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!
HOWAY THE LADS!!