A Newcastle win this afternoon against Stoke City could see Newcastle go into fourth place in the Premier League table.
Newcastle haven’t played since Easter Monday when in a difficult game we managed to take all three points with late goals from Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse.
It was a difficult game against the Trotters and it even looked like we would drop two points to the relegation fighting side, until Ben Arfa scored that amazing goal to put Newcastle ahead and Papiss Cisse got his 10th goal in 9 game after 83 minutes to seal the win.
Danny Guthrie and Cheick Tiote are fit again for this game, and we think Cheick will come straight back into the side in his central defensive midfield position.
And news yesterday that Sylvain Marveaux could even be available and it would be a bit of a shock if the makes it on the bench.
Leon Best is back fit again and we could see Leon back on the bench with Shola Ameobi, and we expect at least Shola to get a run-out this afternoon.
And one player who could possibly miss the game today, is our outstanding young Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul, who missed training yesterday with a back spasm.
While Alan Pardew said he thought Tim would be OK for the game today, that could be a shock when the team is announced at around 2:00 pm today.
Rob Elliott would be Tim’s replacement, and he would be making his Premier League debut, with the more experienced Steve Harper suffering currently from a knee injury.
Here’s the team we think Alan Pardew will start this afternoon:
Simpson Coloccini (c) Williamson Santon
Cabaye Tiote Gutierrez
Ben Arfa Cisse Demba Ba
Subs: Elliot Perch Guthrie Taylor (R) Ferguson Ameobi (Sh) Best
That’s a strong starting eleven and also a strong bench.
There’s no room there for young James Tavernier or Mehdi Abeid, and Haris Vuckic is currently injured, but it seems those younger players will be playing their part for Newcastle next season in Europe.
Newcastle will need to keep up their strong defensive work this afternoon, and we’ve only conceded one goal in the last five games, in amassing five wins and scoring 10 goals to improve our goal difference by +9.
And Stoke City are a much better team at home than they are on the road, and we’ll be hoping for all 3 points today.
If Newcastle are indeed to qualify for the Champions League next season, these are games we just have to win, and at least on paper, this looks to be the easiest of our remaining five games.
Most of our readers believe Newcastle can get the win today, with 90% thinking we can get all 3 points today.
And if you haven’t yet voted on the outcome of the game today – here’s your chance.
Howay The Lads!!