It’s another important game for Newcastle today at West Brom, and hopefully we can make amends for losing at St. James’ Park 3-2 in December.
It seems that Cheick Tiote will definitely miss this game, and others still injured at Newcastle for this game include Ryan Taylor, Sammy Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Leon Best, Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux.
Newcastle hope to have Ryan Taylor back for the Liverpool game next Sunday afternoon – and hopefully Cheick Tiote too.
West Brom is always a tough game, and especially since in their last two home games they have beaten Sunderland 4-0 and Chelsea 1-0 – so they look to be in form.
However they have 22 points on the road and only 16 points at home in the league, so generally this season the Potters have been a better road team than a home side.
With James Perch being the Man of the Match last Sunday against Norwich in defensive midfield, substituting for Tiote, we think Alan Pardew will again start James there today.
And that’s especially after he was also good in the second half at Blackburn in the same position, when we won 2-0 at Ewood Park.
Left back will be a question mark as Alan Pardew started Jonas Gutierrez there last Sunday, but his presence on the left wing was missed because of it.
James Perch played at left-back in the second half at Arsenal in place of Davide Santon and did quite well, but we’ll plump for Davide Santon coming back in at left-back today.
And who will get the second central midfield spot is a good question, as Cabaye and Guthrie are both available to play attacking midfield, but we’ll go for Cabaye, and Guthrie could start on the bench, unless he replaces Ben Arfa on the right wing.
This is the side we think Alan Pardew will field this afternoon at The Hawthorns:
Simpson Coloccini (c) Williamson Santon
Ben Arfa Cabaye Perch Gutierrez
Subs: Elliot Ferguson Guthrie Gosling Vuckic Obertan Ameobi (Sh)
We’re assuming Gabby Obertan is fit to play.
For West Brom, the bad news for us in that Peter Odemwingie returns to the side , but Chris Brunt and Graham Dorrans are out, which is good news – for Newcastle.
Speaking on the West Brom web-site yesterday, manager Roy Hodgson has this to say about injuries:
“Andrews, Morrison and Odemwingie are fine.” “Which is the good news.” ‘We have lost Graham Dorrans unfortunately.”
“He injured his hamstring, and it made itself ‘felt’ again. Brunt’s down with tonsillitis at the moment, Marton Fulop is still recovering from chicken pox.”
In the game on December 21st, West Brom’s game plan seemed to work to perfection, as they continually caught Newcastle short at the back, and the pacey Shane Long caused all kinds of trouble with our back four.
We lacked height at the back in that game, with Coloccini and Perch being the two central defenders, but we have Mike Williamson back in defense since that game.
The keys to the game for Newcastle are that we put in another solid performance in defense, and hopefully we can get our second clean sheet in a row, and the 11th of the season.
And we have to hope that James Perch again has a good game today in defensive midfield, and that our two top strikers – Papiss Cosse and Demba Ba – can get the goals.
Certainly we are expecting Demba Ba to score at least one today.
We’d be happy enough with a point today, but we should be going all out for a win in every one of the remaining 9 games of the season.
A win this afternoon would be fantastic, and would put Newcastle joint 5th in the league with Chelsea on 50 points.
Howay The Lads!!