Having previously been drawn against lower league opposition in this season’s Capital One Cup, Newcastle United now face the daunting task of overcoming Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City at St James Park.
The Magpies started their road to Wembley with an away tie at League Two side Morecambe, whom they eventually overcame 2-0 thanks to late goals from brothers Shola and Sammy Ameobi.
The third round draw saw them at home to Championship outfit Leeds United, where a first goal in 12 matches for off-form striker Papiss Cisse and a Yoan Gouffran strike helped them on their way to a 2-0 win. Manchester City more than matched this form however, with a 5-0 pasting of former Premier League side Wigan Athletic at the Etihad Stadium in the last round to set up this exciting all-Premier League tie.
History would suggest that this will be a high-scoring tie, with the two sharing 22 goals in their last six meetings. The balance is however skewed heavily in City’s favour as they have won all these six encounters, scoring 19 and conceding only three.
They also are the league’s top scorers, having scored 21 goals in nine matches. In spite of their recent success against the Toon Army, the Etihad faithful have to be wary of their woeful away record this season which has seen them lose three and win only one of their five away games in the league. Alan Pardew’s men have also been in erratic form this season, and their 16 goals conceded is the third-highest after rivals Sunderland and Crystal Palace.
Onto team news now, where Pellegrini has few worries ahead of this encounter as he only has to make do without his captain Vincent Kompany.
Alan Pardew continues to deal with a defensive crisis as he remains without Fabricio Coloccini, Jonas Gutierrez and Ryan Taylor. Fortunately for him, however, centre-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa returns from suspension and might be thrown straight into the mix tonight.
Both managers have suggested that they will field much-changed line-ups for this fixture, so expect to see the likes of Sylvain Marveaux, Gael Bigirimana and Sammy Ameobi, who have been mainstays in Newcastle’s Capital One Cup squads. For Manchester City, the likes of Jesus Navas, Joleon Lescott and Stevan Jovetic, who was not even included in the match-day squad for the top-bill clash at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea on Sunday, may get a run-out as well.
T. Krul-M. Debuchy, M. Yanga-Mbiwa, P. Dummet, D. Santon- C. Tiote, V. Anita- S.Ameobi, S. Marveaux- P. Cisse, S. Ameobi.
C. Pantilimon- M. Richards, D. Boyata, J. Lescott, A. Kolarov- J. Rodwell, J. Garcia- J. Navas, S. Jovetic, J. Milner- E. Dzeko.
Will Papiss Cisse rediscover his goal-scoring touch, or will Manchester City prove too strong for Newcastle yet again?
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