How Newcastle United Will Line Up Against Manchester City
Unfortunately for the Magpies and their manager Alan Pardew, their opponents at St. James’ Park this Wednesday are big-spending Manchester City.
While Sky Blue’s boss Manuel Pellegrini has bigger fish to fry this term in the shape of the Champions League, the Chilean is likely to field a strong starting XI on Tyneside for the last-16 clash.
And with a quarter-final place up for grabs, we take a look at how the Toon could line up against their visitors from the Northwest.
Goalkeeper: Tim Krul
Though there may be temptation on Alan Pardew’s part to give reserve goalkeeper Rob Elliot a run out, Newcastle United No. 1 Tim Krul is expected to keep his place against Manchester City.
The Dutchman was in no way to blame for Sunday’s derby defeat at Sunderland, and his experience could be crucial as the Magpies continue on their quest for domestic silverware.
Full-Backs: Mathieu Debuchy and Paul Dummett
Right-back Mathieu Debuchy was one of the few Newcastle United players to emerge from Sunday’s derby defeat with any credibility.
It was the Frenchman that stole in for the Magpies’ equaliser, and his place in the starting line up for the visit of Manchester City looks assured.
On the other side, Davide Santon could be rested, with the Italian making way for Paul Dummett, despite the availability of Massadio Haidara.
The Newcastle-born youngster has featured in central defence in recent weeks following injuries and suspensions to key players but is expected to revert back to his favoured left-back slot.
Centre-Backs: Mike Williamson and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
With club captain Fabricio Coloccini nearing a return to first-team action, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew could keep the Argentinian fresh for the visit of Chelsea on Saturday.
That would mean a fourth successive start for Mike Williamson against Manchester City, with the 29-year-old likely to partner Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
The former Montpellier man missed the short trip to Sunderland thanks to his red card against Liverpool, but his return from suspension could see the Frenchman feature against Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Central Midfielders: Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiote
Given his current form, and despite the Premier League clash with Chelsea on Saturday, it would be hard to justify dropping stand-in skipper Cheick Tiote for the visit of Manchester City.
The Ivorian has been Newcastle United’s standout player in their last two games, and his strength and authority could play a big part.
Alongside him, Vurnon Anita is favourite to get the call. Moussa Sissoko’s form has been patchy at best this season and in the eyes of many, Anita was unlucky to lose his place earlier this month.
With some tough fixtures on the horizon, the Dutchman’s likely inclusion and a strong performance against City could ramp up the pressure on Sissoko.
Attacking Midfielder: Sylvain Marveaux
Sylvain Marveaux has been absent from the first-team picture of late, with the Frenchman’s last outing coming against Leeds United in the previous round of the League Cup in September.
But he could be drafted in to face Manchester City, with the 27-year-old an option to replace the rested Yohan Cabaye.
His invention at the head of a midfield three could be put to good use against the Sky Blues, but his lack of appearances recently has raised a few, as yet unanswered questions.
Wide Forwards: Sammy Ameobi and Yoan Gouffran
With an out-of-sorts Hatem Ben Arfa set to be given the night off against Manchester City, the door will open for the likes of Gabriel Obertan and Sammy Ameobi.
And after his impressive shift ahead of Paul Dummett down Newcastle United’s left in the last round, it could be the latter who gets the nod.
On the right flank, Yoan Gouffran’s industry and energy should see him keep his place, despite the Frenchman enduring a difficult game against Sunderland at the weekend.
Centre-Forward: Papiss Cisse
Papiss Cisse was handed a start in the last round against Leeds United—and he repaid his manager with his only goal of the campaign so far.
With Newcastle’s attack failing to fire over the past two games, Alan Pardew will want to freshen things up on Wednesday night, and Cisse could well benefit.
But while the Senegalese striker would welcome another chance from the start against Manchester City, it remains to be seen whether he’ll get that opportunity.