Erratic Newcastle might need perfect football to beat City


THE pick of today’s football matches in the United Kingdom is the FA Cup quarterfinal between Manchester City and Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Ordinarily, the home team would be expected to win by a comfortable margin, with quite a bit to spare.

But this is not an ordinary match. Far from it.

This is a cup tie that has the potential to throw up an upset of huge proportions, and it may well turn out to be that way.

City will be favourites to win, just as they are expected to do in every competition they participate in. And that includes the Premier League, the Champions League and this season’s FA Cup.

Of course, the Magpies and their faithful supporters will have every right to think otherwise – and why not?

The FA Cup, the oldest and most celebrated football tournament in the world, has a legacy of dishing out upsets of all kinds and City will be wary of this.

They are the defending champions, having won it en route to their treble last season, and won’t give it up without resistance.

In fact, many see the Citizens going on to complete an unprecedented repeat of the treble, and that means more success in this cup tournament.

Pep Guardiola will have been satisfied with a point from last weekend’s league encounter with Liverpool but is unlikely to settle for a similar outcome today.

He’ll want to win this one and win it without much fuss. The Spaniard certainly has the tools at his disposal to do it, having assembled one of the strongest teams of all time.

The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, Rodri and Kyle Walker are the backbone of a squad that have proven before that they can take on anyone and beat anyone.

They will have to do it without Ederson today. The Brazilian goalkeeper is out injured. He sustained a leg injury in the Liverpool game and has been ruled out for up to four weeks.

Newcastle is weakened considerably by the number of injuries Eddie Howe’s side has had to deal with this season.

At times there have been six-seven key first XI players on the treatment table, and this weekend is no different.

The Magpies’ form has not been consistent either. In their last five matches, they won two, drew one and lost the other two. Those two defeats came in their last three games, which is not the sort of form to go up against a side like City with.

Howe will have to get his players’ focus zoned in, failing which they face a thumping from the defending champions.

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Manchester City skipper , Walker ,

   

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