Some good news for Joe Kinnear today, in that both Danny Guthrie and Charles N’Zogbia passed fitness tests and will be available for selection for tomorrow’s vital game against West Ham at St. James’ Park.
So Joe Kinnear will have one or two decisions to make on the team he puts out, although not many as we still have Ameobi, Barton, Smith, Viduka, Martins, Cacapa, Beye and Gonzalez (remember him) out injured, and Nicky Butt is suspended for one game having picked up his 5th yellow card again Hull City last Saturday. Eight players out injured – we just have to look into why we have all these injuries – every single season.
This is our first league match of the the year, and therefore our first at home since our complete demolition by Liverpool 5-1 on the last Sunday of last year.
So the lads have a chance tomorrow to put some pride back into the team and the fans, and maybe we can make this the start of a decent run-in to the season. But make no mistake we need to start winning games at home, if we are to survive this season, there’s no doubt about that.
As we have mentioned West Ham are 3 points above us in the league at the moment but a one goal win will just put us above them in the league, so there’s some incentive for the lads to go all out for 3 points tomorrow.
How we do will depend greatly on how the defense plays tomorrow, and their performance against Liverpool was worse than awful. But we have Sebastien Bassong back now alongside Coloccini, and full backs Taylor and Enrique will want to play well, so they can keep their places in the side, since full back is one area it seems like Kinnear will, be strengthening this month.
On paper the Newcastle back four looks good, and we think they should play quite well as long as Bassong has another good game, and is his usual calm and reassuring presence at the back. What a player this boy could become!
We expect Guthrie and Geremi to be in central midfield, and with Butt being fairly ordinary in the last few games, this is an opportunity for Geremi to show what he can do, and we think his experience will see him have a good steady game tomorrow.
All three wingers – Duff, N’Zogbia and Gutierrez are available and there’s not too much between them, and Joe will start one of them on the bench and then probably bring him on in the second half. We’ll go for Duff and Gutierrez as starters, because we are so fed up reading how Charles wants to leave Newcastle every single day. But he will participate somehow for us tomorrow, since he has been playing very well recently.
Andy Carroll – with new hair do – that should scare defenders!
20 year-old 6’4″ Andy Carroll, with his new braided hair style, will start up front with Owen, as long as Michael has agreed to play with him, after he had some doubts after seeing Andy’s new haircut. 😀
So we expect the lads to line up as follows:
Taylor Colccini Bassong Enrique
Gutierrez Guthrie Geremi Duff
Carroll Owen (c)
Subs: Harper Edgar Xisco LuaLua N’Zogbia Tozer Xisco
For West Ham Matthew Upson is hopeful of a return to action, and we hope he plays because we think 6’4″ Andy Carroll will give him a very rough uncomfortable game tomorrow with his physical prowess and heading ability .
Former Newcastle player Scotty Parker is also expected top start and another former Magpie, Kieran Dyer, was back for 20 minutes in the Hammer’s last game, but seemed to find the pace very tough, so Kieran may be introduced as a substitute at some point.
Behrami and Neill are also look likely to be available, and that may mean a substitute position Frenchman Julien, who joined West Ham United from Bordeaux for £6.1M fee in July 2007.
Carton Cole will start alongside Craig Bellamy, yet another former Magpie, and Craig would love to score against his old team, but may find young Frenchman Sebastien Bassong just too strong and quick for him – hope so anyway.
Whether we like it or not, this is a 6 point relegation dogfight, and if we can be excused for getting hammered by Liverpool (excuse the pun), West Ham are a team we should be able to beat at home, and we usually do well against them at St. James’ Park – but that’s as far as we will go – we hardly want to tempt fate.
We’ll know how we have done at 5:00 pm tomorrow afternoon, and a win is just what the doctor ordered.
Howay The Lads!!