There were some good things to take out of the game for Newcastle fans in the 1-0 win against Wigan on Saturday.
Hatem Ben Arfa – likely start again on Wednesday in Carling Cup
Ben Arfa looked good in that second half, although he gave the ball away too many times, and Sylvain Marveaux again looked the part in a black and white shirt, and set up Yohan’s great goal, and Ryan Taylor hit that cross to Marveaux with his left foot – show off!
It’s even starting to look like Ryan is a natural left back these days. 😀
One thing that has gone Newcastle’s way so far this season, is the lack of injuries to the squad, with only Mike Williamson not available at the moment, but when the injuries come Newcastle are also in much better shape than they were last season.
Marveaux will come in on one of the wings on Wednesday evening at Blackburn, and he may have earned the chance to start a league game in place of Gabriel Obertan on the right wing, on current form.
Davide Santon will start on Wednesday, and probably at right back, and Shola Ameobi and maybe Peter Lovenkrands will also get a start.
But Alan Pardew is being a little coy on his team, and will not discuss it with the press, and this is what he said when asked what his team would be for the Carling Cup tie:
“I am not going to give any kind of indication what my team will be at all,’ ‘Why? Because I don’t want to.”
“I have got to keep the bench lively and we had players Saturday ho could not even make the bench like Lovenkrands. Nothing untoward there. Alan Smith has been terrific in the background and not had a chance.”
“I like it if everyone in the group is getting a piece of the action so I am spreading the bench around a bit at the moment, trying to keep our players mentally alive.”
“It is about making sure you use that competition in the right way. That is important because if you start worrying about what is on the bench you are not going to play well.”
Players being considered for a start will include Steve Harper, Davide Santon, Danny Guthrie, Mehdi Abeid, Sylvain Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Shane Ferguson, James Perch, Dan Gosling, Alan Smith and Ben Arfa and indeed Pardew could field a completely different side form the one that played on Saturday.
The challenge for Alan Pardew is to give some fringe players a game, without reducing the strength of the side too much, and it will not be easy as Blackburn played very well against Spurs yesterday afternoon, and fought very hard from start to finish.
It will be interesting to see if Steve Kean gives some fringe players a game or whether he plays his best side against Newcastle, as both West Ham and Birmingham did last year and reached the semi-finals as they also fought against relegation.
Of course both clubs ended up relegated and Birmingham won the thing by beating Arsenal at Wembley, and are now in the Europa Cup.
In fact they are on a good run right now with a 2-0 win at Bristol City yesterday afternoon, after beating Club Brugge 2-1 on Thursday evening in Belgium in the Europa Cup – they must have a good manager.