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Newcastle could have major say in title race, says Jamie

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 27th April 2012 view comments

The Manchester derby on Monday Night Football is being billed as unmissable and that's spot on, but there will be plenty more twists and turns following the final whistle at the Etihad Stadium, I'm sure of that.

Two-and-a half-weeks ago the title race was over. United had raced eight points into the lead following City's defeat to Arsenal and it looked for the entire world as if the Premier League was destined for Old Trafford once again.

Title decider?: Jamie says Newcastle v Man City could hold the key to where the Premier League trophy ends up

Title decider?: Jamie says Newcastle v Man City could hold the key to where the Premier League trophy ends up

The bookies moved Roberto Mancini's men to 33/1 for the title and no one, including me, gave them a hope of getting back into it. Three games on and it's all to play for, and that is fantastic news for all the neutrals as we head into what is arguably the biggest game ever in Premier League history.

Sir Alex Ferguson is the master in these situations and United are probably still in the driving seat because they do have that three-point advantage, but you sense they are playing with a little bit of fear all of a sudden and I think a few doubts have started to creep into the players' minds.

The onus is very much on Manchester City to win the game if they have designs on ending their 44-year wait for a league title. Personally I think they will come away with three points on Monday night, but that won't be the end of the story.

Jamie Redknapp
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It's not something that you associate with United teams, especially at this time of year when they are usually so strong, but the defeat to Wigan coupled with the 4-4 draw with Everton on Sunday would've knocked their confidence.

At 4-2 up on Sunday United were getting overrun in midfield by Everton and I'm sure if Sir Alex could do it again he would've added another man in there to help out Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes.

Instead they went looking for a fifth goal and looked incredibly open. Sir Alex eluded to the fact that the defence didn't do its job and I think Rafael was at fault for two of the goals, but I don't believe they had enough protection either, which is why I can see them reverting to five in midfield against City.

Problem

The problem he has is that Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck have looked formidable in recent weeks. They've started to develop a real understanding and if he is going to play five in midfield it will be most likely be at the expense of Welbeck, unless he chooses to play him out on the left.

In the big games in Europe Sir Alex has always tended to play one up top, two wide and three in midfield, and I can see him setting up like that at the Etihad with Ryan Giggs coming in alongside Scholes and Carrick, because a draw would be good enough for them.

The onus is very much on Manchester City to win the game if they have designs on ending their 44-year wait for a league title. Personally I think they will come away with three points on Monday night, but that won't be the end of the story.

They still have to face a Newcastle side who are playing the best football in the Premier League at the moment and are undoubtedly the form team.

People will say that the momentum City would get from beating United at home should be enough to beat Newcastle, but I don't think it will be as simple as that.

Alan Pardew's men have won their last six games on the bounce and have already beaten United at home this season. And in players like Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and, of course, Papiss Cisse they have an abundance of talent in form, so it will be far from an easy game for City, as impressed I have been with them since their defeat to Arsenal.

Partnership

Carlos Tevez's return to the team has undoubtedly made a huge difference - as has Mario Balotelli's disappearance from the side - and his partnership with Sergio Aguero is one of the best around.

Together they can tear apart any team and City look like a far harder working unit with those two up top than when they were carrying Balotelli, so it's no coincidence they have scored nine goals between them in the last three games.

We've had a great week of football with the Champions League semi-finals and this is another game to get really excited about because there are so many match winners all over the pitch, but the two Argentineans will be the key men for me on Monday night, and I just hope Mancini lets his team go out and play.

Until we see the two team sheets it's difficult to predict what sort of game we will get but Everton showed that if you're bold you can get after United and cause them problems.

That goes against the City boss' nature a bit, but his side have been given a second chance at winning this title and they have to go and grasp it.

Three points on Monday and they'll be within touching distance, but anyone who thinks that will be that is mistaken. There'll be more turns after this latest twist and the Magpies could have a big say where this title goes.

Comments (13)

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Ashley Eddon (Sheffield Wednesday fan) says...

After city beat united 6-1 everyone expected similar treatment at eastlands in the FA Cup in January, and look what happened that day, United played city off the park Think united may shock a few people tonight

Posted 15:12 30th April 2012

Dan Godlement (Leeds United fan) says...

People keep talking about united playing Man City? Well Leeds' season has finished, so there can't be a game. We're Leeds united, we rule supreme....

Posted 13:20 30th April 2012

Sidney Katukula (Manchester United fan) says...

I think SAF and his team should not be ruled out as he can pull a surprise in tonights deby. Man city are the favorites on paper but things could just swing united's way.

Posted 11:23 30th April 2012

Tim Rawlinson (Arsenal fan) says...

Why would Man City not believe they can win the title? They've beaten all the teams in the top half of the table and some of the completely destroyed i.e. Spurs & United. Once all the talking stops its 11 vs 11. Records/History etc. etc. will mean nothing. It will be how the individuals/teams compete and perform on the night. Neither team can be 'written-off' and that's what makes it such an appealing match-up. Don't listen to the hype, simply enjoy the match.

Posted 10:01 30th April 2012

Rob Hotchkiss (Liverpool fan) says...

City will win tonight, i believe by quite a margin. I also think City will win the title too, Newcastle are under to much pressure now to finish in 3rd with the CL finial being after the seasons finished, and look what that did to them at weekend loosing 4-0 to Wigan. I also think Sunderland will take points off United to. United's Arrogance will be there downfall. COME ON CITY wipe away that smug smile from the plastic united fans who don't even know where old trafford is!

Posted 08:07 30th April 2012

John Doe (Manchester United fan) says...

you talk one pile of codswallop redknapp, surely sky can get somebody who's at least had a successful football career i.e. WON trophies in their career to comment on upcoming games

Posted 06:40 30th April 2012

Tommy Fish (Manchester United fan) says...

Fergie reverted to five in midfield against City in the Cup with Rooney starting in the middle, and Welbeck on his own upfront. It worked a treat in the first half so I can see that happening again. It's the only way of maintaining the Rooney-Welbeck duo

Posted 00:09 30th April 2012

Euan Mcgregor (Rangers fan) says...

Although Man City have the better players, Sir Alex Ferguson has installed a winning mentality within the Man Utd dressing room. For that reason alone, I believe Manchester United will win the Premier League title

Posted 13:26 29th April 2012

Dean Willmott (Liverpool fan) says...

Newcastled are overated. The truth is they are the 8th best team in the premiership. What newcastle player would get into the city first 11?? If there was a player then he would be a city player by now. Obviously its not all about who has the best players wins. But momentum would take them all the way if they can get past united.

Posted 01:11 29th April 2012

Paul Rickman (Bristol City fan) says...

i agree with u jamie, i think city will beat utd on monday but i still think utd will win the title as i don't think city will get anything at newcastle, newcastle are in form and i think they have the team and players to shock city and hand utd the title.

Posted 21:52 27th April 2012

Gavin Hyland (Manchester United fan) says...

cant be many more twists after monday. newcastle away for city is tough but its unlikely they will lose there if they win Monday

Posted 20:55 27th April 2012

Shaun Proctor (Chelsea fan) says...

Man city to take the title, Chelsea to finish 4th, no pressure to win the champions league- 2012 champions league winners

Posted 18:11 27th April 2012

Peter Horris (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

I think man city are more feared about monday's match. I know city have the momentum going into the game and have been playing some great stuff i think they still dont believe they can win the title even thou they have cut the lead and could go top with a win

Posted 12:45 27th April 2012

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