City go for 10 out of 10 – Newcastle Utd v Man City

There’s lies, damned lies and statistics, but if Manchester City could have chosen their opening fixture opponents Manuel Pellegrini would most likely have plumped for the Magpies.

An away win for the Champions today would make it 10 wins out of the last 10 Premier League games against Newcastle, stretching City’s unbeaten league run to 16 when facing The Toon.

Geordie cauldron  - Newcastle fans booed as Samir Nasri was stretchered off last time out at St James's  Courtesy @MCFC

Geordie cauldron – Newcastle fans booed as Samir Nasri was stretchered off last time out at St James’s Courtesy @MCFC

Pellegrini kicked off his managerial career in England with a resounding 4-0 Monday night massacre of the Barcodes at the Etihad last August, but his most recent experience with the Geordies was Alan Pardew’s raging foul-mouthed rant when he called the cool Chilean a “ f*cking old c*nt” as City won 2-0 at St James’s Park in January.

It was a tempestuous affair with a Cheick Tiote ‘goal’ controversially disallowed and Yanga Mbiwa somehow managing to avoid a straight red card for a horror tackle on Samir Nasri.

Back with avengence - Nasri, wounded in action, will be out to help City start the season with a bang. Courtesy@MCFC

Back with avengence – Nasri, wounded in action, will be out to help City start the season with a bang. Courtesy@MCFC

Unruffled and suitably chilled, the man from Santiago says he bears no grudge against the lout from London and, in typical Pellegrini fashion, prefers his stylish brand of football to do his talking.

Hopefully that can be achieved against a backdrop of mutual respect today, as both sets of fans join in 17th minute applause to remember tragic Toon fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney.

The pair were killed en-route to Newcastle’s pre-season tour of New Zealand last month, when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine by Russian separatists.

In memory - City & Toon fans can unite in paying their respects to tragic Newcastle supporters John Alder & Liam Sweeney.

In memory – City & Toon fans can unite in paying their respects to tragic Newcastle supporters John Alder & Liam Sweeney.

No doubt the travelling City support will live up to their well earned ‘Impeccables’ reputation and honour the memory of fellow football fans who set out to watch their team, but never returned.

Back to matters on the pitch, City, despite the loss of Alvaro Negredo to a broken foot and the non-inclusion of record defensive signing Eliaquim Mangala, are hot favourites to continue their winning ways today.

Alvaro's return - Negredo will be missing until October having scored his last Premier League goal against Newcastle. Courtesy@MCFC

Alvaro’s return – Negredo will be missing until October having scored his last Premier League goal against Newcastle. Courtesy@MCFC

Last weekend’s disappointing display in the Community Shield may well have dampened down new Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s challenge to start over Joe Hart.

Hart, who suffered a mid-season blip in form last year, came roaring back to his best before claiming his second Premier League winning medal in three seasons, must surely start.

Fresh from the highs of fatherhood – Joe’s fiancée Kimberley gave birth to their son, Harlow, this week – the England number one would have every right to feel aggrieved if not selected.

Big Daddy - Joe should be back in goal today. Courtesy @MCFC

Big Daddy – Joe should be back in goal today. Courtesy @MCFC

The exertions of the World Cup could see Sergio Aguero miss out on a first team start, 35 days after he shed tears of anguish as Argentina lost to Germany in the Final.

Carrying an injury throughout the tournament, he may be confined to the bench with the ink only just dry on his new five-year commitment to City.

His countrymen Zabaleta and Demichelis should return with captain Kompany and pre-season skipper Kolarov in defence.

The Legend returns - Zaba will swap the blue & white of Argentina for the blue & white of City. Courtesy@MCFC

The Legend returns – Zaba will swap the blue & white of Argentina for the blue & white of City. Courtesy@MCFC

New signing, defensive midfielder Fernando, will add steel and ball winning capabilities to the City cause, against what threatens to be an industrious and radically reshaped Newcastle.

With David Silva and Samir Nasri providing the flair, Yaya the attacking drive, Pellegrini will rely on Balkan duo Dzeko and Jovetic on his frontline.

Dzeko is just days from continuing the glut of City stars signing contract extensions, whereas Jovetic is as good as a new signing after an injury-plagued debut season.

Strikeforce - Edin Dzeko will sign a new contract extension and then it's 'Carry On Scoring'. Courtesy @MCFC

Strikeforce – Edin Dzeko will sign a new contract extension and then it’s ‘Carry On Scoring’. Courtesy @MCFC

It’s a measure of City’s ever deepening strength in depth that the sub’s bench will feature players of the calibre of James Milner, Fernandinho, Frank Lampard, Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Jesus Navas, Caballero and the soon-to-be match fit Sergio. It can only be seven at a time and that’s before The Beast comes back into contention along with Mangala.

Despite the imposition of UEFA Financial Fair Play sanctions, Txiki Begiristain and Manuel Pellegrini have been very astute in City’s summer transfer dealings.

Operating well within the £49m transfer budget restrictions, they have addressed a perceived weakness at centre back with Mangala– albeit Demichelis came good in the second half of the season – and an injury free Nastasic can hopefully fulfil his rich potential.

Transfer savvy - Pellegrini has a great pedigree with new signings. Courtesy @MCFC

Transfer savvy – Pellegrini has a great pedigree with new signings. Courtesy @MCFC

Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell have departed for a combined £23m and Fernando – an upgrade on both – recruited at half the price.

Previous big earners, veterans Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry have gone and the move to new long term, massive bonus incentivised contracts, means the basic salaries have tumbled…all good news for FFP.

Pellegrini is bang on when he says he has a stronger squad than last season to meet the challenge from, in particular, big-spending Chelsea, a more threatening Arsenal, a Suarez-less but re-stocked Liverpool and…no, I can’t think of any other credible title challengers!

Strong bench - When you have the likes of Frank Lampard on the sub's bench you know you have a great squad. Courtesy@MCFC

Strong bench – When you have the likes of Frank Lampard on the sub’s bench you know you have a great squad. Courtesy@MCFC

Confidence is one thing, arrogance is another and Pellegrini is wise and sage like enough to ensure his team never lose sight of the difference.

The first game of the season always throws up at least one big surprise – just ask King Louis of Trafford after yesterday’s swansong.

City will be out to bag a bird themselves on Tyneside and make sure the Magpies don’t pinch anything nice and shiny, like three precious Premier League points.

By David Walker

 

Dedicated to the memory of John Alder and Liam Sweeney who died doing what most true football fans love to do – follow their team over land and sea.

United - A Man City banner for today's game at Newcastle in memory of John Alder & Liam Sweeney.

United – A Man City banner for today’s game at Newcastle in memory of John Alder & Liam Sweeney.

A special mention also to a fellow City Blue – Stuart Hunt – who almost didn’t make it to today after a motorbike accident yesterday – speedy recovery fella 😉 #LuckyHunt!

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

10 Comments

  1. August 17, 2014  11:14 am by Graham Ward Reply

    It's good to have the Premier League back, and it's difficult to know what to make of this one. Our recent run against Newcastle is excellent, the very opposite of their North East neighbours, and I have a tiny nagging fear that run will come to an end sometime, but hopefully not today.
    Our options are huge, but I think we'll edge this one today 2-1.

    • August 17, 2014  11:31 am by David Walker Reply

      Good to have you back as well! I'll take a win - any kind of win - never take anything for granted.

  2. August 17, 2014  11:25 am by rob Reply

    Last time 2 clubs met, city won due to a few mistakes from the ref that altimatly cost us the game. I dont think there is room for that this time.I predict a win or a draw for magpies, judging from city's last prpreformance, I"d say its time.

    • August 17, 2014  11:35 am by David Walker Reply

      Mike Jones did have stinker - but then again he does every week! This hoodoo we have over The Toon cannot go on forever (can it?) but hopefully we have enough to take all three points today. I hope the atmosphere is a bit more cordial today especially as the City fans will do their bit in the 17th minute. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. August 17, 2014  11:45 am by Stuart Hunt Reply

    What a lovely gesture David, proves that we do have the best fans in the land and all the World

    • August 17, 2014  1:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      We certainly do! Sounding a bit like Laurel & Hardy there...

  4. August 17, 2014  1:46 pm by carole Reply

    Can't even guess what team will start today.....still so many doubts among the WC contingent. Hope Sergio makes the bench tho, if only to get much-needed gametime, if only 20minutes.

    Have a suspicion Joe won't play though. Doubt he's done much training this past week after the birth of his child and may still have his mind on other things...wouldn't be surprised if ever generous City have given him extra time off.

    Cue media outrage if Caballero starts!!!

    • August 17, 2014  1:52 pm by David Walker Reply

      True, there are so many factors that go on behind the scenes to which we are not privy. I'm a big advocate of Joe but in truth, if Willy keeps the sheets clean I'll be a happy chappy. I really shouldn't descend into the dubious delights of the old double entendre...but who cares?

      Thanks Carole CTWD.

  5. August 17, 2014  7:37 pm by Ian Reply

    Very happy with the win today, hard grind will have done us good, at least Pardew kept a degree of decorum. Very unhappy with his comments to Manuel last time particularly being born on exactly the same day 16/09/53.

    • August 18, 2014  9:35 am by David Walker Reply

      Quite right - you 60 year olds need to stick together - plenty of life to achieve great things, just as Manuel is doing at MCFC. Very satisfactory win considering World Cup hangover and a bit of ring rust. It should mean MP has a full squad from which to select - barring Negredo and depending on Mangala's match fitness.

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