The 3rd round FA Cup Tie at Stoke today should be a closely fought and entertaining game, and Stoke must fancy their chances against a struggling Newcastle United side.
Newcastle are going through a poor run of form recently, as everyone no doubt is aware of, and we have lost their last 3 league games. Newcastle have just a single point from the last 12. While their confidence will not be high, Newcastle have played reasonably well in their last couple of games. At Stamford Bridge last Saturday the lads deserved at least a point with a good performance, and then on Wednesday night we had a load of chances to take the lead in the first half, but spurned them all.
It will help the Magpies that Michael Owen starts his first game for 7 weeks. Michael was again injured playing for that other team he plays for – England. But Michael looked surprisingly good in the second half on Wednesday, in spite of missing a good chance after just 30 seconds. Owen’s link up play was excellent, and he looked a good player. If Michael can turn on some of his magic tonight, Newcastle may find themselves ahead in the game, which will be unusual to say the least.
Tony Pulis has done a great job at Stoke City since taking the reigns over again in the summer of 2006. He did manage Stoke City previously from 2002-2005 but has done particularly well in his second spell at the club, during the last 18 months. Stoke City have a big strong side and will be a good match for the Magpies.
Tony Pulis talked about Newcastle United and the game tonight:
“There is an incredible amount of expectation from Newcastle fans on Sam’s shoulders and it’s a measure of his task when you consider Newcastle sacked Sir Bobby Robson after finishing fourth, third and then fifth in the Premiership in his final three seasons there.”
“I know the media machine is much more feverish these days, but surely people in boardrooms must see sense and recognize that people like Sam need and deserve time to stamp themselves on a new club.”
“There’s no way Sunday’s result should cost him his job.” “I don’t think anyone will be worried by a big crowd and the TV cameras because there’s absolutely no pressure on us.” “I’ll simply be telling the lads to go out there, work hard and enjoy themselves and then, hopefully, the rest will follow.”
“We are under no illusion about the task ahead. Newcastle may not be happy with their results at the moment, but they are still a team full of quality and experience.”
Good words from Tony there and he seems a real down to earth manager. One question Newcastle fans always have before any game, is what team will Sam play. The team we’d like to see put out tonight is as follows:
Beye Cacapa Taylor Enrique
Milner Butt Faye N’Zogbia
Subs: Harper Edgar Emre Ameobi Smith
We believe that Damien Duff (injured thigh), Geremi (African Cup of Nations) and Martins are not available for this game. And we know that’s not the team Big Sam will play because he will start Alan Smith somewhere, anywhere. He may even start Smith for Butt, but we’d be surprised if Sam starts Milner and N’Zogbia on the wings, but that’s what we’d like to see.
It will also be the last game for Abdoulaye Faye and Habib Beye, who both link up tomorrow with Senegal for the African Cup of Nations. We wish them the best of luck in that competition, and they have both played well for the club this season.
We think Sam will play Charles N’Zogbia at left back again, Milner on the left wing and Smith on the right wing. Players playing out of position yet again. 🙁
Sam Allardyce talked about the game against the Potters:
“Now it’s three defeats on the trot and pressure grows.” “They will fancy it now won’t they? They will think we are there for the taking.”“We have got to stick together and believe that how we can play can get us out of trouble. That starts at Stoke.”
“They are a good side and they are doing extremely well in the Championship, it won’t be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination.”
For Stoke City Ricardo Fuller is back in the squad after his flight home to Jamaica to attend the funeral of his grandmother. It’s not clear whether Fuller will start the game, but we expect him to. Andy Wilkinson should also start for the Potters, but Salif Diao and Rory Delap look doubtful.
We’re looking forward to a good game tonight, and would be happy enough if the lads put up a decent fighting performance. A draw would be good and a win would be great. What do you think? Please let us know your thoughts on the game tonight.
We also warmly welcome all Stoke City fans to our web site. 😀