Demba Ba returns to the starting line-up this afternoon for Newcastle United against Aston Villa at St. James’ Park.
As expected Shola Ameobi makes way for the Senegal striker, and his team-mate Papiss Cisse is on the bench.
And James Perch comes in for Ryan Taylor in central midfield, again an expected change, after James’ great showing in the second half on Wednesday night at Blackburn.
And Ryan Taylor is preferred to Ben Arfa on the right wing, after the Frenchman’s mediocre performance in the first half at Blackburn.
Ba will partner Leon Best up front, and this looks like a decent team for Newcastle today.
The bench is strong – Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi and Papiss Cisse.
And in fact this is the side we had expected Alan Pardew to field today – you win some you lose some – let’s hope the lads can get all 3 points today.
For Villa, former Newcastle players Shay Given and Charles N’Zogbia both start, as does Stephen Ireland, who had a loan spell at Newcastle last year, and former Tottenham striker Robbie Keane is also in the starting eleven.
And we expect Papiss Cisse to make his debut some time in the second half this afternoon in that iconic number 9 shirt, in front of a hopefully full house at St. James’ Park, where a win will see Newcastle stay 5th in the Premier League, and continue their 100% record at home this year.
Howay The Lads!!
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Ryan Taylor, James Perch, Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez; Leon Best, Demba Ba
Subs: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse
Aston Villa – (4-4-2) Shay Given; Richard Dunne, Carlos Cuellar, Stephen Warnock, Alan Hutton; Stiliyan Petrov, Ciaran Clark, Charles N’Zogbia, Stephen Ireland; Robbie Keane, Darren Bent,
Subs: Brad Guzan, Emile Heskey, Eric Lichaj, Nathan Baker, Barry Bannan, Andreas Weimann, Gary Gardner