Manchester City begin their title defense on the road at St. James Park, live on NBCSN at 11am ET, or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
Manuel Pellegrini has begun the season with a very curious lineup, benching Sergio Aguero, Jesus Navas, and Pablo Zabaleta in favor of Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko, and Gael Clichy.
It’s especially surprising to see Jovetic in the starting lineup on opening day, considering he struggled for time mightily last season, receiving just 13 appearances – just two starts – last year. However, the Montenegrin midfielder had a bright preseason, and clearly had an impression on his manager.
Aguero struggled with fitness last season, despite his sparkling goal record when he was on the pitch, and so Pellegrini may be hoping to keep him fit and give him ample rest throughout the year.
For Newcastle, it’s another year, another French striker as new signing Emmanuel Riviere begins the year up front.
The 24-year-old came over from Monaco in the summer and was tipped by manager Alan Pardew to be “a player who can grow.”
Another new Frenchman on the Newcastle roster is Remy Cabella, a 24-year-old attacking midfielder who will be supporting his countryman Riviere up front.
The Magpies have not beaten Manchester City since 2005.
Newcastle – Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Anita, Colback; Sissoko, Cabella, Gouffran; Riviere.
Bench – Elliot, Haidara, S.Taylor, Abeid, Obertan, Aarons, Perez.
Manchester City – Hart; Clichy, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernando, Toure, Nasri, Silva, Jovetic; Dzeko.
Bench – Caballero, Boyata, Zabaleta, Milner, Fernandinho, Navas, Aguero.