Having failed to kick on thanks to a lack of squad strengthening last term, it seems Newcastle will be condemned to relive their 2012/13 turmoil thanks to another season of transfer window inertia. By contrast the Citizens have strengthened and should be too good for the poor-travelling Magpies at the Etihad.
It must seem like an eternity ago that Newcastle were heralded for their scouting nous as they unearthed the likes of Chieck Tiote and Yohan Cabaye. The 2013/14 season is already underway and the only players Joe Kinnear has purloined thus far are the 17-year-old Oliver Kemen and QPR loan-signing Loic Remy, who will be injured until September.
Beneath this cloud of underwhelmingness they arrive in Manchester for their season opener and their hosts – who have conducted their transfer business in exemplary fashion this term – are unavoidable in the match betting at 13/50.
Five of their six meetings (the last five) with Newcastle since the Magpies gained promotion back to the Premier League in 2010/11 have yielded victory by a margin of two goals and given their summer attacking blood transfusion they can be backed to defy a -2 goal handicap at 9/5.
Newcastle’s problems on the road last term are another reason to oppose them here, with just two league away wins in 2012/13 and the division’s fourth worst goals against column.
They visit a ground where Manuel Pellegrini’s men were rock solid, conceding just 15 times suggesting the travelling Toon Army may have to wait a while longer for some less miserable viewing.
City’s summer attacking splurge will be the envy of Alan Pardew, who has just Papiss Cisse and Shola Ameobi to consider in terms of frontline strikers and Alvaro Negredo in particular has already got his feet firmly under the goalscoring table for his new club, notching against Bayern Munich and Arsenal in their last two pre-season games.
Having signed off his Sevilla career with a four-goal salvo against Valencia it’s well worth taking the 3/1 on offer about the new-signing to score the game’s opener, with Bwin refunding single bets on the market if City notch twice in the first half.