Carlos Tevez came off the bench for City against United last weekend. Image courtesy of Phil Noble/Reuters
Manchester City and Newcastle United both come in to this game on the back of gut-wrenching defeats where they gave up the three points by conceding a winner from dead ball situations in their respective games.
The Sky Blues came back from a 2-0 halftime deficit in the Manchester derby to draw level with United with five minutes to play, only to see Robin van Persie curl a free kick in from just outside the box as the Red Devils claimed a famous 3-2 victory at Etihad Stadium. It was another slap in the face for a team which performed abysmally in Europe, and now sits six points behind its greatest rival in the race for the Premier League crown.
Newcastle probably had the better of its clash with Fulham at Craven Cottage, but poor defending was to blame for Hugo Rodallega’s goal a half-hour from time which gave the home side a 2-1 victory. The Magpies have now lost five of their last six, and are slipping dangerously toward the relegation zone. Newcastle went in to half-time 1-0 down , and it has now been over two years since the Geordies came from behind to win an EPL match.
The one big bonus for Newcastle was the return of influential midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa from injury. He scored the equaliser, albeit thanks to a deflection which left Fulham ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer helpless, but he also allowed the Toon to control the middle of the park.
Despite the loss to their crosstown rivals, City still has a remarkable record in the league this season. That was their first defeat, although away from home they have had four draws from seven starts. All four of Newcastle’s wins this season have come at St James’s Park, but City has an outstanding record at the ground. They’ve come up trumps in four of their past five encounters Tyneside, and haven’t lost to the Geordies since 2006.
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