1 min Peep peep! Newcastle kick off from right to left. They are in black and white stripes; City are in sky blue.
“Hi Rob,” says Norrie Hernon. “I am overwhelmingly and totally, disproportionately encouraged by the Arsenal result. It is joyous! 2021 is going to be GREAT! In other news, what do you say to the theory that City have been ‘holding back’ and will now mount an intensive second-half run, otherwise known as ‘doing a Fergie’?”
It’s a persuasive theory, but it doesn’t really fit the profile of Pep Guardiola. I just think they’re in transition. They have enough good players to go on a demented run after Christmas, but I don’t expect it to happen. Even if it does, they won’t catch Liverpool.
The players stroll out of the tunnel, into the pouring rain. It looks vile at the Etihad.
“Evening Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Don’t know if you’ve heard, but just broken here that Jim McLean has died aged 83 after a long illness. A sad day for United, but what memories! A statue of him is due to be unveiled outside Tannadice next year, a fitting tribute.”
I hadn’t heard; that’s really sad news. Daniel Harris wrote an outstanding piece on him and Dundee United’s glory years.
It is pelting down at the Etihad. It could be a miserable, lonely night for Joelinton.
The 5.30pm match finished Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea. Arsenal’s young team were excellent; Chelsea were a mess and should have lost by more.
Sheffield United v Everton We’ll have goal updates from the other evening game at Bramall Lane. The teams are in for that one as well.
Sheffield United (3-4-1-2) Ramsdale; Basham, Robinson, Egan; Baldock, Ampadu, Osborn, Stevens; McGoldrick; Brewster, Burke.
Substitutes: Verrips, Lowe, Jagielka, Bogle, Fleck, Norwood, McBurnie, Sharp, Mousset.
Everton (4-2-3-1) Pickford; Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey; Doucoure, Davies; Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Gordon; Calvert-Lewin.
Substitutes: Olsen, Lossl, Kenny, Nkounkou, Coleman, Branthwaite, Gomes, Tosun, Bernard.
City make one change from the team that won at Southampton in their last league game. Nathan Ake replaces Kyle Walker, who has Covid-19, with Joao Cancelo moving to right-back.
Callum Wilson is only on the bench for Newcastle, whose team suggests a 5-4-1/9-0-1 formation.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1) Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Ake; Gundogan, Rodri; Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling; Torres.
Substitutes: Steffen, Zinchenko, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, Foden, Palmer, Aguero, Mahrez.
Newcastle United (5-4-1) Darlow; Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie; Murphy, Hayden, M Longstaff, Almiron; Joelinton.
Substitutes: Gillespie, Lewis, Krafth, Manquillo, S Longstaff, Anderson, Carroll, Gayle, Wilson.
Referee Andre Marriner.
Hello. It’s been a while since Manchester City v Newcastle United was a mid-table clash. But City’s inert start to the season has left them in ninth, five points and three places above Newcastle. Most people will still see this match as a home banker. Newcastle have had some good results against City in recent years, but all of them have been at St James’ Park. They’ve lost their last 11 Premier League games at the Etihad, a run of results that includes a 6-1, two 5-0s and two 4-0s. It has to end sometime, but it’ll be a surprise if it happens tonight.
Kick off 8pm.