Newcastle face a tough game at St. Jmes’k tomorrow against Chelsea, who are one point and one place below them in the Premier League.
Newcastle only need to draw this game to keep themselves in 4th position in the league and that will be the minimum that Alan Pardew will want to get out of the game.
But with the game a sell out more than a week ago, the Newcastle manager will want to get a win, so that the Newcastle fans can celebrate big time in Newcastle tomorrow night.
And who knows, a win and Alan may even take his wife down to the City center tomorrow night too.
Newcastle have today delayed the full tribute to Gary Speed until the game two weeks tomorrow against Welsh side Swansea City, at the request of Gary’s widow Louise. It seems appropriate that teh tribute will now be when Swansea City visit St. James’ Park.
But there will still be a minute’s round of applause before the game, and the Newcastle fans are hoping that there will many black and white scarfs at the game, so they can honor Gary Speed by waving the scarfs.
It may be a good time to play the Chelsea side who have lost three of their last five league games at QPR (1-0), at home to Arsenal (5-3) and at home to Liverpool (2-1), so the Pensioners seem to be vulnerable at this stage of the season.
The Chelsea defense has not been playing with John Terry seemingly past his best, and David Luiz all over the place when he’s played at center-back.
As far as Newcastle’s team for tomorrow goes, we had the surprise news that Cheick Tiote will again be out injured, which has fueled rumors that he’s being kept to sell to Chelsea in early January.
And just today Alan Pardew has talked again about Cheick’s injury, which means the Ivorian will miss his sixth consecutive game tomorrow:
“I want to apologise to them. That’s my fault, in a way.” “It’s a niggling injury. He hasn’t had a setback. It’s not his groin, and there’s nothing else going on.”“It’s still his knee, but it’s taking longer than we had hoped.” “I said he would play this week, and he’s not going to play, so I’m not going to say he’s going to play at Norwich.”
T“It’s going to take a while.” “Cheick’s a bit down about it. He’s desperate to play as he’s missed three big games.” “We’ve got to manage Cheick and get him back to his best as quick as we can.”
“He’s a very important player.”
Some of the papers today were talking about a groin strain that Cheick had suffered, so at least Pardew has said it’s still his knee, which he injured in the home game against Wigan Athletic back on 22nd October – so he’ll be out at least seven weeks with the injury.
It says something of Danny Guthrie’s form that Tiote’s absence has not caused a big hiccup in Newcastle’s form, and the lads are still 4th top of the league.
Mike Williamson is still out, but Leon Best if fit again, although Jonas Gutierrez will miss the game with a one match suspension following his sending off last Saturday at Old Trafford in the terrific 1-1 draw that the Magpies came away with, much to the anger of Alex Ferguson.
And we think it’s almost certain that Sammy Ameobi will start on the left wing, and otherwise it will be an unchanged side from last week:
Simpson Taylor (S) Coloccini ( Taylor (R)
Obertan Cabaye Guthrie Ameobi (Sa)
Subs: Harper Santon Perch Gosling Ameobi (Sh) Best Lovenkrands
If Newcastle are to do well in this game the defense will once again need to be in top form, and maybe they can get their 5th clean sheet of the season.
Newcastle must also press the Chelsea defense, and we think the two wingers Ameobi and Obertan could be key, as they run at the Chelsea defense, and try to get around the back of the two full-backs.
Demba Ba has looked sharp and he is due a goal from open play, and this lad hasn’t missed too many chances this season.
And we also hope to see Ben Arfa continue his slow return to his top form, as the Frenchman will take on the Chelsea players when he gets anywhere near the penalty area.
So even though Newcastle are short of two key players in Tiote and Gutierrez, it is still a very good starting eleven, with a decent bench, and a big chance for young Sammy Ameobi to show the home fans what he can do.
Let’s hope he frightens the life out of the aging Chelsea defense tomorrow afternoon.
In this fixture last season Newcastle got a 1-1 draw, and we’d be happy enough with a point, but if Newcastle are to continue to shock the football world this season, they will need a win.
We think that is very possible if the lads play anywhere near their best form in front of 52,000 mad screaming Geordies who will be winning them to win.
Howay The Lads!!