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Newcastle vs Manchester City Preview

Written by @Chadley_N for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

Newcastle vs Manchester City | Sunday 17 August | St. James’ Park | 17:00

Champions Manchester City start their title defence with a difficult trip to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United on Sunday as the new campaign kicks off. The Sky Blues have an excellent record against the Magpies having won nine out of the last ten encounters. Newcastle’s only favourable result came against City last year in the League Cup with a goalless draw at home. Newcastle endured a yo-yo season last term that left fans furious with the management of Alan Pardew on the pitch. City will be looking to make amends for their 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal in last weekend’s Community Shield.

To Win (90mins)
Newcastle 4/1
Draw 29/10
Manchester City 6/10

After a poor start to 2013/14, the Magpies then went on a run of seven wins and a draw in nine matches in November and December, reaching forty points before seemingly giving up for the season – winning just five of their final twenty matches and scoring only fourteen goals. Pardew faced boycotts, boos and banners on a weekly basis and knew he had his work cut out if he was ever to win the fans over again. He will be happy to put last season’s misery behind him and focus on the new season with his first game against the champions. Pardew has moved quickly to make a number of impressive-looking signings to strengthen his squad and challenge for a top half finish. Remy Cabella was Newcastle’s biggest signing of the summer for a reported fee of £12m. He scored fourteen goals from the wing last season. He’ll be looking to have the kind of impact that former French wingers David Ginola and Laurent Robert had on Tyneside. If he can reach those heights, the Toon will have found themselves another French bargain.

Fellow new signing Siem de Jong can play in a variety of positions; behind the striker, on the wing or up front. His goal record is good without being outstanding, but it’s his clever link up and team play that will have fans excited – he’s already been named Pardew’s vice-captain. With Mathieu Debuchy now at Arsenal, Daryl Janmaat will be a capable replacement for the excellent Frenchman. The Dutch right back started for the Netherlands in the first three of their World Cup games before being dropped, but showed he was a good defender and willing runner up and down the touchline. The man most likely to threaten City’s defence is Emmanuel Riviere; the versatile striker filled in admirably for Radamel Falcao after the Colombian star got injured for Monaco last season. Only 24, Riviere could take time to adapt to the Premier League but has the potential to develop into an exciting goalscorer.

Manchester City
City have been active in the transfer market this summer and their shrewd moves hint that they are taking their title defence very seriously. Manuel Pellegrini has added a few players to his team and is taking the axe to some of the deadwood around the club. The minimal tinkering the Chilean has done will keep a solid core of players, and enable the team that succeeded last year to continue their winning ways. The Citizens have added depth to their midfield with the likes of former Chelsea player Frank Lampard and Fernando, who signed from FC Porto. Fernando, whose nickname ‘The Octopus’ alludes to how the ball is constantly sticking to his feet from the many tackles he makes in his midfield destroyer role, should allow Yaya Toure more freedom on the front foot. Pellegrini has also added Bacary Sagna to challenge the outstanding Pablo Zabaleta at right back. The former Arsenal player was brought in by the club on a free transfer and is a great signing with his proven experience in the Premier League. Manchester City’s sixth and most recent signing, centre-back Eliaquim Mangala, could be their most important one. The French international, who signed from FC Porto, could slot straight into the starting line-up ahead of the inconsistent duo of Martin Demichelis and Matija Nastasic.

Samir Nasri, who was left out of the French national team, will be City’s main ingredient of creativity. No sane football observer would question Nasri’s talent. When he is healthy and engaged, the playmaker is capable of obscenely gorgeous displays of speed and skill. And his goal against West Ham in City’s Premier League clincher showed that the moment is rarely bigger than him. Manchester City’s standout player is undoubtedly Yaya Toure. The Ivorian scored a superb twenty goals for City in the 2013/14 season. His steady presence and prolific scoring papered over many of the hairline cracks in City’s foundation, both defensive and offensive. He will be an important player for City this season and could cause a number of problems for the Magpies’ shaky defence. City fans will be hoping to see the best of Sergio Aguero this season. When Aguero is fit, he is one of the most lethal strikers on the planet. The trouble is, as the Argentine national team can attest, he is rarely 100%. The striker scored seventeen goals in 23 Premier League appearances for City last season (twenty of them starts). It is not hyperbole to suggest Aguero could score thirty in a fully healthy season.

VERDICT: Manchester City 6/10
Manchester City’s excellent record against Newcastle in the league includes two 4-0 thrashings and a 2-0 win in the last three meetings. Newcastle will struggle to prevent City from doing what they do so brilliantly and that’s destroying their opponents with ease. The away side are tipped to come out strong and maintain their excellent head-to-head record.

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