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This fixture cannot compete with the hyperbolic build-up before the Manchester derby, but with such significance attached to the game, the feelings of nerves, tension and anxiety from Monday night are all sure to be repeated. With the opportunity to lift the Premier League trophy now in our hands, this encounter becomes key. Victory on Sunday would leave City in an overwhelmingly strong position heading into the QPR game, but the Blues must not start getting too far ahead of themselves.
Newcastle have been an absolute revelation this season. Deemed as possible relegation candidates in the summer, they have surprised and impressed in equal measure with their consistently superb performances and have a fantastic chance of securing Champions League football. It will be a hugely demanding fixture though form is on our side, having been unbeaten in our past ten matches against the Geordies, winning the four most recent encounters between the teams.
With regards to team selection, Roberto Mancini must be tempted to name an unchanged side from the one which defeated United, though Joe Hart will have to prove his fitness after suffering an injury last in that game. Micah Richards is vying with Pablo Zabaleta for a place on the right of defence, with Nigel de Jong pushing to start in midfield.
Further forward, it’s hard to see any changes to the quartet of Nasri, Silva, Aguero and Tévez, though James Milner has often done well against Newcastle in the past and will relish returning to his former club. Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko can expect to remain on the bench.
Here is the side Mancini could select:
As mentioned above, the home side have been terrific all season and were formidable in brushing aside Chelsea 2-0 just a couple of days ago. Papiss Cissé is the obvious threat, having scored thirteen goals in just twelve games, and his battle with Vincent Kompany will be an intriguing one. The likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, such a creative influence, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye cannot be overlooked, so this is all set up to be a fiercely competitive and entertaining affair.
Referee: Howard Webb – He has officiated City four times this season, and we have been victorious in three of those matches (home wins v Everton, Norwich and Spurs). The last time he was in charge of the Blues was for the 1-1 draw with Stoke at the Britannia, when he had a poor day, missing lots of fouls on both sides.
Prediction: Newcastle 1 – 2 MAN CITY – Due to the footballing ability of both sides, it could well be an open affair but I’d back our attacking flair to come to the fore. Goals to be scored by Papiss Cissé, Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri.