Date: 2nd January 2008 at 4:25pm
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City travel to St James Park knowing that a win is needed to keep City at the top of the UEFA pile as they slipped down to seventh after the rest of the new year fixtures.

Vital Quotes:

Sven on Elano: ‘We must be careful with Elano,’ warned the Swede.

‘He is not 100 per cent fit and has not been for some time, which is a real pity for us.

‘He had to travel a lot for internationals and then got injured, so we will have to monitor him carefully.

‘He is an important player for us and we will not take any risks with him at all.’

Sven then talks about Sam Alladyce: ‘Every time you have a team or a club which is not doing exactly what the fans and media expect, the pressure is there,’ he said.

‘I think we have to live with that.

‘I don’t know how much pressure Sam Allardyce is under but I do know he has a very thick skin and I don’t think anyone will break him down.

‘Everyone knows he is a good manager and if they give him time, I know he will change things for Newcastle.

‘I am quite sure he is the right man for that big job.’

Newcastle United FC Team News:

Full-back Stephen Carr is available after overcoming a hamstring problem.

Abdoulaye Faye should play for Magpies

Newcastle striker Alan Smith is a major doubt as he recovers from concussion but Michael Owen could return after recovering from a thigh injury.

Midfielder Joey Barton will not play after being remanded in custody on charges of common assault and affray.

Player to watch: Michael Owen

Should he play he always scores against City at an unerring rate.

Manchester City FC Team News:

Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Elano may find himself on the bench with with fellow countryman Geovanni among the potential replacements.

Michael Johnson is out but Emile Mpenza could return from a muscle problem.

Player to watch: Martin Petrov

He gave the geordies a hard time at the City of Manchester Stadium in September, I expect he might do the same this evening.

Match Facts & Stats

City have a poor record at St James Park having only won ten of the previous seventy two attempts, losing forty eight of those.

Newcastle have won three and drawn two of their last five opening Premier League fixtures of a new calendar year; they have not lost one since succumbing to Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2002.

Manchester City have only lost the first Premier League fixture on a new year once in the last eight; they went down 0-2, home to Tottenham in 2006.

Manchester City are vying for successive Premier League victories at St James’ Park, having claimed only their second in 39 years in last season’s corresponding fixture.

Ref Watch:

Martin Atkinson – City rarely get Martin for matches, but this will be his second for City this season against Aston Villa at COMS. I think he is a competent referee and I cannot recall a bad game he had for us.

Match Prediction:

City are unbeaten in four league games, I expect than run to continue with City to just edge it, but Newcasle to score thanks to Owen. NUFC 1 – 2 MCFC.

Next Fixtures:

West Ham in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup on Saturday 5th January with a 3pm kick off.

 

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