LONDON (AP) — Newcastle could face a backlash on Saturday from an "angry" Manchester City as the champions look to re-establish their English Premier League title credentials after a first loss of the season.
In its stuttering title defense, City fell six points behind leader Manchester United by losing 3-2 to its neighbor on Sunday. Newcastle defender David Santon expects second-place City to still be hurting when they travel to St. James' Park on Saturday.
"They will be really angry because they lost — they'll come to Newcastle for a win," Santon said. "But we are angry as well." But City captain Vincent Kompany claims the team has quickly moved on from the derby setback and that no "psychological blows" have been left.
"The beauty of football is that you are always challenged, whether you have lost or won," Kompany said. "We all know the importance of the (Newcastle) game, but I don't do very well in bad-scenario thinking.
"For me there are so many positives that can happen if we win that game — I can't think of the other side of that coin. We have done it many times before and we need to get back in that mindset." Newcastle also needs to get back in the winning mindset.
The northeast team was widely feted after finishing fifth last season but is 14th, just two points above the relegation zone, after winning just one of its last seven games. "We're a good side that is under-performing, and there are reasons for that but we can't accept that," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said.
City will be without Gareth Barry on Saturday after the midfielder accepted a Football Association charge that he used abusive or insulting words toward a match official following Sunday's match. In addition to a one-match ban, Barry has been fined 8,000 pounds ($12,900).
While City has rarely dazzled this season despite sitting second, Roberto Mancini's side is still feared by Pardew. "They have an abundance of flair players and probably the difference between us is that," Pardew said.
"They can call on five, six or seven top, top, international flair players and we probably have three. So we are on a knife edge when they are fit and when they are not fit." And it is Hatem Ben Arfa's fitness causing concerns for Pardew ahead of Saturday's match, with Newcastle also missing the flair provided by fellow midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
"(Ben Arfa's) hamstring has a little bit of a problem and we're still trying to get to the bottom of that," Pardew said. "On our side we look weak with the injuries we have sustained." For now, owner Mike Ashley is being patient, according to Pardew, who was rewarded with a new eight-year contract in September.
"Mike has been very supportive and I want to look him in the eye with great results under my belt, but at the minute I can't. I'm looking at him in the eye and I've got tricky results," Pardew said. "He understands that and has been very supportive."
Arsenal is also in desperate need of a victory this weekend after a League Cup loss to fourth-tier club Bradford on Tuesday ended one route to winning a first trophy since 2005. The humiliating exit came after morale had been raised briefly last weekend by a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion that lifted Arsenal to seventh place, two points behind the top four Champions League places.
The dejected fans did, however, receive an apology from Arsenal's hierarchy at a meeting on Wednesday. "(Bradford) was simply not good enough and it made us all upset and angry," chief executive Ivan Gazidis told fans. "I would like to apologize to all of you, especially the fans who travelled up there. It was unbelievable support as ever and you deserved better. That is something we will work hard to put right."
Next up on Monday, Arsenal faces a Reading side with just one win from its first 16 league matches. For now, though, Manchester United leads the way, 15 points ahead of Arsenal going into Saturday's match against Sunderland.
Robin van Persie clinched the win at City with a late goal, his 14th since joining United from Arsenal in August. "Robin's a world-class striker and he's got so much to his game," fellow striker Danny Welbeck said. "He knows how to play all over the pitch and it's great watching him. He's not just a goal-scorer. There's plenty to learn."
Third-place Chelsea won't be in league action this weekend as the Champions League holders face Corinthians in the Club World Cup final in Japan. That gives Everton, Tottenham and West Brom a chance to tie Chelsea on points.
Everton heads to Stoke on Saturday, and the following day Tottenham hosts Swansea and West Brom faces West Ham. In Saturday's other games, Queens Park Rangers is still without a win as the bottom-place side hosts Fulham, fellow struggler Wigan is at Norwich, and Liverpool faces Aston Villa.