Just when you thought all the focus would be on Manchester City’s slew of debuting talents, news shortly before kickoff has added new, typically Newcastle-esque spin on today’s game.
Amid rumors that Arsenal has launched a transfer bid for Yohan Cabaye, the French international has not been selected by Toon boss Alan Pardew. Newcastle’s best and most creative midfielder, Cabaye will be a huge miss for the Magpies, but if there’s any legitimacy to the rumors (and holding Cabaye out of the team sure lends some), the 27-year-old former Lille man could be on his way to North London, potentially breaking Arsenal’s transfer record. That he’s not even on Pardew’s bench is already overshadowing the festivities at Eastlands.
Beyond that omission, there are few surprises in either team. Despite bringing in Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic over the summer, Manchester City start two holdovers at striker, with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko playing in front of a midfield featuring David Silva, Fernandinho, Yaya Touré, and Jesus Navas.
For Newcastle, all 11 players were with the Magpies at the close of last season. Cheick Tiote and Moussa Sissoko will start at the base of midfield, with Yoan Gouffran, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Jonas Gutierrez attacking behind the striker, Papiss CIsse.
Manchester City, big favorites to win tonight, have opened each of their last two seasons with victories at home and haven’t lost their season’s first game since 2008.
Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.
Manchester City: Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Gael Clichy; Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, David Silva; Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko
Newcastle United: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Fabriccio Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa; Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote; Yoan Gouffran, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse