Manchester City will be looking to surge back after a frustrating late goal saw their long home winning streak at the Etihad Stadium come to an end. The result from the Manchester Derby will have to spur the players on as they look to try to gain back some of the ground they have not lost to rivals Manchester United.
A six-point gap at in the middle of December is not so bad; however, if they fail to take advantage of their next three games, they could be as much as 15 points back at the turn of the New Year.
In speaking with his club's official website, Manchester City defender Gael Clichy knows it was a tough pill to swallow losing at home to United, but the only thing you can do is forget it and move on; he also believes the Newcastle game should bring optimism:
It’s always a bad result at home. We hadn’t lost a game for a long time at The Etihad, but it’s done now and the only thing we can do is focus on the positive things that happened during that game...
When you lose a game in the last minute though, it’s always difficult - but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.
We know what we did well and what we didn’t do so well and we have to try to avoid those bad points”
Newcastle away last year was definitely a turning point for us, they were playing for a Champions League spot and for us, three points put us back in the title race with United.I believe this year it is also a massive game, three points against Newcastle away would be a great result and hopefully help us to catch up with United, but the first thing is to play well and get the points for the fans
The Citizens were also boosted on the day by the announcement from central midfield star Yaya Toure that he hopes to end his career with City, according to ESPN:
I would love to end my career here. Nobody knows what the next step is in football and I believe that if you stop dreaming, you should stop playing football - but this is where I want to be.
There is no other place I would rather finish, and I want to continue winning titles and trophies with City. I believe we are just at the beginning of our journey.
Manchester City will also be without the services of Gareth Barry for the match as he has been awarded a one-match suspension for his poor choices of words to the match officials in the weekend Manchester Derby, according to ESPN. Jack Rodwell is close to fitness and could be a game-time decision to fill in for Barry.
With a strong since of pride and having learned some lessons over the weekend, the club will travel north to Saint James' Park in hopes of getting back into the thick of the early title race. The Magpies will without a doubt have plans of their own; Newcastle defender Danny Simpson believes that his side have what it takes to upset the defending title holders according to comments in the Evening Chronicle:
We have only beaten Tottenham at home and we are due to upset one of the big teams, so let's do it against Man City. We believe in ourselves, in the manager, staff and fans. We just have to keep doing what we are doing and we will pick up points.
City must come to our patch. They will be disappointed [after the derby defeat] but at the same time they will want to bounce back. We have nothing to lose, so we just need to give them a tough game.
I don't think City lose two on the bounce very often. They lost against Man United the other day. They are a good team for us to play. Some teams will think they are going to get beat against them, but we'll give it a go and the fans will be behind us.
However, the fans will be disappointed to know that another key player will be out due to injury as, according to Newcastle Manager Alan Pardew, Hetem Ben Arfa is not likely to feature this weekend. Pardew does believe that his side is certainly capable of more than they have achieved this season:
[City] can call on five, six or seven top, top, international flair players and we probably have three, so we are on a knife edge when they are fit and when they are not fit.
For this game we have a bit of a concern over Hatem and whether he will be available. His hamstring has a little bit of a problem and we're still trying to get to the bottom of that...
We're a good side that is under-performing and there are reasons for that but we can't accept that. We have to work and we are working as hard as we can to turn the situation in our favor.
It is likely to be tough match with the Geordie fans roaring their club to life all match, but City have won in hostile atmospheres before and will be up to the task.
Newcastle United Projected Starting XI: Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Michael Williamson; Cheick Tiote; Jonas Gutierrez, Vurnon Anita; Sylvain Marveaux, Demba Ba, Papiss Demba Cisse
Manchester City Projected Starting XI: Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy; Jack Rodwell; David Silva, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri; Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero