'Manchester City must beware Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa' - Antoine Sibierski picks key battles for clash between former clubs

The ex-striker is backing friend Yohan Cabaye to excel in England but knows that getting the better of Yaya Toure will be a tall order for his fellow Frenchman
By Rob Stewart

Former Manchester City and Newcastle United forward Antoine Sibierski is relishing the prospect of Saturday's Premier League showdown between the last of the top flight's unbeaten clubs at the Etihad Stadium.

Pacesetters City have scored freely up and down the country this season but their attacking prowess will be put to the test by a Newcastle defence that is proving to be uncharacteristically stingy.

Speaking exclusively to Goal.com, Sibierski has given his thoughts on where Saturday's match could be won and lost...

Sergio Aguero vs Fabricio Coloccini

"Newcastle have been brilliant since the start of the season and that is mainly down to them having the best defence in the league which is due to Fabricio Coloccini and they will be up against the best attacking team in the country so this should be a fantastic, exciting game.

"I know Newcastle fans love their centre-forwards but they appreciate just how much their skipper, Coloccini, has done for them because he is calm and reads the game really well and his intelligence will be vital if they are to stop Sergio Aguero.

"Obviously the pair of them know each other from the Argentina team so Coloccini will have a bit of inside knowledge to pass on to his team, but they need to keep a close eye on him because he has a terrific shot on him and seems to have a habit of being in the right place at the right time.

"Coloccini will want to get back into the Argentina squad and there would be no better way to show what he can do by keeping Aguero off the scoresheet."

Gareth Barry v Hatem Ben Arfa

"No-one will need reminding of the fact that Hatem Ben Arfa was badly injured in this game last season when he broke his leg, but I do not think that will make him afraid of this game although the incident involving Nigel de Jong will be at the back of his mind.

"I know him from France and he is a very good player and it is just a shame for Newcastle that he has only had a few games to show them what quality he has. He is a very smart player who is technically very good, but the amount of influence he can have on this game depends on how fit he is.

"He has recovered well from that broken leg but he will need to play quite a few games to get back to 100 per cent condition. With Leon Best injured, I would imagine that he would play just behind Demba Ba where he loves getting on the ball and would drop back to stop Gareth Barry springing City attacks from midfield."

Edin Dzeko v Steven Taylor

"Steven Taylor is physically very strong, intelligent and while he maybe needs to improve when he has got the ball at his feet, the main thing is that he is very committed.

"You can tell from his character that he is a leader who seems to have really come out of his shell because he used to be a bit shy and quiet when I was at Newcastle but he is maturing nicely now.

"He looks better and better and he is looking more and more confident who is a good player and he will fancy the physical battle with Edin Dzeko who seems to have really found his feet at City.

"Dzeko works hard for the team; he is a strong player and has a good goals record so Taylor will have to be at his best to keep a lid on things. This will be his biggest challenge of the season."

Yaya Toure v Yohan Cabaye

"Firstly, I must put my cards on the table because Yohan Cabaye is a good friend of mine and it is great to see him doing so well in the Premier League since he moved from Lille.

"Recently I was speaking to a couple of Premier League managers and I could not believe it when they said they did not know much about him. That shocked me because he had helped Lille win the French league and he is an international so he should have had the top Premier League clubs chasing him.

"Newcastle really deserve top marks for signing him up because he is an excellent midfielder who has everything you need to make it in England. He is tough, he has plenty of stamina, he is comfortable on the ball, he has a good shot on him and he is very useful at set-pieces.

"He is a very good, disciplined player and a very good, respectful man but the main thing he has got is the spirit that you need to play at a club like Newcastle. Not everyone can handle things there because the fans expect so much.

"I am not surprised that he has had a good start at Newcastle and I hope that he will have a long and successful career at St James’ Park.

"But he will have his hands full against Yaya Toure because he is an awesome player. He is physically very imposing but he never seems to stop running and seems to regularly pop up in the opposition penalty box to score vital goals."

David Silva v Danny Guthrie
"It is fair to say that David Silva is currently the best player in English football and he is at the centre of everything that is good about City.

"He is an intelligent player who is technically brilliant and who is tactically very aware and seems to see a pass before anyone else on the pitch, plus then he has the ability to put in great passes to unpick packed defences.

"Another thing is that he is relentless and he refuses to be knocked out of his stride no matter what his opponents try to do. He never gives in. I love watching him play.

"It will be almost impossible for someone to man-mark him for 90 minutes without getting into trouble with the referee. Jack Rodwell tried to do it for Everton but Silva eventually got the better of him.

"I reckon Danny Guthrie will be asked to do his best to limit him this time around but I don’t envy him. Guthrie did well against Everton in their last game but Newcastle will miss the injured Cheik Tiote. His absence could be vital."

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