There are not many teams that get much at all out of playing Manchester United this season.
In the 26 Premier League games the Red Devils have played this season, they have won 19 and lost only two, so tonight’s task for Newcastle United is a big one indeed.
That’s especially true when you remember that we have 4 of our top central midfielders not available, Kevin Nolan though suspension, and Nicky Butt, Danny Guthrie and Joey Barton through injury, so just how we will be able to combat Manchester United with a second choice midfield is hard to see.
Another midfielder, Ignacio Gonzales, the Uruguayan on loan this season fromn Valencia, has appeared only twice since injuring his Achilles, in early September.
This game however, will be played at St. James’ Park, and there will be 52,000 fans at the game tonight, roaring on their team, who have been less than good, once again, this season.
Most of the Newcastle team picks itself tonight, certainly the defense will be the same one as we’ve had out in the last few games, and the only real question will be who partners Oba Martins up front, and who will start in central midfield.
Since Geremi had a decent game when he came on for Nicky Butt in the second half at Bolton on Sunday, we think he’ll start tonight, alongside Ryan Taylor, who seems to be able to play almost anywhere for Newcastle.
This is the team we’d like Assistant Manager Chris Hughton to field tonight is as follows:
S.Taylor Coloccini Bassong Enrique
Lovenkrands R.Taylor Geremi Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Cacapa Edgar Ameobi Carroll Smith LuaLua
We hope Chris will start with that team but we think he’ll have Shola Ameobi starting in place of Viduka, but why he keeps starting Shola is a bit of a mystery. Mark is a better player and has more of a goal threat than Ameobi, it’s as simple as that.
There are a number of keys to this game, if Newcastle United are to get anything out of it at all tonight:
- The defense will have to be at their very best – and perhaps they should start out, pretending they are already down to 10 men, since that seemed to do the trick against Everton, after we were less than convincing in the first half of that game. We have some big game players in defense and we’ll have to hope that young star Sebastien Bassong and Argentine International Fabricio Colloccini can both have great games, and Taylor and Enrique also play up to their capabilities at full back.
- The central midfield will be key for Newcastle tonight, and if we are to have any chance at all of being competitive tonight, then Ryan Taylor and Geremi will need to get a good grip of the midfield. That’s asking a lot of the two of them, but we expect Chris Hughton to maybe play five across the midfield so Manchester United don’t completely control the middle of the park from the kick-off.
- We’ll need to have some bite on goal, since it’s difficult enough to score at the best of times against this Manchester United side, and since Newcastle have not scored in their last two games, it’s difficult to see how we can even score tonight, if everything goes to form. That’s one reason we’d like to see Viduka start alongside Oba Martins, who will be trying his best to score tonight.
- The crowd will be a huge factor for the lads tonight, but the Newcastle side must come out fighting and give the fans something to shout for. The fans cannot do it by themselves, and it’s time for some heroes to show up tonight in the famous black and white striped shirts.
Most observers will expect a Manchester win tonight, but the Magpies just have to make every single game count in the run-in to the league, and maybe the best we can hope for tonight is to hold the Red Devils to a draw.
If we can do that most Newcastle fans would be quite happy.
Howay The Lads!!