Newcastle have shot themselves in the foot far too many times this season, and we have thrown too many points away with some terrible defensive play.
If Newcastle can become stronger and steadier at the back, then we could start picking up points up again, and we really need to do that because we’ve picked up just 5 points out of the last 7 games, which is simply not good enough.
But Steven Taylor has looked solid since he’s come back into the side, and his experience could help us close the door at the back.
Steven Taylor and Coloccini looked OK on Sunday, and after the first few minutes they didn’t have all that much to do, as Newcastle went on the offensive big time, once they were 2-0 down.
But of course Newcastle gave the game away with a couple of bad mistakes in the first few minutes and they couldn’t get out of the huge hole they had dug for themselves.
If they do the same think tonight then Spurs will simply bury us, it’s as easy as that, because the London side has so many different attacking options.
Gareth Bale will offer a tremendous challenge to Danny Simpson, and Rafael van der Vaart pops up all over the place to score goals, so he will also be a huge threat to Newcastle’s defense.
We have to think that Pardew will field another 4-5-1 formation, but of course somebody will have to come in for captain Kevin Nolan, who is suspended for this game after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season on Sunday.
Kevin will be a big miss, that’s for sure, and we wonder where the goals will come from if we only have big Andy up front.
We suppose Danny Guthrie could come in for Kevin, but Danny was woeful last time out at WBA, but he will probably relish an opportunity to show Pardew what he can do.
Tim Krul will keep his position in goal, after his first minute howler on Sunday, but only because Steve Harper is not match fit.
So we look to Tim Krul to have a very steady game in goal this afternoon, and just bang those balls up field – none of this close passing stuff – to the opposition.
We don’t see too many changes in the side today, even though this game comes 48 hours after the Man City game, and we should really be using the squad.
Shola Ameobi is still out because of his troublesome hamstring injury, and we really don’t see too many changes from the side on Boxing Day, and this is the side we think Alan will field tonight:
Simpson Taylor (S) Coloccini Enrique
Routledge Barton (c) Tiote Guthrie Gutierrez
Subs: Harper Williamson Perch Vuckic Smith Ranger Best
Unless Alan Smith plays we’re not sure who the captain will be today – but we’ll give it to Joey Barton, as surprising as that may seem to some people.
Of course Alan Pardew could also play Alan Smith in midfield, but that would mean both Tiote and Smith would be in the central midfield together, and we wouldn’t have too many attacking options, but it is certainly another possibility.
The keys to this game are obvious for Newcastle – we need to cut out the mistakes at the back and not give the opposition gift goals that we’ve done far too often in the last several games.
With Kevin Nolan missing, we’ll also need to be able to score some goals, which is maybe why Guthrie will get the nod over Alan Smith.
And at least Danny has scored some goals for Newcastle, which of course Alan hasn’t – even though he was signed by Sam Allardyce as a striker three and a half years ago.
We really have to get something out of this game today, otherwise we’ll continue on our really bad streak.
Let us know what Newcastle team you would field this afternoon.
Comments very welcome.