Newcastle vs Middlesbrough – Match Preview

nufc-crest4 middlesbrough-crest


Tonight’s game is finally the game that will likely decide our fate for next season, and failure to beat a poor Middlesbrough side at St. James Park this evening, will probably seal our fate and we’ll be playing in the Championship next season.
How many fans would have thought last August that we would be joint bottom of the Premier League, with just 3 games to go this season?

Not many, and it’a an indication of just how terribly the club had been managed this year that this is the case. If we do survive there will need to be some big changes made at Newcastle, not least in the playing side of things because our current crop of players have been short on skill and ever more lacking in spirit this season.

Newcastle will need to ensure that Newcastle fans don’t have to go through another pathetic season like this one has been for them.

We also need to end the soap opera that is the Newcastle club this season, and we think Alan Shearer is the right manager to do just that, but it looks like he may have to start his real  management career in the Championship.

With Joey Barton having managed to get himself suspended for the rest of the season in his first start since last January against Liverpool with a stupid tackle last Sunday, we will be withouht the one player we really thought could add some creativity to the side.

And with Alan Smith injured yet again, it looks like 21 year-old Danny Guthrie will get a start in midfield tonight, in what we expect to be a 4-3-3 formation for Newcastle.

If we cannot score against Middlesbrough and beat the under-performing Riverside Stadium side tonight, we’ll deserve to be relegated based on our terrible and toothless form this whole year.

Jackie Milburn and other Newcastle greats of the past must be turning in their graves, at some of the heartless performance we’ve seen lately from some Newcastle players.

The good news is that it looks like local lad Steven Taylor is finally fit again from his bruised foot, and will partner young Sebastien Basssong at the back, and a back four of  Beye Taylor Bassong and Duff  looks very strong on current form. All four of them are players who have been playing well when it matters, and with some significant spirit this year.

As far as upfront goes, Alan needs to start the money men – Owen, Martins and Viduka, who between them pull in almost £250K/week in their combined wages. Maybe they can each score a goal and earn their wages tonight – but there again – maybe not.

As far as midfield goes, we would expect it to be between R.Taylor, Gutierrez, Butt, Nolan and Guthrie, and we’d look for Nolan, Butt and Guthrie to be the starting midfield three, and for Gutierrez to come into the game fairly early on, depending on the state of the game.

So this is the team we think Shearer may start tonight:

Beye S.Taylor Bassong Duff
Nolan Butt Gurthrie
Martins Viduka Owen (c)
Subs: Krul Coloccini R.Taylor Geremi Carroll Lovenkrands Gutierrez

It wouldn’t surprise us if Peter Lovenkrands gets a start tonight up front, as he’s always likely to score and is a good goal poacher, which is what we need.

We are being told that Michael Owen will play more upfield in an attempt to get into the goals, and if our defense can be steady and even keep a clean sheet and the middle three of Nolan, Butt and Guthrie can provide some openings, then we could even win this game – and finally have something to celebrate after all these months.

But it’s been so long since we last won against WBA in February, that we now have dimished trust in our current players.

But maybe when it all comes down to it tonight they can get us the win we desperately need, and things will look a lot rosier tomorrow morning, that’s for sure.

Come on lads – surprise us – please!


97 comments so far

  • DanToon

    May 11, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #1

    v Boro…

    Baye – S.Taylor – Bassong – Duff
    ……Guthrie – Butt – Gutierrez
    …………Viduka – Martins

    Subs:- Krul, Nolan, Carroll, Coloccini, Edgar, Ranger, R.Taylor.

  • RyanToon

    May 11, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #2

    ED. i agree with your most of your team other than id play jonas instead of nolan

  • Jamesthefirst

    May 11, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #3

    IF you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all fans doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;

    IF you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    Then you will beat the team from Boro
    And Shearer will stay on as Boss


  • Toon Graeme

    May 11, 2009 at 12:40 PM

    Comment #4

    James the Geordie poet 🙂

    I think southgate will go 4 5 1 in an attempt to keep the ball away from our 3 prong attack force.

    We need to maintain possession and pass to each other and non of the hoof the ball forward crap which we have come to expect.

    Ed is right – who would have thought we would be where we are now from the beginning of the season against manure.

    Its been a long road and a very bumpy one.

    llambias said they have set out the finances plan if we go down. Lets hope we dont have to use it.

    Its easy to say its a must win game – but if the team dont go into it fighting – its another draw or loss waiting to happen.

    If you watched Hull, Stoke & West Brom over the weekend you should have seen the fight they all put in. We do not – take Pompey for example.


    Lets give the smogs the atmosphere they deserve!

  • Hugh de Payen

    May 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #5

    Both teams are crap. Both teams are low on confidence. Both team are desperate.

    It’s the sort of game that could be decided on a stroke of luck or a dubious refereeing decision.

    The first goal will be hugely important as that might spark off some confidence for the team that scored.

    I’m cacking myself!

  • Toon Graeme

    May 11, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #6

    Hugh – its brown pants time alright!!!!!! 🙂

  • RyanToon

    May 11, 2009 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #7

    newcastle 4-0 middlesbrough

    whats all the fuss about lads??? 😉

    come on you toooooooooooooooooooon

  • Toon Graeme

    May 11, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #8

    Chronicle reports that Oba is out with injury and reverting to poss 4 2 2.

    I dont see why. Use Lovenkrandz and the dukes and Mo upfront

  • sahota

    May 11, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #9

    @Ed “and finally have something to celebrate after all these months.”

    Spot on Ed, its been all unhappy moments for all of us form last few months after win at West Brom. What a win it will be if we win.

  • Hugh de Payen

    May 11, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #10

    If I look at it objectively, I’d have to say a draw is most likely.

    But I can’t look at a match like this objectively and a draw isn’t good enough, so I’m going to predict we’ll scrape a win. Just.

  • Toon Graeme

    May 11, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #11

    Ryantoon – alright mate?

    Can I have a pint of what you drinking? 🙂

  • Nobby_Long

    May 11, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #12

    The lads have got be right up for it from the first minute. Go for the jugular. Get the atmosphere right from the start. We’ve got to make sure its Boro players that are the ones cacking themselves.

  • Nobby_Long

    May 11, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #13

    Nice to have the match kick off at 8pm….plenty of time for another pint in the Strawberry to get in the mood…..

  • sahota

    May 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #14

    Ryan Toon looks like you are having “BHANG”

    Just kidding man…as its good to feel bit better before game.

    If you drink one strong glass of it and you start laughing then you just keep on laughing.

    Just to let you know guys, I am not drug addict just drank it once around 7 years back and decided never to drink it again as I was just feeling like mad after that.

  • Darryl

    May 11, 2009 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #15

    This will be the only second league match i have infact been too. Being a student in Boro leaves you fairly skint. Last being Portsmouth, a bore draw. I have yet to see Newcastle get beat in the league, or let any in, or score.. All but one of these will be broken tonight! We wont be letting any in. 2-0 tonight.

  • Newckie

    May 11, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #16

    Tonight’s game (well tomorrow morning for us Geordie repat’s in Aussie) is live or die. There is a huge difference between elation and devastation and it is in your hands lads.

    If Owen’s perched on the edge of the box up front then the Duke must play just for his ability to hold up the ball and his flick ons . I agree use Loven. Nice to see Taylor back!

    Jesus! I don’t think I will be able to sleep before the game…C’Mon The Toon!!!!!!

    If Duke scores the wining goal then I’ll get heaps tomorrow from all me Aussie mates but I won’t give a flying foxtrot 🙂

  • Rodzilla

    May 11, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    Comment #17

    Aye, it appears Martins has deselected himself coz of his groin injury. I’d just play 4-4-2 anyway and stick Loven on the right wing – Beye should be able to handle ‘0 goals from 59 shots’ Downing.

    Great news if Taylor is fit, I didn’t think he’d make it. I’m absolutely bricking it. 3 points has got to send the other team down, but our meetings do have a history of draws – in which case it’s still possible but down to the wire.

    Let’s change history tonight lads!

  • Hugh Jorgan

    May 11, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #18

    Ryan that’s my score prediction for tonight too !
    Come on the TOON !
    NO GOALS TO middlesbrough

  • Nobby_Long

    May 11, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #19

    If we get an early goal, I can see us winning comfortably. It will get everyone on their feet, and will seem like a great weight lifted from the players. Boro heads could drop then, & we could knock in two or three more.

    The longer the game goes on without a goal, the more nervy & fragemented the play will get. so lets, attack from the first whistle & get a goal then start to relax & play.

    Those were the days………

  • bakerbaker

    May 11, 2009 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #20

    Really hope that Martins is fit….

    Although i hope we play Gutierrez…..playing 3 DM just behind 3 strikers isnt going to be much good….

  • Darryl

    May 11, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    Comment #21






    I would be happy to see that

  • Newckie

    May 11, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #22

    Hugh I want what your on 🙂 🙂 🙂

    One thing is for sure if we score first it’s gannin off alreet. Iit will absolutely mental! The second one will cause a sonic boom and will make us breath again.

    Stuff it believe!

  • Ericles

    May 11, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #23

    I agree with Ryan Toon – Jonas for Butt and 4 goals (Viduka 1, Martins 3).

  • Rodzilla

    May 11, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #24

    Martins is injured Ericles, change that to Viduka 1, Owen 2, Taylor 1 🙂

  • Darryl

    May 11, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #25

    IF martins aint injured yeah.

  • Bill F

    May 11, 2009 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #26

    Play Lovenkrands and Carroll instead of Martin and Owen. Martins has looked like a dog chasing it’s tail in his last few matches and Owen just aint performing even though he is putting in the effort. Vidukda has looked a bit ponderous but he is trying to do the right stuff and will be trying to shine against his old club. I’d have started Guthrie ahead of Barton anyway so Joey may have done us a favour. Glad to see Stevie back so we might be a bit tighter in defence. Unless lady luck really hates us then I can see us getting a big win, but a win will do.

  • workyticket

    May 11, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #28

    sahota // May 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    “Just to let you know guys, I am not drug addict just drank it once around 7 years back and decided never to drink it again as I was just feeling like mad after that.”

    Nothing wrong with a good Bhang Lassi, Sahota. 🙂

  • Johno Toon

    May 11, 2009 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #29

    totally agree nobby an early goal is crucial , but i thionk we will win either way

    god im sh!tting a brick

  • Rodzilla

    May 11, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #30

    …”Bhang Lassi” is that a dirty film Worky?

  • dougnufc

    May 11, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #31

    I hate games on weekdays, I have to wake up at 3am to watch it

  • Vest

    May 11, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #32

    Anyone know where to see the game online?

  • RyanToon

    May 11, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #33

    we are the geordies

  • Craigg

    May 11, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #34

    Sky Are reporting Wheater is out, On top of Pogatetz and Riggott.

    Apparantly their shunting Bates or a young lad whose been at Burnley on loan in the heart of their defence.

    What odds on Owen as first scorer tonight, Viduka will murder these as well.

    I said 2-0 earlier but im predicting seeing Owens weird little uppercutty jump thing a couple of times and Stevie Taylors forest Gump impression after a back post header.

    3-0 and safety!!

  • RyanToon

    May 11, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #35

    the geordie boot boys!

  • sahota

    May 11, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #36

    Rodzilla, Actually Drink made from BHANg has different names in various parts of India. “LASSI” is simply a drink made form Yogurt by mixing it with little water. And in some parts of India people mix “BHANG” with LASSI so that becomes BHANG LASSI.

    But in general LASSI has nothing to do with drugs.

    @workyticket you might be right mate. But it depends who makes BHANG LASSI 🙂

    In the part I belong to (Punjab , North India), we have a festival where people publicly drink BHANG by mixing it with milk almonds etc to make is tasty. And it comes in all sorts of grades, I mean one which has little BHANG and one which HORSES drink on the festival. And my friends gave me the one for horses and I just can not imagine what it did to me. 🙂 So after that never ever tried it again.

    SORRY guys being bit off topic, but it gives little bit break for MUST WIN game topic

  • RyanToon

    May 11, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #37

    ANYONE know is freddy shep LOOKALIKE is at our last two home games???

  • RyanToon

    May 11, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #38


  • workyticket

    May 11, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #39

    Rodzilla // May 11, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    …”Bhang Lassi” is that a dirty film Worky?

    LOL Rod. Brings back (very vague) memories of India.

  • Rodzilla

    May 11, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #40

    …”festival where people publicly drink BHANG”, sounds like a laugh Sahota! Plenty of red eyes and Barfi-munching then. I can imagine what your horse-strength dose did 😀



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