A League Cup fourth-round tie suddenly holds extra importance for Newcastle United and Manchester City after crushing defeats suffered at the weekend from which both will be eager to recover. Newcastle’s disappointment came in the most crucial fixture of all for their fans when an 84th-minute goal by Fabio Borini gave fierce rivals Sunderland a 2-1 victory. Manager Alan Pardew claimed that his players are determined to put things right at St James’ Park on Wednesday and provide their fans with something to cheer.
"All we can do is try to put our best performance out there, and hope our fans respond to that,” he told the Shields Gazette. “That’s all we can do. We can’t change anything else. The only thing we can change on the night is put in a performance that gets them out of their seats.
“If we could get past Manchester City, it would be a great way to put away the disappointment of Sunderland, but that’s easier said than done.”
Pardew has said that there will be three or four changes to the side that lost at the Stadium of Light, with the manager hoping to be given a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Chelsea.
Changes are also on the agenda for City boss Manuel Pellegrini, with one in particular gaining particular attention. City suffered defeat in agonizing fashion to title rivals Chelsea on Sunday courtesy of the latest in an increasingly long line of errors from goalkeeper Joe Hart. Pellegrini was less than effusive in his defense of the City and England No. 1 afterward and, while backup Costel Pantilimon was always going to come into the side for this League Cup tie after playing in the previous round, there is now a feeling that the place is up for grabs.
While City will still be hoping to compete for bigger prizes at the season’s climax, having gone without a trophy last term, Pablo Zabaleta explained that the club is eager to take advantage of all opportunities for silverware this time around.
"Last season hurt us,” he said, according to Manchester City’s official website. “We finished second to United and lost the FA Cup final and this club cannot accept silver medals. The manager always tells us that we have the squad to challenge in everything and that he will always try to put a strong team to win every game.”
Pellegrini is likely to use the match, as he did in the last round, to give an opportunity to some of his fringe players. Stevan Jovetic will be hoping for another start in the competition, while Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott and James Milner may also come into the lineup.
Prediction: If the previous round is anything to go by, it is Manchester City who are likely to make the greater alterations to their side for this Capital One Cup tie. However, City’s incredible strength in depth means that they can afford to make wholesale changes and still put out a team that would compete in the upper echelons of the Premier League table. With a potential combination of Jovetic and Edin Dzeko up front, Pellegrini’s men should just have enough to see off a Newcastle side that have been incredibly inconsistent this season.
Newcastle 1-2 Manchester City
Where to watch: The Capital One Cup fourth round tie will kick off from St James’ Park at 3.45 p.m. ET. A free live stream will be provided by beIN Sport Play.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.