Today is a big day for Newcastle United and Birmingham fans as the two team meet tonight at St. Andrews in what promises to be a real relegation battle between two teams facing the drop.
We are getting a little fed up of saying we haven’t won in the last 12 league games, but maybe we’ll get a chance to change that after the game. That’s not to say it’s now 13 games, but that we can register a win and break our duck this year.
We won 2-1 at St. James’ Park with a dramatic last minute winner form Habib Beye, and those were certainly much better times for the club and the fans. We were grumbling then about not being higher up the league. We’re worried now that we don’t fall even further down into the relegation mire, which we’re already in of course.
The weekend’s results for Newcastle were a little bit of a mixed bag, being good on Saturday with Sunderland, Reading and Derby all being beaten by just one goal. But yesterday saw both Fulham and Wigan win. Bolton were on the wrong end of the result with Wigan, so they are still 3 points behind us.
But it’s about time we didn’t have to rely on the results of other teams and we did something to help ourselves – like get a win.
The team selection is going to cause some heartburn again we think for the Newcastle faithful. This is the side we’d like to see put out tonight:
Beye Faye Taylor Enrique
Duff Geremi Barton N’Zogbia
Owen (c) Martins
Subs: Forster Smith Diatta Viduka Butt
We just think Oba Martins must start this game – that’s what we want to see, but we’re not sure that’s what Kevin will do. We still think he’ll keep faith with Alan Smith.
If that happens we’ll want Smith to get a couple of goals, and then we’ll acknowledge (quickly) that Kevin knew what he was doing all along with Alan. Certainly his fighting qualities are needed tonight.
Here’s the team we think Keegan will pick.
Beye Faye Taylor Enrique
Duff Butt Barton N’Zogbia
Owen (c) Smith
Subs: Forster Geremi Diatta Viduka Martins
We have to be honest about this game and we do not have a good feeling about the result. We’ve seen teams over the weekend show great fight and spirit. That’s something that’s been missing from our repertoire. Birmingham may have the best spirit of any team fighting for safety in the Premier League, and Manager Alex McLeish is well known for getting the best out of his squad.
He’s starting to do that, and just remember how he had Scotland playing out of their skins against Italy, while he was Scotland’s manager.
Our big concern tonight is that our lot will be outfought by Birmingham. We desperately want the team to win and want to be positive, but we also have to be honest, and say what we think.
We hope the players will prove us wrong and show the fight that is required. We really need to see another Blackburn (0-1) or Arsenal (1-1) type performance – but with a win this time.
The club desperately needs a win, but we’ll even be happy even with a draw, and then we can slaughter Fulham on Saturday.
A defeat isn’t even worth thinking about.
What do you think?