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Blog: Sports Correspondent Simon O'Rourke looks forward to Newcastle's trip to Manchester City on Saturday

There are two ways of looking at this. There's the "knee jerk reactionary" view and then there's the "wake up and smell the coffee" view.

Let's knee jerk first. Newcastle United were better against Chelsea last weekend. Much, much better. The attitude and application was spot on. The tactics worked, up to a point, and certain individuals were much improved. Meanwhile cracks have appeared at Manchester City. They started the season imperiously, but they've stuttered in recent weeks. The absence of their favoured central defensive duo, Vincent Kompany and Eliquim Mangala, has been a major factor. They'll still be missing tomorrow. So why can't Newcastle make hay in Manchester ? Why can't Mitrovic and Perez run riot ? Well, no reason really. If your black and white glass is half full then head to the North West full of optimism.

Unless you choose to take the "wake up and smell the coffee" view. Newcastle WERE better last weekend. But they didn't close out the win. They've yet to win a league game this season. Manchester City HAVE stuttered recently. But they'll still probably line up with a front three of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne, which is capable of ripping defences to shreds. Basically, they're still Manchester City and they still start as favourites to win this match.

But whether you're a knee jerker or a coffee smeller, this suddenly doesn't seem as clear cut as it did a few weeks ago.

  • Watch Newcastle United Head Coach Steve McClaren give his thoughts ahead of the trip to Manchester City

Sunderland crash out of the Capital One Cup

Manchester City heaped more misery on Sunderland as they eased to a 4-1 Capital One Cup win at the Stadium of Light.

Credit: PA

Manuel Pellegrini's men responded superbly to their shock Premier League loss to West Ham at the weekend by scoring four goals in the opening 36 minutes.

Sergio Aguero fired home a ninth-minute penalty to give City the lead and the excellent Kevin De Bruyne made it two on 25 by finishing off a swift counter-attack.

Vito Mannone conceded an unfortunate own goal eight minutes later after Raheem Sterling's effort struck the woodwork and rebounded into the net off the keeper's back.

Sterling got on the scoresheet himself three minutes later and while Dick Advocaat's men grabbed a second-half consolation through Ola Toivonen it did little to ease the mood of gloom on Wearside.


FA Cup tie will be 'amazing' for Middlesbrough fans

Middlesbrough Head Coach Aitor Karanka says this weekend's FA Cup tie against Manchester City will be a great day for the club's supporters.

Boro travel to the Etihad to face the Premier League champions in the Fourth Round on Saturday.

The club also played against Liverpool at Anfield in the Capital One Cup earlier this season and Karanka is expecting another big occasion against Man City.

SAFC fans' forum anger

Sunderland AFC fans have taken to forums to talk about the late cancellation of the match against Manchester City.

"All the warnings were in place and what the various agencies said would happen happened. Man City chose to ignore those warnings."

"Just back home from game, parked up and walking to stadium when it was called off, conditions outside stadium were horrendous.""All things considered how or why considering the red warnings that were issued in the morning that game was not called off earlier is beyond me."

"So why was the game not called off earlier, I can confirm conditions outside ground were horrendous."

"As I said at 2.00 pm I'd be amazed if the match went ahead, why did the authorities wait till 6.30pm to make the same decision, utterly shameful late decision."

Disappointment after late decision to call of Sunderland AFC game

There was disappointment last night when Sunderland's game against Manchester City was called off because of the windy conditions. Fans took to Twitter to express anger at how late the decision was.


O'Neill dismisses Mancini "lucky" jibe

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has dismissed comments made by Roberto Mancini after the Boxing Day victory over Manchester City.

Mancini claimed the Black Cats were "lucky" to win the match after seeing his side lose 1-0 courtesy of a second-half strike from former City winger Adam Johnson.

The result was City's third defeat in a row at the Stadium of Light, leaves the Premier League Champions seven points adrift of league leaders Manchester United in the title race.

Speaking after the game, Mancini said: "I think they are really lucky against us at home because you can create every time 15... 20 chances like this year, last year, two years ago and you lose the game.

"They are very lucky against us. They defend well."

When asked his opinion regarding the City manager's comments, O'Neill said: "I'm genuinely not bothered about what Roberto Mancini would say about the team.

"I thought we were terrific today."

O'Neill added that City's Assistant Manager Brian Kidd was full of praise for his team at the final whistle. He said: "Brian Kidd was very complementary. He said about our players throwing their bodies on the line for the team.

"He didn't have to say it, but it was really nice of him."

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