Newcastle have never won at the Britannia Stadium, so tonight is as good a time as any to start.
Tonight’s game will be a tough test for Newcastle, because they are coming off their very first defeat of the season, and it will be interesting to see how the lads respond.
It’s always a tough game for any team at the Britannia stadium, and tonight will be no exception, but the lads do have the added incentive that if they can remain undefeated, then Newcastle will move into 3rd place in the Premier League, and it’s a long long time since Newcastle were so high up in the league.
It will in all likelihood be changed side from the one that started at Wigan nine days ago, since both Cheick Tiote and Leon Best are both doubtful for this game.
Leon has tonsillitis, but the local papers today are reporting he’s still a possibility to start tonight, and Cheick Tiote is 50-50 and will undergo a fitness test before kick-off.
We don’t expect either player to be in the starting line-up tonight, and expect Danny Guthrie to continue in the central midfield position, after such a good performance on Wednesday at Blackburn.
In place of Best, Pardew can play either Peter Lovenkrands or Ben Arfa, and we think he’ll stick with Ben Arfa, even though the Frenchman did not have such a good game last Wednesday night.
So this is the side we expect Alan Pardew to start tonight:
Simpson Coloccini (c) Taylor (S) Taylor (R)
Obertan Guthrie Cabaye Gutierrez
Subs: Elliot Santon Perch Gosling Marveaux Lovenkrands Ameobi (Sa)
Marveaux could get the start in front of Obertan and there’s a small possibility that Italian Davide Santon could start in place of Danny Simpson at right back.
If Newcastle are to get anything out of this game the defense will need to have one of their better nights, and that Steven Taylor, playing in his protective mask for the first time, has a strong game with Coloccini in the center of the Newcastle defense.
Danny Guthrie will need to have another excellent game in midfield, and maybe Yohan Cabye can score a third goal in as many games for the Magpies.
Newcastle will have been preparing for a very physical game tonight, and will have been practicing how to defend those long throw-ins from Rory Delap, as well as the other set plays Stoke rely so much on for their goals.
If Newcastle can remain unbeaten in the league tonight, then they will move at least one point ahead of Chelsea and into 3rd position in the Premier League, and it would certainly be great if Newcastle can do that tonight.
We’d be very satisfied with a draw tonight, but a a win would be absolutely fantastic.
What we certainly do not want to see is a second defeat in a row, after going so long undefeated.
Howay The Lads!!