If Newcastle can beat QPR this afternoon, they will go into 6th position in the Premier League table.
That’s because the team above us in the league, Liverpool, and the team below us – Stoke City – drew 0-0 at at Anfield yesterday, and that was a disappointing result for Liverpool.
And after watching the performance of the Reds, we wonder how we could have conceded three goals against a very poor looking Liverpool attack a couple of weeks ago.
QPR have a new manager in Mark Hughes, and the players will be wanting to impress the former Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City and Fulham manager, in their very first game under the Welshman.
We expect Hughes to have a game plan which essentially defends stubbornly, and they’d be quite happy coming away with a draw, but QPR can make if very difficult for us tomorrow.
The challenge for Newcastle is to score the goals with the great Demba Ba on duty for Senegal in the African Cup of Nations.
And that’s one reason we think Shola Ameobi, Leon Best and Ben Arfa will all be in the starting line-up, because they can score goals.
Danny Guthrie is back in full training, and depending on how he has looked in training this week, he could come straight back into the team in central midfield to partner Yohan Cabaye, at the expense of 19 year-old Mehdi Abeid who had a good game last Saturday against Blackburn.
But we think Pardew will go for experience in this game.
Apparently Gabriel Obertan is still doubtful with that toe injury of his, but we think the former Red Devils player will make it on the bench, and the back four should remain unchanged from the last couple of games.
Peter Lovenkrands is not available still with his shin/calf injury, but Shane Ferguson is fit again and we think he could get a place on the bench.
This is the line-up we think Alan Pardew could go with this afternoon:
Simpson Williamson Coloccini (C) Santon
Ben Arfa Guthrie Cabaye Gutierrez
Best Ameobi (Sh)
Subs: Harper Perch Taylor (R) Obertan Gosling Abeid Ferguson
This is a game Newcastle will be expected to win, if we have any chance of finishing in the top seven, which still seems a possibility, if the lads can become solid again in defense.
Newcastle have kept three clean sheets in the last six games, and that’s what we’ll be hoping for tomorrow as well.
It’s also a chance for Best, Ameobi and Ben Arfa to show they can score goals in Demba Ba’s absence.
And young Danny Guthrie will be more than motivated to have a good game against QPR, as his four year contract at Newcastle runs out at the end of June, and he wants to stay on Tyneside, with his family settled in Newcastle.
In fact the starting eleven looks a good team, and one key to the game is that the defense is again very solid.
Ameobi and Best are both due some goals, and we have to hope the 24 year-old French wizard on the right wing will create some openings for the two strikers, and maybe smash another goal in for himself.
Ben Arfa is an important player for Newcastle this afternoon.
It will not be an easy game, and manager Pardew has said it’s an important game for the team, and if we can get all 3 points, we’ll move into 6th place one point above Liverpool, and that would be great.
This is the time for players like Ameobi, Best, Guthrie and Ben Arfa to shine, and take Newcastle to victory without two of our very best players – Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba – who will be looking for the lads to win.
And anything but a win this afternoon will be a disappointment.
Howay The Lads!!
Comments and your team for this afternoon are welcome.