The game against Bolton is a really important one tomorrow afternoon, because a win will see Newcastle overtake Bolton in the league and into at least 8th position.
And of course there’s one other reason why the lads must go all out for all 3 points tomorrow, and that’s because at the Reebok Stadium on 20th November, Bolton took us apart and inflicted our worst defeat of the season, by a score of 5-1.
And it looks like the defense will be unchanged from that game, with Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini again at the center of the Newcastle defense.
Fabricio was sent off in the second half, after elbowing the big Swede Johan Elmander, and that was shortly after Johan had embarrassed Coloccini down the left wing, by stealing the ball and going through to get an unlikely goal – a terrible error by the usually classy Argentine.
And in the first half Mike Williamson seemed to hit Johan in the chest, and after the game he was charged with violent conduct, and so both Coloccini and Williamson we suspended for the next 3 games. And as we all know by the time they could return, manager Chris Hughton had been sacked, and that was partly because of the terrible defeat we suffered at Bolton.
So, in short, it was a terrible game for the Magpies.
And in case we needed another reason to win tomorrow, the Evening Chronicle has a story today, saying that Newcastle have not won a Premier league game that started at 3:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon, since August 23rd, 2008? Who looks up these things up? 😀
Kevin Keegan was still at the club at that time, and was in charge of Newcastle, and Kevin Nolan was still at Bolton.
That was the second game of what turned out to be a relegation season, and it was a close game, but Michael Owen scored the winner after 71 minutes, but that was after Kevin Nolan had missed a penalty for Bolton after 59 minutes, with Shay Given well saving to his left.
That’s the last time the lads won a game that kicked off on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 pm – apparently – and just for the memories – good or bad – here was the team that day:
Beye Coloccini, Taylor N’Zogbia
Milner Butt (c) Guthrie Gutierrez
Subs: Harper Enrique Owen Bassong Smith Geremi Edgar
Only 7 players from that squad of 18 are still at the club – amazing.
And since we captured 4 points from the first 2 games that season, who would have ever thought we would have ended up relegated?
Well – let’s forget about that – I’m starting to get a headache.
Even though Steven Taylor seems to be fit again following his hamstring injury, we expect Alan Pardew to name an unchanged side from that which did so very well at Birmingham a week last Tuesday night with a great 2-0 win.
Shola Ameobi is not yet fit, and Ben Arfa, Stephen Ireland, Dan Gosling, Danny Guthrie and Alan Smith are also out injured, so here’s that side with the likely subs:
Simpson Coloccini Williamson Enrique
Barton Nolan (c) Tiote Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Campbell Perch Taylor (S) Taylor (R) Kuqi Ranger
That’s a decent side, and on or near their best form, the lads could well collect all 3 points.
The defense will need to be on their best form, and hopefully can add to their 4 clean sheets so far in 2011, and of course they were terrible at the Reebok, so this is a good chance to make up for that very poor performance.
The other key to Newcastle wining is whether we can take our chances, and both Best and Lovenkrands showed they could just that the last time out, and all the players should be full of confidence, with only a single defeat in our 8 league games this year – forget about Stevenage.
There’s no doubt that a second league win on the trot, will bring back the feel-good factor to Tyneside, and put Newcastle up to at least 8th position in the league.
And if Sunderland don’t win tomorrow at Everton, Newcastle will be up to 7th place.
So there’s everything to play for tomorrow, and through the end of the season too, and who would have thought Newcastle could be in with a fighting chance for European qualification in our first seaosn back?
Howay The Lads!!