It will be very tough test for Newcastle United tomorrow afternoon against a talented Manchester City side.
And because of their poor showing on Monday night against Everton at home, we expect City to start the game much faster and with a lot more earnest than the way they started the game on Monday night, when it looked like they were in a practice game and were 2-0 down after 19 minutes.
Former Arsenal center-back Kolo Toure will miss the game because of suspension, after being sent off on Monday night, but of course Man City have strength in depth and could bring in Joleon Lescott in his place.
Newcastle still have Ben Arfa, Dan Gosling, Ryan Taylor and Shola Ameobi missing for the game tomorrow afternoon through injury.
Alan Pardew has the choice of starting Peter Lovenkrands or Nile Ranger up front with Andy Carroll, if he elects to play in an attacking 4-4-2 formation.
But there’s a possibility he could play a more defensive and more solid 4-5-1 formation, to better cope with the very talented Man City central midfield.
Presumably if Alan plays with one striker up front he could bring Danny Guthrie in to play somewhere across the midfield five ot perhaps Wayne Routledge.
Alan will have all five center backs – Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Williamson, Campbell and young Kadar to choose from, and it’s anybody’s guess who the two center-backs will be – but we’ll plump for Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson as the two starters.
So this is the side that could start tomorrow:
Simpson Taylor (S) Williamson Enrique
Barton Nolan (c) Tiote Gutierrez
Subs: Harper Campbell Coloccini Guthrie Smith Routledge Lovenkrands
This is the first game in a hectic two week schedule for Newcastle, in which they play four league games in 10 days, and finish off at with the third round of the FA Cup away at Stevenage on Saturday, January 8th.
So it would be very nice to get off to a good start with a win tomorrow night, but that will be tough and we’ll be happy enough to get a point in all honesty.
And next up on Tuesday night is a very tough game at Spurs, who are pushing again for a top four place in the Premier League.
That seems a little ridiculous to have two games to be played in 48 hours, and it’s not surprising that some PL managers are complaining at the number of fixtures their teams have in the next couple of weeks.
Newcastle’s game next weekend is on Sunday afternoon at Wigan Athletic, so why we couldn’t play at Spurs on Wednesday night or even Thursday night is a mystery to us.
However, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves and next up is a home game against Man City tomorrow night.
The keys to the game for Newcastle are that the defense plays with some steadiness, and we cannot allow sloppy goals, and were a little lucky to get away with giving Liverpool a gift goal last time out, and only some good saves from Tim Krul kept us in the game after we had conceded.
With Barton and Nolan in the side, Newcastle are so much better than when these two experienced players are missing, so we must stand a decent chance of winning the game, if big Andy and Kevin are as sharp as they looked against Liverpool.
And the signs are that a sell-out crowd will be at the game, which is the first home game on Boxing Day in nine years, when the great Sir Bobby Robson had his team whack Middlesbrough 3-0 in 2001.
It will be important that Newcastle get a grip on midfield, against the classy City stars, which is why Alan may elect to play a 4-5-1 formation.
But any result other than a defeat would be good for Newcastle tomorrow afternoon.
Howay The Lads!!