Man City away, now this is going to be a test; and not just because The Cityzens have an excellent array of footballers, playing some of the most sumptuous passes, and scoring some of the most sublime goals seen in this country for decades.  It’s going to be a test because it’s a late afternoon kick-off and we’re staying over, so it’s an all-dayer & all-nighter drinking – and at 46 years old, that can be a problem, even for a seasoned professional with consummate range.

As with the modern game of football, drinking is also all about pace.  Man City have pace in abundance.  I no longer have any at all, and if end product is also factored in – NUFC have nowt either.  We can all drink, but with age, this isn’t likely to be fast, and not in big volumes, due to bladder issues.

However, now is an excellent time to be playing Man City – as they are on a frightful losing streak of a whole game; well, a second half of a game.  The rot has set in?  Their title challenge is de-railed?  Man City fans must be pulling their hair out and demanding more £50million defenders to shore up a defence which leaked a whole 4 goals in under 70 minutes.  It’s January, and Jonny Evans is available ‘for the price of a hospital wing’ (to misquote Del Amitri, ask yer soft rocking Dad).  Man City’s owners have the wealth to buy anyone – if only our owner did too, oh, he does?  Bastard.

A score-line of ‘4-3 at Anfield’ sends a cold shiver of pain down the spine of all loyal to the Black & White cause.  Daddy Newcastle fans still tell Baby Newcastle fans the horror story of that fateful night in ’96 when the Demon Collymore, and his lowlife band of ne’er do wells, clad in blood red, with daft looking, thick white collars, struck a blow against all that was fair & righteous in the world.  Mythology tells us we fucked the league that night, however that just was one of many daggers that season.  Enough of ghosts though – this is a preview, not a review.

Man City – should last Sunday’s ‘Anfield 4-3’ be their only hic-cup this season, will likely rue that score-line too, as it thwarted a season of ‘Invincibility’ – but, barring 15 miracle games, Man City will have a shiny pot to piss in come May and any nightmares of Anfield will not keep them awake decades later.

NUFC, alternatively, are the kings of having no ‘pot to piss in’; and likely often forgetting to pull down the zip, being recurrent victims of their own incompetence, and metaphorically standing there in shit sports-wear stinking of wee – yes, that is what we look like to the outside world when we get relegated, again.

I have no idea who Man City will select, but every player will have been hand-picked and will cost more than their opposite number in black & white, and in many cases our whole unit – be it defence, midfield or attack.

I saw very little in our limp 1-1 at SJP against Swansea to suggest we are anything other than cannon fodder for the game against Man City.  Admittedly, if we had taken our first half chances at the Leazes End we could have been home and hosed by half-time, but we didn’t, that’s football and the Gods decree that the opposition has to play better second half and score that first goal.  They did, and they did, and it was only the slowest of ‘worm-burners’ which got us back on level terms.  But we did get back, and thus we have some fight & bottle in there somewhere.

Prediction wise: I’d have to say that two 4-3 defeats in a row for the Light Blues is unlikely, especially as it appears they last lost at home when Harry Redknapp was hiding his school lunch money from bullies.  Furthermore NUFC take a month or so to score that many.  However all runs have to end, so, perhaps if you like throwing away money, a £1 on the 3-4 away win result can be found as long as 500-1.

I’d love to see us at least level at h/t, and that isn’t impossible, it’s just very improbable.  ‘Head’ says mild humping of 3-0/4-0, goals either side of half time.  ‘Heart’ says battling performance, Sterling sent off on 16mins for a dive and second yellow, their keeper goes on 24mins for deliberate handball, 9-men Man City continue to have over 80% possession until injury time when a Stones OG wins it for the Toon on 94mins.

But to be safe, put your money on home win to zero (just under evens), and my hangover being a fucker to shift all Sunday morning – made worse by a slow drive home in a car full of beer farts.

Castle Farm Mag (occasional contributor)