This is a game we feel Newcastle United should win if they are to have a good first season under big Sam Allardcye. Middlesbrough will be without their best players Jonathan Woodgate through injury (surprise) and Yakuba Aiyegbeni has agreed a move to Everton for a ridiculous fee of â‚¤11.25M.
This looks like a good opportunity for Newcastle to capture a good three points.
In their last 6 games at home Middlesbrough have lost 4 and won the other 2 so their home form is not good right now. Add to that Newcastle’s sparkling win at Bolton two weeks ago and Newcastle have to be favorites for the win.
One of the things that will be interesting is what Newcastle’s team will be, and particularly the back four. We expect Newcastle to play a 4-3-3 formation again, and we still expect the front three to be Martins, Viduka and Milner, at least to start. Michael Owen is fighting for a starting spot and he looks like he’s getting back to some form with playing four games in the last 12 days. While his match fitness should be returning, we think Michael will be given a good run-out but will not start. We expect the midfield three of Smith, Geremi and Butt to again start.
With the Internationals having taken place in mid-week Sam has indicated he may some stars out of the side and we expect the back four to be changed from last week. Since Stephen Carr played the full game for the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday we don’t expect him to start. We do think that Cacapa will be brought into the side either at center-back or right back but would expect Steven Taylor to move over to the right back spot.
It may well be that Sam prefers to keep Taylor and Rozehnal together in the center since they have played well together so Cacapa may be given his league debut at right back. We do think it’s time to bring in the very experienced Cacapa, who also has very good leadership ability.
The team selection will be interesting because it looks like Sam will not be buying a new right back in this transfer window and we’re not sure who he sees playing in that position. We don’t see Stephen Carr there in the long term. It’s possible that Nobby Solano could start there but we think Sam wants to use Nobby’s creativity further upfield and we all know that Nobby may not even be at the club next week at this time, if a London club comes in for him.
We would expect the back four to be Cacapa, Taylor, Rozehnal and N’Zogbia, since we think Sam will keep Taylor and Rozehnal together in central defense.
This is a good time to get another win after last Saturday’s disappointing performance and result against a good Aston Villa side. A clean sheet would also be very nice so we are predicting a 2-0 win for the lads. That will give us 7 points from our first 3 games and the best start to a season for at least 10 years.
Competition for places is also heating up since Emre is back from injury and we now only have four out injured. They are Given, Barton. Babayaro and Duff and we are positioned 6th bottom of the PhysioRoom.com Injury League Table. That’s good news on the injury front – touch wood.
Son we think Newcastle have a good opportunity to put a smile back on the Newcastle fans’ faces with a good win and an equally good performance. Let us know what you think on this. You can also join the discussion of the game on our brand new Newcastle United Forum.
Comments always welcome.