The wait is finally over. After watching the rest of the Premiership kick-off their seasons over the weekend, Newcastle United finally get to take the field and start their own season. The draw was a bit unkind to the Magpies. Newcastle start on the road. Last season, Newcastle only won two games away from St. James' Park. To add to the worries for the opener, it comes against high-powered Manchester City, a club that many will tip to win the league this year.
But, as the beginning of the season has already shown us, anything can happen. After all, Aston Villa picked up all three points at Arsenal with a 3-1 win, and many lauded the brave play of Crystal Palace who nearly grabbed a draw at the death against Spurs.
The Newcastle team that comes out of the tunnel today should look familiar to supporters. The only real acquisition NUFC made, Loic Remy, is out with an injury until September. But, while there may be a sense of "same old Newcastle", going up against a team with the offensive power of Manchester City gives the backline a shot at redemption as well. The defense was bolstered by the return of Fabricio Coloccini last season. Now healthy, he and his defensive mates will have their hands full.
Up front, the loss of Remy leaves Papiss Cisse as the one true attacking option. But, Hatem Ben Arfa and Moussa Sissoko could join the attack as yell. Yohan Cabaye could provide a spark off free kicks, though in general, deliveries into the area have to be better this season. (EDIT: Nope, Cabaye isn't in the team today).
The time for speculation has drawn to a close. Newcastle and Manchester City have watched their rivals open their campaigns and will be eager to get onto the pitch this afternoon.
Manager: Alan Pardew
Line-Up: Krul; Debuchy, Taylor, Coloccini ©, Yanga-Mbiwa; Tiote, Gutierrez; Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Gouffran; Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Dummett, Anita, Marveaux, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Line-Up: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany ©, Lescott, Clichy, Navas, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva, Dzeko, Aguero
Subs: Pantilimon, Negredo, Milner, Kolarov, Garcia, Narsi, Rodwell
Match day reading: