have ended 4-0 to City. Newcastle have not scored in the two teams last four meetings. Newcastle have lost by two or more goals in the last eight league meetings.
Manchester City: Yaya Toure
For all the criticism that Yaya Toure came over early in the season when it looked like he wasn’t giving 100%, Manchester City sure did miss him when he was at the African Cup of Nations. City went win less in their first four matches when Toure was on international duty. Toure gives City a threat from deep that Fernando and Fernandinho just can’t provide. He is usually City’s hub deep in midfield controlling the game. He can also draw attention away from Sergio Aguero and David Silva. Now that the big Ivorian is back with an African Cup of Nations winners medal, City should be the better for it.
Newcastle United: Ayoze Perez
In what has been quite a bland season for Newcastle, one big bright spot has been the promise of Ayoze Perez. Newcastle bought the Spaniard from Tenerife over the summer for €2m and that seems to have been a bargain. The Spaniard has shown some real promise for the Magpies. He hasn’t scored goals week in week out, but he has shown some real ability that can help Newcastle won valuable points.
I don’t see much hope for Newcastle in this one. City can be somewhat inconsistent at times, but, with Yaya Toure back, I’d be shocked if they drop points here. City have Newcastle’s number and are just the more talented team.
Prediction: 3-1 Manchester City