Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday March 29 2013
The Etihad Stadium
Back to the battle and not soon enough after Evertongate. The Stretford Gap has become something of an irrelevance. City owe the fans who travelled to Goodison a big result...
'The title race is over but that changes nothing as we should do our best from now until the end of the season. Top teams, even when they can`t win the title, should try to play well and win games. I was really unhappy after the Everton game, and I didn't want to say bad things. It's now in the past but I was disappointed with our performance, and with the referee's performance, that is why I didn't want to talk. I was upset.
'We had 22 shots on goal and didn't score. It is the same problem. We are not scoring enough goals to win games. It is a problem we have had all year, and we didn't play well.'
'That stadium's a difficult place to get a result, but we've got the players to do it. That's what we believe, and that's how we'll approach the game. I just think there's always a chance of winning.
'We were at Man United with 12 minutes to go, and were 3-2 up and didn't have as good a side as we're taking to Man City. So it's always possible."
'City have got a formidable side. They've had an indifferent year. Some would say they've under-performed, but so have we...It's difficult to win the league and back it up. If you're Man United, you've got experience. With that knowledge, it's easier to do that. City will be better for it next year...Mancini has come out and said it's over. I think that's probably to take a bit of pressure off his team. They'll want to get eight wins, and see where they end up. That's probably his plan. We won't get fooled by that.'
'We have to grow as a group and in terms of our mentality. People often consider that it's enough having champions in your team to win, but if great players don't form a united front you are not going anywhere. We need to learn to be more solid.
'United have played better, and being 15 points behind is too big a gap. The difference is they have won even when they have played badly and we have managed to drop points when it wasn`t deserved. It's a question of mentality. United have developed a winning culture over the last 20 years, but we are at the beginning of our project.'
LATE FITNESS TEST:
In the news and hopefully back in the team, the man that City's newfound success has been built upon has missed two months of Premier League action during which time the title has slipped into The Evil Empire's clutches again. He's narked Mancio by playing 90 minutes for Belgium during the international break but nobody will be complaining if he can lead The Blues to victory over Toon.
LATE FITNESS TEST:
A fine player capable of making things happen who has made a tremendous comeback from depression. The Frenchman can expect close attention from the City engine room in Manchester.
THE NUMBERS GAME:
City are 10 points and 20 goals worse off than at this stage last March. Ouch.
The Blues boast the strongest defence in the Premier League. Only 26 goals in 29 games. No other side has registered 13 clean sheets.
Newcastle's away record is dreadful. 1 win and 8 points from 15 trips.
The Magpies have kept only 1 clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League matches.
City are unbeaten in 12 games against The Geordies. That's 10 wins and 2 draws. Unthinkable a decade ago.
HEAD TO HEAD:
League: 54 City Wins, 35 Draws, 64 Newcastle Wins
League Cup: 2 City Wins, 1 Draw
FA Cup: 2 City Wins, 2 Draws 1 Newcastle Win
Total: 58 City Wins, 38 Draws, 70 Newcastle Wins
THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME:
Sa 15Dec 2012 Newcastle 1 - 3 Man City PL
Su 06May 2012 Newcastle 0 - 2 Man City PL
Sa 19Nov 2011 Man City 3 - 1 Newcastle PL
Su 26Dec 2010 Newcastle 1 - 3 Man City PL
Su 03Oct 2010 Man City 2 - 1 Newcastle PL
FORM LAST 6 GAMES ALL COMPETITIONS:
CITY TUBE: Manchester City vs Newcastle: Soccer Picks
BETTING: City 1/3 Draw 9/2 Newcastle 10Racing Post Soccerbase
TV COVERAGE: BBC Match of The Day
Neil Swarbrick of Lancashire 4th Official Phil Dowd -Last Season: Wolves 2 - 5 Man City CC -This Season: No City Games Reffed To Date-2011/12: 30 Games, 107 Yellows, 7 Reds -2012/2013: 24 Games, 86 Yellows, 1 Red.
Johnny On The Spot: Losing your last game before an international break is never ideal and Everton muscling City out of the title race has made for a downbeat mood across Planet Blue despite The Citizens continuing to maintain their status as domestic trophy contenders. Bagging a consecutive title was always going to be a tall order despite the decision to allow the squad to stand still in favour of facing down FFP regulations yet the faithful can content themselves in the knowledge that the club won't be going meekly into the night after failure anymore. I expect that sentiment to be proven on Saturday. There's plenty for Mancio's men to exploit. Toon are mired in an injury crisis and the statistics they are shipping do not bode well for facing the reigning champions in their own back yard. They have lost 8 of their last 9 matches against current top half opposition and have conceded 35 second-half goals this season. If City start with recently missing key men and score early, the job should be done with plenty to spare ahead of the derby outside the City walls next time out. City 3 Newcastle 0
all times East Manchester
Mo 08Apr 20h00 The Rags, The Swamp, PL
Su 14Apr 16h00 The rags or Chelsea, Wembley, FACSF
We 17Apr 19h45 Wigan Athletic, The Etihad, PL
Su 21 Apr 13h30 Spurs, White Hart Lane, PL
Sa 27 Apr 12h45 West Ham United, The Etihad, PL
Sa 04 May 15h00 Swansea, The Liberty Stadium, PL
Su 12 May 15h00 Reading, The Madejski Stadium, PL
Su 19 May 16h00 Norwich City, The Etihad, PL
City vs West Brom To Be Rearranged
Date:Friday March 29 2013
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