It’s still some 5 days away, but it looks like Chris Hughton will be forced to make some changes to the Newcastle side to face Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
Steven Taylor – likely to get first start of the season against Chelsea
Fab Coloccini is definitely out for the next 3 games, after his red card last Saturday, and almost as certain to be missing on Sunday is Mike Williamson, even though he today appealed his violent conduct charge by the FA, and the case will be heard tomorrow.
But look for him to get a three match ban too announced tomorrow.
It certainly looks like both Sol Campbell and Steven Taylor will get the start at St. James’ Park, and we’re sure they’re getting lots of time together in training this week, trying to forge an understanding of playing together.
It will be difficult for both of them to come in and make their first league starts of the season, but they’re experienced players, and we think they can get the job done for Newcastle.
The good news is our midfield dynamo, Cheick Tiote, is back after his one game suspension, and he will be an important player for the side against a Chelsea team that’s lost 3 of their last 4 league games.
Joey Barton is out and this will be the last game he will serve of his three match suspension, so we expect to see Danny Guthrie on the right wing again – and we would expect the line-up to look something like this
Simpson Campbell Taylor (S) Enrique
Guthrie Tiote Nolan (c) Gutierrez
Kevin Nolan had a poor game at Bolton, but the Liverpudlian usually bounces back well from an off day, and with Tiote partnering him again in central midfield, he will get lots of defensive cover from the Ivorian, who has been just terrific for Newcastle this season.
That’s not a bad side, but the first 30 minutes or so will be all important and there can be no stupid defensive errors, and of course Sol Campbell and Steven Taylor will have to settle quickly.
Expect Chris Hughton to target the Chelsea central defense as the possible weak link, with high balls into the center for our two local lads, Andy Carroll and the under-rated Shola Ameobi to attack.
The lads were badly embarrassed last Saturday, but they have shown they can bounce back and they certainly have a great team spirit and will fight this game out to try to put some points on the board.
The game is being televised live around the world, and there would be nothing like a win to put right the wrongs of last Saturday, but Chelsea are one of Europe’s top sides, and their poor form cannot last too much longer, and Newcastle will need to be at or very near their best to get anything out of this fixture.
We have to hope that Chelsea’s good form doesn’t return until after Sunday.