Newcastle are now in 12th position in the league and just 3 points above the third bottom side, which before today’s game against Arsenal was Birmingham City.
And as we all know the next two games that Newcastle play are against 4th bottom Wigan Athletic, and previous rock bottom side, but now 6th bottom West Ham United, who moved up five places today after their good 2-0 win at home to Wolves.
So these next two games are obviously crucial to Newcastle United, and we need to quickly pick up some points.
Since we hammered Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates, in the last 8 games since then, we have but one win and two draws and five defeats, and that record is not good enough if we are to stay in the Premier League.
We’ve also leaked far too many goals, and one area that Newcastle must improve on is their defense.
With both Coloccini and Steven Taylor looking quite solid in the last couple of games, and Enrique back from injury tomorrow, we will probably have the best defense Newcastle can field right now.
Steve Harper comes back in goal, after being out since September with his shoulder injury he picked up at Everton, and that’s a little unlucky on 22 year-old Tim Krul, who has proved in his run in the first team, that the Dutchman is the future Newcastle goalkeeper.
But what Steve will provide the team is some experience at the back, and we hope he’s also in top form tomorrow.
So with Andy Carroll sadly missing this game, we have to think that Alan Pardew will play Ameobi up front in a 4-5-1 formation, and this is the team we expect tomorrow, unless there are more injury surprises as happened before the Spurs game.
Simpson Coloccini Taylor S Enrique
Routledge Barton Tiote Nolan (c) Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Perch Williamson Smith Guthrie Lovenkrands Ranger
The keys to this game as always, is that the Newcastle team can put in a solid defensive performance, and not give away any sloppy goals, as we seem to keep doing.
And Wigan cannot be underestimated, because they can play very well at times, but if anything they are even more inconsistent than Newcastle this season, and their strength is not their defense.
But the Latics outplayed Newcastle at St. James’ Park earlier this season, and were 2-0 up in the first half, before Newcastle fought back and got a last gasp injury time equalizer, through a header from Fab Coloccini.
Newcastle cannot afford to start slowly tomorrow, and a first half like the lads put in at Tottenham last week would be good – but please not like the first 5 minutes against Man City.
Newcastle if anything, have a better squad than Wigan, and in the second half can push on and see if we can see some goals without Andy Carroll in the side.
With former Newcastle winger Charles N’Zogbia being out suspended after his sending off against Arsenal in mid-week, we had thought Newcastle would have had an advantage, but then we heard yesterday that Andy Carroll will miss tomorrow’s game with a thigh injury.
But the likes of Ameobi and Lovenkrands now have a chance to earn their wages, while big Andy is out injured by playing well, with spirit and smash in a few of those goals.
We must get something out of this game tomorrow, and a win is what we really need, since draws are not much good these days, other than tomorrow a draw will at least stop Wigan from gaining any points on Newcastle.
Then we have to play West Ham on Wednesday night at home, and the Hammers have garnered 7 points from their 3 Christmas games, so have gained 7 points on Newcastle in just one week.
Let’s hope that’s down to 4 points by tomorrow and then 1 point on Wednesday.
A win is what we want tomorrow at the DW Stadium, and there’s no reason at all the lads cannot do that – as long as we play close to our best form.