Manchester City Vs. Newcastle United, 2011 English Premier League Week 12: High-Flying Magpies Face Tough Test

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew points during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Newcastle United at Stadium of Light in Sunderland England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Newcastle United find themselves in third place after 11 games played, but they run up against a tough opponent Saturday as they take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Newcastle United have made a flying start to the Premier League season, but will face their first real test this weekend as they travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City. The Magpies are unbeaten thus far in the league, but have yet to face as difficult a test as City are likely to provide.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew have made their rise on the back of a solid defense, which has conceded less goals than any other club in the league. Striker Demba Ba has carried the Toon attack with eight goals thus far. 

While the Magpies have been relying on solid defense, Manchester City have used their overwhelming attacking power to dominate teams in the early going. Yes, City have the second stingiest defense in the league, but also lead the league with an astounding 39 goals scored. Eden Dzeko and Sergio Aguero have ten and nine goals respectively and both are likely to feature in this match.

Manchester City are used to dominating in all facets of the game. Newcastle might have one advantage: the center of midfield, but only if everyone were healthy. Cheik Tiote is still recovering from a knee injury and the steel that the Ivorian provides will be dearly missed. Instead Danny Guthrie will likely partner Yohan Cabaye in midfield. Leon Best and Gabriel Obertan are also doubtful for the match.

Manchester City should be at full strength for this match. Vincent Kompany returns from suspension and the only "major" absences are Carlos Tevez (who is essentially AWOL) and Owen Hargreaves.

We'll have live coverage of Manchester City vs. Newcastle United in our English Premier League Week 12 StoryStream. For more on the Citizens, check out Manchester City blog Bitter And Blue. For more on the Magpies, head over to Newcastle United blog Coming Home Newcastle. For more on the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer.

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