Here we go! The Premier League season is finally away. I know that we got to watch a pretty good knockout tournament during the summer, but now it's time to get serious. 7 matches down, 373 to go.
The game tomorrow against Newcastle United will be a good one. This fixture from last season, away at St. James, had some serious fireworks. Between the disallowed Tiote goal and Pardew calling our man Pellegrini some unprintable things, it was a heated affair. By the time Yanga-Mbiwa cowardly hacked down Samir Nasri from behind, I remember just wanting to leave before more injuries happened.
Hopefully we can have a nice dull game where we put 3 or 4 past Newcastle. I think that with almost everyone available, it's not out of the question.
Man City - Alvaro Negredo will be out for at least another month or two. Eliaquim Mangala won't be available, having only trained a handful of times. Everyone else is at least a possibility, although I expect to see Sergio Aguero on the bench. I doubt he gets into the game, except for a possible run-out at the end. Manuel Pellegrini seems inclined to let him get another week or two of fitness in.
Newcastle: Davide Santon is still out with a knee injury. Joining him on the sidelines are Cheik Tiote and Siem de Jong. Other than that they will have a full team.
Projected lineup: Hart, Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Fernando, Yaya, David Silva, Nasri, Jovetic, Dzeko.
I know that Zabaleta hasn't really played yet, but I don't see Clichy continuing on the right side as he did in pre-season. Nastasic looked ok during his pre-season, but I think that Demichelis will get the start there. Fernando will play over Fernandinho, and the front four are all ready to go.
What to watch: Does Pellegrini play Jovetic up front alongside Dzeko, or does he drop him a little deeper? Sometimes we set up very strongly up front, only to be outnumbered in the midfield away from home. With industrious midfielders like Jack Colback, Newcastle can be a real nuisance and disrupt attacking play. If it were up to me, I would play all three of Fernando, Fernandinho, and Yaya, with Dzeko alone up top.
Pellegrini hasn't gone to that sort of system very often, preferring to keep 2 strikers up top. If we start getting overrun, I expect Jovetic to drop much deeper to help out.
Prediction: City 4 - 1 Newcastle. I think we get off to a slow start, but that the combination of our front four will be too much to handle over 90 minutes. Look for Jovetic to get a few goals/assists.