Thursday, 17 November 2011

Manchester City v Newcastle United

Thank the lord, the international break is over and we can rest in the knowledge that no one is worse than when they left. Just as well really as City will no doubt face a tough test when the only other unbeaten side in the league visit the Etihad Stadium.

Newcastle have shocked everyone with their early season form as they now sit 3rd in the table, just 1 point behind 2nd place Manchester United. Although you could argue that the fixtures they have won have been against teams in mid table or lower, the Arsenal team they faced was less than stellar, which then only leaves Spurs who they managed a draw against at the newly named Sports Direct Arena (or St James' Park to everyone but Mike Ashley.

This really is their first big test away from home, so how will they approach the game against City? Alan Pardew quite rightly says there is little point in parking the bus against City as you're likely to come away with nothing. With that in mind, they're going to come and attack.

Newcastle's organisation and consistency at the back have been a big factor so far this season, having only conceded 8 goals in 11 games. Ryan and Steven Taylor, Danny Simpson, and Fabricio Coloccini are the most consistently chosen back 4 in the league this season.

Newcastle have quite a potent threat going forward too, in the form of Demba Ba. Ba has 8 goals to his name in the Premier league so far this season. Leon Best (3) and Ryan Taylor (2) are the next highest scorers in the league for Newcastle. So you might say they have been quite dependent on Ba so far.

Talking of strikers, City have 2 strikers who have both scored more than Ba so far this season; Edin Dzeko (10) and Sergio Aguero (9). Funny that Dzeko has so many considering Danny Simpson labelled him as 'absolute pony' isn't it? Lets see how the 'terminally average fullback' (described by several Newcastle fans, not me) fares against him or any other City player.

The media of course like to make something out of nothing so the De Jong - Ben Arfa 'story' has been doing the rounds. Meh, not bothered, they're both professionals so will/should just get on with it if they do meet. Personally I'd rather see Simpson put on his arse after being torn to shreds by several City players tear-arsing past him with the ball.

City also see the return of Vincent Kompany, having served his 1 game suspension so fully expect him to take up position alongside Joleon Lescott, who has been in imperious form. They're certainly one of, if not the best centre back pairing in the Premier League at this moment in time and just exude confidence.

As usual, no game is easy and there are no gimmes in the Premier League, but City will certainly be odds on to end the game being the only unbeaten side in the league this season.

Twitter: @MikeWalsh1880
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