With loyal servant Given on the cusp of leaving Newcastle after becoming weary of his shocking defensive cover, he will be hopeful that the Blackburn game was his last as a full strength Manchester City team prepares lambs to the slaughter.
Banned skipper Richard Dunne said of recent events: ‘We need a bit of spirit to get things moving, and the more people have a dig, the more you want to come out fighting. We have a squad full of good characters and people that can fight, for their own pride and that of the club. We don’t want to allow people to have an easy pop at us anymore.
‘I thought the performance in the last game was good and there were signs that we were coming together as a stronger, more spirited squad and hopefully, over the next few weeks, we will prove that.
‘It has been good having some new faces around. Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong joined us while we were in Tenerife and obviously the manager knows how good they are. I am sure they are great additions to our squad.’
Manchester City Team News:
New signings Nigel De Jong and Craig Bellamy are expected to start their first game in sky blue while Manchester City are without suspended skipper Richard Dunne who serves a four match ban.
There are no new injuries in the squad although Martin Petrov, Valeri Bojinov, Benjani, Dietmar Hamann and Michael Johnson are all out with respective long term injuries.
Player to watch: Craig Bellamy
Journeyman Craig Bellamy is always a threat with his pace and the Newcastle defence will have their work cut out for them with Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Steven Ireland causing mayhem around him.
Expect Bellamy to take full advantage of a feeble Newcastle Defence.
Newcastle United Team News:
Newcastle United are without the suspended Nicky Butt who was sent off at Blackburn.
Striking trio Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka and Shola Ameobi are all out injured.
New signing Peter Lovenkrands is expected to make his first appearance while City target Shay Given is also included in the squad.
Player to watch: Michael Owen
Michael Owen has a phenominal goal scoring record and although Newcastle look limp in attack, the deadly marksman still requires extra attention.
A special mention must go out to Shay Given, he is one player City fans hope not to be watching.
Match Facts & Stats
Newcastle United have won only one of 11 away fixtures this term as they endure their worst ever start to a Premier League campaign, picking up 23 points after 22 games.
Manchester City have scored seven times in three games against Newcastle United. All seven goals were scored by different players.
Mike Jones has only overseen five premier league games this term, handing out 2 red cards, 17 yellow cards and watching 16 goals hit the back of the net.
If the blues can keep Owen at bay, expect a thrashing. With a hungry and potent City side against a Newcastle side which has conceded 37 goals (only Hull has conceded more), I can see City walking away with three easy points. MCFC 3-0 Newcastle
Stoke away on Saturday 31st January with a 12.45pm kick off.