Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Wednesday February 1 2006
City of Manchester Stadium
After a lively week off the field City look to do their talking on the pitch tonight when Newcastle visit Eastlands. Newcastle continues to be the club that make City look like perennial over achievers. This season has been particularly poor for them, although injuries have played their part in what has been a slump to the bottom reaches of the table. The Geordie natives are restless with demonstrations against manager, Graeme Souness, becoming common place at St. James Park.
Having said that; all is not sweetness and light at Eastlands at present. This game comes in the wake of Monday’s Joey Barton transfer request which left a majority of the clubs supporters disgusted with the player’s behaviour. Expect a hostile reaction for Barton if selected tonight.
As the Barton debacle reached fever pitch, City did manage to complete the signings of Giorgious Samaras and Matthew Mills before the deadline expired. Samaras goes straight into the squad for tonight’s game and should offer more threat up front than has been seen in recent games.
City and Newcastle both have reputations as attacking sides with poor defences, strangely; however, it is rare to see a free flowing game between the teams in recent years. If the 4-3 defeat at St. James Park is discounted, the majority of fixtures between the sides have been poor affairs since City’s return to the top flight.
Stuart Pearce has found himself sidetracked by the Barton debacle in the lead up to this game and has offered words of advice to the player along the lines of 'it's your mess deal with it'.
Wantaway Joey Barton is in the squad but may not start given the ill feeling he has generated this week. New signing, Giorgious Samaras, is expected to start with Darius Vassell moving out to the left to accomodate him. Onouha and Thatcher are both still out with injuries.
Debut boy with a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders. Here's hoping for a Trevor Francis like start at the club.
Newcastle are generally all over the place where personel are concerned. Parker and Emre are now fit but they are still missing long term casualties Owen, Dyer, Carr, Bowyer etc etc.
Loves scoring against City and is chasing his 201st Newcastle goal and with it the honour of being Newcastle's leading goalscorer in their history. So we need at least two goals then.
City have lost only one of their previos seven Premiership home fixtures against Newcastle. Earlier in the season we didn't show up and lost 1-0 at St. James Park. Last season at Eastlands saw another evening kick off and a pretty poor 1-1 draw.
Chris Foy .... One of the lesser known headline grabbers.
City v Newcastle? Which City will turn up and which Newcastle will turn up? A really tough one to call in my opinion so I'll sit on the fence. 2-2 draw with Samaras scoring on debut.
Date:Wednesday February 1 2006
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