Capital One Cup Round 4 tie as the best opportunity to get back to winning ways.
Alan Pardew’s Newcastle saw a late Fabio Borini strike end their hopes of a draw away to arch rivals Sunderland on Sunday, while a stoppage time mix-up between keeper Joe Hart and defender Matija Nastasic handed Chelsea’s Fernando Torres the opportunity to slot home in an empty net to give the Blues a 2-1 victory.
Both defeats will have hurt, while both Pardew and Manuel Pellegrini will be under pressure to deliver silverware at their respective clubs, so victory in this tie is just as crucial for either boss.
Newcastle will want to put right an inconsistent start to their campaign as soon as possible, and they will also be looking to avenge their 4-0 opening Premier League weekend defeat to Pellegrini’s men.
The big talking point around this fixture, though, is whether Pellegrini will choose to drop Joe Hart after he added another howler to his Bloopers DVD collection against Chelsea on Sunday. Some will argue that it was not his fault, but it could also be argued that Nastasic had the ball covered and Torres was not posing much of a threat.
Pellegrini’s big decision now is whether he decides to drop the England goalkeeper and bring in Costel Pantilimon, who coincidently played all of City’s domestic cup games last term.
Whatever he decides to do however, Newcastle will no doubt be facing a strong City side with arguably the best and most illustrious squads in England to date. However, it could be argued that it’s the best time to face City after their agonising Chelsea defeat and their narrow Champions League victory over CSKA Moscow a week ago.
They say the best way to get over a derby defeat is to win your next game and, if Pardew picks the right team, the Magpies will be in a good position to take advantage of a City side who are not just hurting, but also making the Champions League their ultimate priority this term.
City captain Vincent Kompany will definitely miss this game out as he continues his recovery from a thigh injury, but James Milner, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic, Micah Richards and Alvaro Negredo are all in contention for a starting berth.
Alan Pardew has no fresh injury concerns, with both Ryan Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini both still sidelined with knee and groin injuries respectively.
With a quarter-final place and a genuine chance of making the final at Wembley in February, neither side will be prepared to pass up the opportunity to progress further on Wednesday night.