| Wayne Rooney |
London: Newcastle could face a backlash on Saturday from an “angry” Manchester City as the champions look to re-establish their English Premier League title credentials after a first loss of the season.
In their stuttering title defence, City fell six points behind leaders Manchester United by losing 2-3 to their neighbour on Sunday.
Newcastle defender David Santon expects second-place City to still be hurting when they travel to St James’ Park on Saturday.
“They will be really angry because they lost — they’ll come to Newcastle for a win,” Santon said. “But we are angry as well.” But City captain Vincent Kompany claims the team has quickly moved on from the Derby setback and that no “psychological blows” have been left.
“The beauty of football is that you are always challenged, whether you have lost or won,” Kompany said. “We all know the importance of the (Newcastle) game, but I don’t do very well in bad-scenario thinking. For me there are so many positives that can happen if we win that game — I can’t think of the other side of that coin. We have done it many times before and we need to get back in that mindset.”
Newcastle also need to get back in the winning mindset.
The northeast team was widely feted after finishing fifth last season but is 14th, just two points above the relegation zone, after winning just one of their last seven games.
“We’re a good side that is under-performing, and there are reasons for that but we can’t accept that,” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said.
City will be without Gareth Barry on Saturday after the midfielder accepted a Football Association charge that he used abusive or insulting words toward a match official following Sunday’s match. In addition to a one-match ban, Barry has been fined $12,900.
Arsenal are also in desperate need of a victory this weekend after a League Cup loss to fourth-tier club Bradford on Tuesday ended one route to winning a first trophy since 2005.
For now, though, Manchester United lead the way, 15 points ahead of Arsenal going into Saturday’s match against Sunderland.
Robin van Persie clinched the win at City with a late goal, his 14th since joining United from Arsenal in August.
“Robin’s a world-class striker and he’s got so much to his game,” fellow striker Danny Welbeck said. “He knows how to play all over the pitch and it’s great watching him. He’s not just a goal-scorer. There’s plenty to learn.”