After all the business about James Milner this week, which only broke the morning after the Coventry game, Newcastle head to Arsenal today with a 5:30 pm kick off at the Emirates Stadium.
The squad is a little depleted, but we should still be able to put out a strong side against Arsenal, who have not been on top form so far this season, being beaten last week 1-0 at Fulham last Saturday.
This is a good chance for the lads to further their good start to the season but it will be a difficult game at the Emirates bit it could be that Newcastle can catch Arsenal off form.
They also played in the European Cup qualifiers on Wednesday, but their squad is used to all the games they play in a season. There will be a recall to the bench today for both Joey Barton and Shola Ameobi may even get start, with all other strikers injured.
Toon in Training yesterday
Barton will attend an FA Disciplinary hearing this coming Friday, and will likely be suspended for a number of games.
Injured players still include Oba Martins, Mark Viduka, Damien Duff, Gérémi and Alan Smith.
There were some good performances from some of the lads on Tuesday night at Coventry and we know Keegan was very impressed with 22 year-old Sebastien Bassong, who could make a surprise start this afternoon alongside Fabricio Coloccini.
Even if he doesn’t it’s obvious he will provide Steven Taylor with good competition this season, and of course Jose Enrique probably had his best game in a black and white shirt and seemed full of industry, skill and effort.
We think the wingers will be Charles N’Zogbia on the left and Gutierrez on the right with Michael Owen making his first start of the season.
This is a likely line-up today:
Beye Bassong (Taylor) Coloccini Enrique
Gutierrez Guthrie Butt N’Zogbia
Subs: Harper Taylor (Bassong) Edgar Tozer Barton Ranger Donaldson
That’s not a bad team, but we have no strength in depth to tide us over any injuries, and of course we will likely lose Barton for quite a few games soon through suspension and Milner has gone – so we must get at least 4 new players in before Monday at midnight. That’s an absolute necessity.
But we think the lads will do well today, and we’d be surprised if they don’t. Anything but a defeat would be good.