Newcastle have a chance to end their two goal losing streak at home tomorrow against Wigan Athletic.
On paper this is a game you would expect Newcastle to win, if the team is to avoid a battle with relegation this season, but of course we said the same thing about Blackpool, who are still odds-on favorites to be relegated, but we ended up on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline in that game.
Before the season started, Newcastle probably needed to beat the lower half teams in the league at home, and if we could do that, we’d probably be safe by next May, but we’ve lost 6 home points in 9 so far this season, so it’s a good time to put things right tomorrow with a win against Wigan, who are second favorites to Blackpool to be relegated this season.
Chris has players coming back from injury, but it looks like only Danny Guthrie is fit enough to be considered for tomorrow’s game, with Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Dan Gosling, Leon Best and Steve Harper still out through injury.
Hughton will need to decide who to play at center-back after Sol Campbell performed so well at Eastlands, when the 36 year-old came on in the first half for the injured Fab Coloccini, but Fabricio is now fit again, having recovered from his slight groin strain.
So Chris will need to decide which of the three center-backs to start tomorrow, and we wonder if any of the three can play at right back? It’s no secret that it seems right back is our weakest position in the back four although James Perch puts in some solid performances, but seems to lack the class right now.
We hope James will improve as the season progresses, and of course Danny Simpson will probably be ready for the next game Newcastle play after Wigan – which is at West Ham a week tomorrow.
It’s almost the same selection dilemma up front for Chris, with both Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi vying for the lone striker position, but Chris did hint in mid-week that he could play 4-4-2 tomorrow, but we doubt he will do that.
Ben Arfa is of course out for at least 6 months and Peter Lovenkrands is certainly due some playing time, so we half expect Chris to again start the side that started the game at Manchester City with Wayne Routledge in place of the injured Ben Arfa out on the right wing.
Perch Williamson Coloccini Enrique
Routledge Tiote Barton Nolan (c) Gutierrez
Subs: Soderberg Campbell Taylor (R) Smith Lovenkrands Carroll Ranger
So we think Shola will start up front and Andy Carroll will be on the bench again, but we wouldn’t mind seeing either Ryan Taylor or Peter Lovenkrands start on the right wing in place of Wayne Routledge, who has not been in top form of late. We also think young Nile Ranger will get the nod over Xisco, after Nile’s two goals for the Reserves at Blackpool in mid-week.
The keys to this game for Newcastle are to take their chances when they come, which certainly wasn’t the case against Blackpool, and the defense has to be very strong and steady, and not give away poor goals like the two we conceded in our last home defeat against Stoke City. Simple isn’t it? 😀
The lads have had two weeks to prepare for this game with very few players being away on International duty, and we expect Newcastle’s game plan is is to attack Wigan from the first whistle.
If we cannot go all out against Wigan then who else will we ever attack? We just have to start beating the poorer teams in the PL, and especially at home, where surely we will get most of our points this season.
Although they will probably start on the bench tomorrow, unless Chris starts a a 4-4-2 formation, we would expect both Andy Carroll and Lovenkrands to get some playing time, as Chris plays guys up front who can score the goals.
Anything but a win tomorrow will be a disappointing result for Newcastle fans.
Howay The Lads!!