The game tomorrow afternoon against Stoke City, should tell us a little more about the Newcastle side this season.
And there were certainly some surprise results today with both Arsenal and Chelsea being beaten, and Liverpool only being able to get a draw at Anfield against Sunderland – and that’s a pity. 😀
Fellow promotion side WBA were worthy if unlikely winners by 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium,after being 3-0 up, but if Arsenal are going to make a challenge on the Premier League they have to get a top class goalkeeper – Shay Given is available in January.
And West Ham finally won with a good 1-0 home win over London rivals Tottenham, where they just about deserved all 3 points with a spirited and gutsy display.
Newcastle are coming off a two game winning streak, having beaten Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park last Saturday in the league, and then having their best result in many a season when essentially a Newcastle second eleven beat a Chelsea second eleven 4-3 in the Carling Cup, in what was a very exciting cup tie – and that’s a huge understatement – it was a game for the ages.
Chris Hughton has to pick between those two separate teams as to which players will start tomorrow afternoon, and it’s a difficult choice, but one that creates what is a good problem for the manager to have.
With Steve Harper sadly out for the rest of the year, Tim Krul will of course start in goal, and apart from Tim, Chris Hughton may decide to start the lads that started the game last Saturday at Everton, when we got our first win there in nine years.
But we have a feeling Chris will slightly tweak that side just a little bit, and here’s the starting eleven we expect Hughton to go with for tomorrow afternoon:
Taylor (R) Coloccini Williamson Enrique
Ben Arfa Tiote Barton Nolan (c) Gutierrez
Subs: Soderberg Campbell Perch Routledge Ameobi Smith Lovenkrands
We think Ryan Taylor will nudge out the returning James Perch at right back, and we think Jonas’ performance on Wednesday night was good enough for him to keep the left wing spot, and move Ben Arfa over to the right wing in place of Routledge, who unluckily misses out.
It’s in fact unlucky on any player who doesn’t make the line-up tomorrow, because both our sides gave terrific displays in the last two games, but there’s only room for 18 in the squad, and they’ll get their next chance when Arsenal visit Newcastle in the 4th round of the Carling cup in the week starting October 25th. What a game that promises to be.
And in passing, that happens to be the week Andy Carroll will be up before the Newcastle Magistrates on his assault charge, come to think of it.
We’re not sure whether Chris will keep with his 4-5-1 system tomorrow at home, and we’d much prefer to see the more attacking 4-4-2 formation he used last season at St. James’ Park.
But as long as we keep the play wide with our wingers, Newcastle hopefully will not get into the problems they confronted a couple of weeks ago against Blackpool, when we attacked too much down the middle and missed all of the seven good chances the team created.
Stoke City are a good side, and they will bombard Newcastle with high balls from both corners and throw ins from Rory Delap, so we expect Chris to include players at the back who are good headers of the ball.
Sadly there is no room on the bench for players who were excellent on Wednesday night such as Shane Ferguson, Nile Ranger and Haris Vuckic, but Newcastle’s squad has become very strong this season, and just how strong we’ll find out against the Potters tomorrow.
Stoke City at home is a game we should win, but that was also true against Blackpool in our last home game, but 3 points is what we want to see at 6:00 pm tomorrow evening, and anything less than that will be a disappointment.
Comments very welcome.