The eagerly awaited new season is finally upon us. Refreshed after a lengthy break, revitalised by the arrival of a new manager and a quartet of exciting signings and raring to go in our bid to reclaim the Premier League title, the campaign starts at home to Newcastle.
Manuel Pellegrini’s first team selection should hold no great surprises. The four additions were all added swiftly and have had time to adapt, and while Jesus Navas – 9/1 to open the scoring with Paddy Power – and Stevan Jovetic haven’t featured extensively over the course of pre-season, they’re both in contention to make their debuts. Injury-wise, only Matija Nastasic is sidelined, thus handing Joleon Lescott a likely opportunity at the heart of defence, while Sergio Aguero, although back fully training, is not expected to be named in the starting eleven after niggly injuries disrupted his pre-season.
Pablo Zabaleta faces a fight from the fit-again Micah Richards for the right-back berth, but the Argentinean, after such a consistent season last year, can expect to be given the nod on Monday. Gael Clichy should see off limited competition from Aleks Kolarov, while Fernandinho will handed the opportunity to show off his all-action game in the heart of midfield. If Pellegrini is slightly hesitant about throwing in too many debutants, James Milner could feature in an attacking midfield role, perhaps at the expense of either Navas or Jovetic, while Edin Dzeko, who is 5/1 to score the opening goal of the game with William Hill, and Alvaro Negredo have both seemed particularly sharp in attack.
Here is the side Pellegrini could select:
Referee: Andre Marriner – One of the most highly regarded officials, he took charge of City on four occasions last season, one of which was the harrowing FA Cup final defeat to Wigan.
Prediction: MAN CITY 3 – 1 Newcastle – A brand new season and the optimism that surrounds the club at the moment will hopefully manifest itself with a lively display. Goals to be scored by Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo, Sergio Aguero and Hatem Ben Arfa.
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