Manchester City will welcome Newcastle United to the Etihad stadium on Monday night in Manuel Pellegrini's first competitive game as manager. The Chilean replaces Roberto Mancini at the Manchester club and is likely to give Premier League debuts to many of his new signings. City have been active in the transfer market spending close to £90 million pounds to bring in Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo. With expectations high at the club due to City having one of the strongest squads in the league, Pellegrini will be keen to start the season well.
Newcastle's off-season has been dominated by the news of Joe Kinnear's return to the club after a controversial spell in charge in 2008/09. It is believed that Kinnear has taken up a director of football role, but uncertainty over his exact job description, especially in relation to manager Alan Pardew, still remains. The pressure is off Newcastle as they are expected to be beaten by this City team. Furthermore, Newcastle have never won a league game at the Etihad stadium. Their next three home games against West Ham, Fulham and Hull City, as opposed to the City game, will give an early indication of their level.
Fernandinho and Jovetic should be handed starting positions on their debuts, while Navas is also in first-team contention. With Sergio Aguero recently recovering from a knee injury, it is unclear whether he is fit enough to start. Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko is likely to play in his stead, with Aguero and Negredo ready to come off the bench if needed. Pellegrini's only absentee is Matija Nastasic, who injured his ankle against Sunderland in the Barclays Asia Trophy. Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott will be the starting centre backs.
For Newcastle, their only signing has been French striker Loic Remy from QPR on a season long loan. Unfortunately for Pardew, Remy is unavaible due to a calf injury. Ryan Taylor is out for the whole season with a knee injury and there are concerns over the fitness of Jonas Gutierrez. A hip injury to David Santon might force Pardew to play 21-year-old left back Paul Dummett.
Where to Watch
Kick-off is at 12:30 am IST (Tueday, August 20) and live coverage is available on Star Sports, Star Cricket and Star Cricket HD.