Newcastle and Manchester City will square off today in arguably the biggest and most tense match of their career so far.
Manchester City last week defeated Manchester United by a lone goal to climb back to the top of the table and need to win their remaining two games to be crowned champions of England, while Newcastle must win to keep their dreams of playing in the Champions League next season alive. Man City has an edge over Newcastle as they have not lost to them since 2005 and they have beaten Newcastle seven out of their last eight games.
Newcastle is enjoying a fairy tale season as they have a chance of playing in Europe’s elite competition next season. They made their case strong midweek by beating Champions League finalist Chelsea 2-0 in Stamford Bridge with Papiss Cisse the star of the show. His two goals are a collector’s item, the second a contender for goal of the season.
The Senegalese striker has been an inspired signing for the Magpies, his brace against Chelsea took his tally to 13 goals in 12 games. Chelsea is out of the top four race at the moment but they can qualify automatically if they win the Champions League.
A win for Chelsea will mean only the top three teams in England will qualify and as it stands it will be Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal. It will be a massive blow for Newcastle if they eventually finish fourth because they are having their best season in more than a decade. Demba Ba, Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse have been in the forefront of their Champions League dream.
After Arteta’s goal against Man City at the Emirate, the league was declared over by many football pundits as Man United rarely falter when they are on top of the table, but some few bad results, notably the 4-4 draw against Everton gave Man City the momentum going into the top of the table clash last week.
A Vincent Kompany header settled the tie as Man City moved back to the top of the table. Now everything rests in their hands as they know they need to win their remaining two games to win their first league title in the Premier league era.Mancini had cleverly deflected pressure from his team by saying Man United are the favourites to win the league and that his team is out of the title race.
The return of Carlos Tevez has proved to be one of the deciding factors as he has formed an incredible partnership with his fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero. David Silva return to form is also one of the major factors City started dominating and winning games .
Meanwhile Man City defender Micah Richards believes his team is in great shape and ready to claim the league title. He said: “In some ways it was easier when we were chasing United because at one point, we were down and out in many respects”, he said.
“We had nothing to lose and the pressure was off, but now we have two must-win games starting with Newcastle.
“The situation has not really changed that much because we needed to win our last six games to stand any chance of catching United and now we’ve drawn level with them but there’s still so much hard work to do.
He continued “They’re a really good side and I think Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are going to be a real handful”. “Newcastle like to play attacking football too and we always seem to play better against teams like that because it suits our style.
“We’re in good shape, we all want to play, but I can’t see how the manager could change a team that has played so well and I don’t know why he would want to, either.
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Gutierrez, Cabye, Tiote, Ben Arfa; Ba, Cisse.
Man City: Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Barry, Yaya Toure, Nasri, Silva; Aguero, Tevez.