Manchester City will attempt to reinvigorate a flagging season by taking victory at home to Newcastle. The defending Premier League champions could find themselves 18 points behind rivals Manchester United at the top of the table by the time they kick off at the Etihad Stadium and boss Roberto Mancini has already publicly declared the title race to be over in United’s favour. However, the Italian has stressed the need for City to continue to attempt to win every match, particularly with them still in the FA Cup.
The hosts will assess the fitness of skipper Vincent Kompany after the central-defender angered Mancini by appearing for Belgium in the week despite not playing for City for eight weeks. Key striker Sergio Aguero is available however after shaking off a knee problem but Maicon, Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards remain long-term absentees.
Newcastle may have one eye on their Europa League clash with Benfica in the week and with their Premier League place seemingly all but secured, Alan Pardew may look to not take any risks with a starting XI that will already be depleted due to injuries.
The Magpies are already missing key trio Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini and Hatem Ben Arfa with ankle, back and hamstring injuries respectively while a serious problem exists at full-back with Mathieu Debuchy (hamstring), Davide Santon (thigh) and Massadio Haidara (knee) all absent. Contract-rebel Danny Simpson thus looks set to come in at right-back.
Cheick Tiote will also miss out with a hamstring problem though his absence should be covered by the presence of French duo Moussa Sissoko and Yohan Cabaye in central-midfield.
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