There hasn’t been too much good news this week for Newcastle fans – that’s for sure.
Cheick Tiote – back on Sunday – great!
First of all we were whacked 5-1 at Bolton, in a game we had hoped to at least take a point from, but the defensive performance got what it deserved – a thrashing.
And not only that but we had Fab Coloccini sent off, and then earlier in the week Mike Williamson was accused of violent conduct, and even though Newcastle appealed the three match ban, it stood, and so we are without our two center backs for the next three games.
But there is some good news, and that is that Cheick Tiote will be back in the Newcastle central midfield against Chelsea on Sunday, and this lad has been in great form for Newcastle ever since he made his debut against Everton in the 1-0 win on September 18th.
The only black mark for Cheick is when he was caught dribbling out of the penalty area against Blackburn in the third minute, and we gifted Bolton their first goal – but we’ll not mention that.
Cheick Tiote will certainly start for the Magpies on Sunday, but who will partner him in the middle of the park remains to be seen, although we would expect captain Kevin Nolan to be there, and for Chris Hughton to start in a 4-4-2 formation with both Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi up front.
But in order to combat the Chelsea threat, he may want to play five players across the middle with Andy Carroll the lone striker.
The one weakness right now with Chelsea is their central defense with both John Terry and Alex presumably not 100% fit, and of course Alex needs a knee operation soon.
But whoever starts on Sunday it seems that Hughton’s game plan will be to attack Chelsea down the middle utilizing the two big local lads up front, which is why we think he’ll go with an attacking 4-4-2 formation.
We’re not sure the fact that Chelsea have lost three of their last four league game is particularly good news for Newcastle, because they’ll be all out against Newcastle on Sunday to get that win.
And while they lost 1-0 at Birmingham last time out, they had 32 shots on goal compared to Birmingham’s 3, and 16 corners compared to Birmingham’s 4, and only a performance of the season from goalkeeper Ben Forster kept them at bay.
If they have as much of the play on Sunday afternoon, Newcastle will have hard job keeping a clean sheet, given how we’ve performed lately as a defensive unit – not very well.
But Newcastle are inconsistent if nothing else this season, and since this is a game we are expected to lose, perhaps we wont.
That’s our big hope for Sunday.