Date: August 17, 2014
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle
Kick-off time: 4.00 pm BST
Manchester City get their Premier League title defence underway on Sunday with a tricky looking tie at Newcastle.
Newcastle’s form: W-D-W-L
Newcastle will be looking to improve on last season’s tenth place finish and if their new signings bed in, a European push is not out of the question.
Pre-season form has been reasonably promising, with good wins over Real Sociedad and Schalke, although there have been defeats against Malaga and Oldham.
Manchester City’s form: L-L(D)-L(D)-W
City missed out on the chance to win some early silverware when they were beaten 3-0 by a rampant Arsenal in the Community Shield. Manuel Pellegrini will not be unduly concerned, however, given that he rested the players who got to the quarter finals of the World Cup.
The champions will be keen to get off to a strong start, with tricky games against fellow title hopefuls Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all coming before the end of September.
Key Players/Team News
It has been a summer of change at Newcastle, with a number of new faces including promising signings such as Emmanuel Rivière, Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat (brought in to replace Mathieu Debuchy) and Siem de Jong.
The latter is an injury doubt, as are Yoan Gouffran and Cheick Tiote, but they could all feature against City.
After resting them against Arsenal, Pellegrini will likely call upon Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Bacary Sagna, Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero.
Alvaro Negredo misses out through injury but it will be interesting to see which one or two of Aguero, Edin Dzeko or the in-form Stevan Jovetic get the nod up front. Also intriguing will be the battle for the goalkeeping gloves, with new signing Willy Caballero starting against Arsenal but with Joe Hart waiting in the wings.
This will be a tough opener for Man City and the draw could be a touch big at odds of 4.0. The prolific Yaya Toure is available at 3.1 with 888Sport to score at any time but would he have recovered enough from all the controversies that transpired after the City won their title? At that price it’s worth the gamble.
Draw at 4.0 with Bet365
Yaya Toure anytime goalscorer at 3.1 with 888sport