As Mike Ashley once again considers what was gained by “Please Call Me Big” Sam Allardyce’s premature sacking – whose reinvigorated Blackburn outfit steamrollered a limp Newcastle 3-0 in their last league outing – Manchester’s Police and Transport Network must brace itself for a mid-week influx of some 250000 travelling Geordie supporters*; Robinho must reflect on a £320000 mini-break to celebrate a milestone which, for most wouldn’t warrant a trip to Pizza Express; and Colin Calderwood must remember to cancel his jobseeker’s allowance. It’s the big one folks!
I obviously thought I’d get to do a piece with Kaka’ (Italy’s Princess Diana) at it’s very core. Such is life. City fans must satisfy themselves with the £300million acquisitions of Nigel “Training Animal” De Jong and Craig “F**king Animal” Bellamy. Newcastle fans must be content with a refuted link to Ghent’s Bryan “Who?” Ruiz and the worrying news they’re “closing in” on crap French fullback (probably) Albin Ebondo. More bad news: Those Magpies lucky enough to secure a seat in Eastland’s away end (The Thomas Cook Stand h’pparently), will feel like a still besotted ex-girlfriend invited to former lover Shay Given’s house warming party. He looks set to sign for City in a £47m move, subject to an agreement over image rights. The news that 46 year old reserve keeper Steven Harper has agreed a new 14 year deal will offer scant consolation.
With the atmosphere at Eastlands typically less ‘bubbling cauldron’ and more ‘butternut squash allowed to simmer on a medium heat’, much needed fire(?) could be added by “Sir” Joey Barton’s long-awaited return to the club which owes him so much. Barton will expect fireworks on the Beijing scale. Should City’s impeccable support remain indifferent to his return, and we really should, expect fireworks more akin to a £3 Catherine Wheel which has fallen into a puddle (or an alka-seltzer, placed whimsically into a coke can).
The former Newcastle man could go some way to silencing those critical of his signing with a debut goal. Bet365 reckon it’s 7/5 that he’ll oblige at some point in the match. They’re offering 7/4 on Jo though….
Nicky “But I used to play for United” Butt, presumably out of boredom, picked up a red card last time out. He’s unlikely to feature. Expect ‘Key Man’ Joey Barton to take his place (His England cap wedged down the front of his shorts for luck). Beyond that I’m at a loss.
City will be without skipper Richard Dunne so Nedum Onuoha may continue in the centre of defence. New boys De Jong and Bellamy will both be looking for debuts; Bellamy the more likely starter. Steven Ireland returns to the side after a one-match suspension.
Micah “Rotisserie” Richards
“Mad” Pablo Zabaleta
Nigel De Jong
Other Team News:
Charles “Eyebrows” N’Zogbia bt. Andrew “Christmas” Carroll (a.k.a. Lurch) by T.K.O. in their midweek bout. Both fighters belong to “Sir” Joey Barton’s Huyton Stable.
Betting (courtesy of Bet365):
Man City 8/11
Despite the threat posed by “Galactico” Michael Owen and the likely presence of old boy Barton, it’s hard to see Newcastle getting anything from this game.
* probably voted “Most Loyal Fans on Earth” by readers of 4-2-3-1 magazine (formerly 4-4-2).
Many Thanks to Dunne’s Half-Time Pint from for this weeks preview