Sunday brings an unusual double-header, with two afternoon kick-offs played out simultaneously and no late tea-time treat. Nonetheless, if we can keep up, the rewards could be great with Man City’s clash with Chelsea the headline act, backed up by a crucial encounter at St James’ Park as the resurgent Magpies and Saints meet head-on.
Our Dugout Discussion Chatroom will open throughout the afternoon’s proceedings to capture the reaction as events unfold.
The team news from the Etihad finds Roberto Mancini revert to a 4-5-1, with Sergio Aguero seemingly leading the line on his own, backed by either David Silva or Yaya Toure from the middle of the park. Jack Rodwell starts in a midfield five, with Javi Garcia also in the engine room. Skipper Vincent Kompany fails to make it, so Kolo Toure partners Matija Nastasic in central defence. It’s another 4-3-2-1 from Chelsea, with Demba Ba back to lead the attack as Fernando Torres makes way. The back four is much-changed once again, with Ashley Cole returning, David Luiz replacing John Terry alongside Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic moving to right-back. That means no start for Cesar Azpilicueta: another popular Fantasy target left frustrated this weekend.
Up at St James’ Park, both Cheick Tiote and Rob Elliot come into the Magpies starting lineup with the injured Tim Krul and the dropped James Perch making way. Yoan Gouffran is fit enough to retain his start in Newcastle’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Southampton also make two changes in opposition – Luke Shaw replaces Danny Fox at full-back, while Adam Lallana makes a belated return to the starting lineup, returning to skipper the side at the expense of Jason Puncheon who drops to the bench. Jose Fonte makes a return from injury and joins Puncheon as a sub.