Newcastle United have won just one of their last 9 games.
That’s a statistic that’s just a little worrying and indeed in our last 8 league games we’ve won one and drawn five for 8 points from 8 games.
Newcastle need to get on their winning ways and soon, if the side is to effectively pull away from the relegation zone sooner rather than later.
With Newcastle just two points ahead of Stoke City, then the very last thing we want to see tomorrow is another Newcastle defeat, because then we’ll all have to stew in another defeat for two weeks.
And that’s just what we’ve just done over the last couple of weeks, after surprisingly losing our 6th home game of the season, to a struggling Everton side.
And in fact Newcastle have a more than decent away record in the Premier League this season, having won 5 and drawn three of the 14 matches so far, and that’s 18 points on the road from 14 games.
However, at home we have only 4 wins and 6 draws in our 15 home games – and just 18 points.
Unfortunately, Newcastle have one or two injuries of late, and Ryan Taylor is also suspended, so we could well be missing Jonas Gutierrez, Stephen Ireland and Jose Enrique tomorrow afternoon, and that’s in addition to long term injuries to Ben Arfa, Alan Smith and Dan Gosling.
For team selection purposes, we’ll assume Joey Barton is fit, and that being the case this is the side we’d like Alan Pardew to start tomorrow afternoon:
Simpson Coloccini Williamson Taylor (S)
Barton Tiote Nolan (c) Ferguson
Subs: Krul Campbell Perch Guthrie Richardson Lovenkrands Ranger
We think Taylor will be preferred to Shane Ferguson at the back, and that seems sensible to allow for greater height, heading ability and experience against a tough Stoke side, but we do hope that Shane gets his first Premier League start ever, out on the left wing, in place of Jonas.
However, we suspect Pardew will prefer Danny Guthrie to Ferguson, and play Danny out of position on the left wing.
It also seems to make sense to start Shola Ameobi up font, as both strikers can then lend a hand at the back in defending corners, and those long throw-ins from Rory Delap, because we’ll need all the help we can get in that department.
And we cannot even fill out the bench without again bringing in youngster Michael Richardson, who’ll get another taste of being part of the first team squad tomorrow.
Where’s Wayne Routledge when we need him – we really shouldn’t have allowed Wayne to leave on loan to QPR without bringing in a suitable replacement, which is what happened. And we’ll not even mention a replacement for Andy Carroll.
Good planning is to plan for the worst and hope for the best – and if you plan for the best, then the worst always happens, it’s sometimes called Murphy’s Law.
And that’s just exactly what has happened to Newcastle, with all the injuries we’ve had of late.
Newcastle have had two weeks to prepare for this rather tough game, and our hopes are high that this could be very like the game against Birmingham City, where the tactics used by Pardew were spot on, and gave Newcastle its only win in the last 9 games.
But it will not be easy, and it never is against a Stoke side who play very physically, and never give up.
But at least the lads should be able to match Stoke in fight and guts and if Joey Barton is in the side, we’ll have a decent chance of getting something out of the game, and a draw would be acceptable tomorrow, although Stoke did beat us 2-1 at St. James’ Park earlier this season.
A win would be tremendous and a defeat would be terrible, just about sums up this game.
Howay The Lads!!
Comments very welcome.