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Manchester City will travel to the North East of England on Sunday as they begin the defence of their title away to Newcastle.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men have been somewhat low-key over the summer with UEFA’s financial fair play restrictions meaning that it has been a case of stick not twist.
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That said there has been some changes in personnel at the Etihad. Bacary Sagna and Willy Caballero both arrived on free transfers from Arsenal and Malaga while Fernando and Elquim Mangala both ensured that the £50m net spending restriction would be tested.
The loan capture of Frank Lampard from New York City completed the comings in while to date Javi Garcai’s move to Russia and the sale of Jack Rodwell to Sunderland for £10 million has been the most high profile departures.
Of those signed, Fernando looks the most likely starter with Sagna, Caballero and Lampard set to be on the bench. Mangala meanwhile only arrived at the club on Monday following his protracted £32million move from Porto so is unlikely to feature.
Sergio Aguero meanwhile is hopeful of shaking off a groin strain to lead the line. The Argentine will partner one of Edin Dzeko or in-form Stevan Jovetic up front with Alvaro Negredo ruled till the middle of September through injury.
Newcastle meanwhile lost 2-0 when they last welcomed City to St James’ Park and with no goals in three of their last four opening games not to mention a winless streak stretching to 16 games in all competitions against Sunday’s visitors the odds will be against them.
In addition to the statistics not being in their favour, the club suffered a further blow with the news that Siem De Jong will miss out.
The former Ajax man has failed to recover from the foot problem he picked up during pre-season.
De Jong will be joined on the sidelines by fellow midfielder Cheick Tiote, who is nursing a hamstring strain while full-back Davide Santon also misses out.
Papiss Cisse is back in training after the knee injury he suffered last season but he is so way off a return to first team action.
Sumer signing Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere will make their debuts for the Magpies.