With Arsenal surprisingly loosing 2 points yesterday and drawing 3-3 at home to Norwich City, Newcastle’s home game with league leaders Manchester City takes on even more prominence today – if that’s possible.
That makes it one defeat and three draws in the last four games for Arsenal - and that’s 9 points dropped, and both Newcastle and Tottenham are now only 2 points behind the Gunners with a game in hand, and those games are to be played today.
The top game is Newcastle vs Manchester City which has a 1:30 pm kick-off at St. James’ Park, and that’s followed by Tottenham at Aston Villa in a 2:00 pm kick off time, and then Manchester United at home to Swansea at 4:00pm.
If Newcastle can beat Manchester City and make it eight wins out of nine games Newcastle will be above Arsenal and at least in 4th place.
The Magpies could be even higher than that, depending on Tottenham’s result, and if Tottenham don’t win and Newcastle do, the lads will go 3rd top with one game to play.
Third top of the league this year will definitely get a European Champions League position although 4th may not, if Chelsea win the Champions League on May 19th, in Munich against Bayern Munich.
Cheick Tiote is expected to be fit for this game, and seemingly will have recovered from the bad gash he suffered in our 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Danny Simpson is not expected to be fit, and James Perch – Perchinho – will again deputize at right -back.
The same team that beat Chelsea 2-0 last Wednesday is expected to line up today, against the best team money can buy – Manchester City - where the amount their owners have spent on the team is estimated to be from £600M to £800M, in under four years.
It’s simply nonsense that wild spending like that is still allowed, and City are apparently going after Robin van Persie in the summer, in a £40M bid, and this from a club who lost £197M in their last financial year.
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Gabby Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux are fit again for Newcastle, and are expected to be on the bench, as they were at Stamford Bridge.
So this is the side we expect Newcastle manager Alan Pardew to field this afternoon.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; James Perch, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon: Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez; Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba; Papiss Cisse
Substitutes: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux, Shola Ameobi
There will be a sell-out crowd at St. James’ Park today where a nine foot tall bronze statue of the great Bobby Robson will be unveiled at 10:30 am, and that should give our players a little more inspiration – if they need any more.
Keys to this game are that Newcastle start this game like a steam train, and don’t let Manchester City get an early lead, and that the defense is somewhere near their best.
And of course we have to hope that Papiss Cisse is again on form, although we expect Demba Ba to get back on the goals trail very soon.
A win today and the roof at St. James’ Park will be blown off by the over 52,000 fans that will be at the game, for the last home game of the season.
And this is the most important game Newcastle have played since their relegation season, and it’s a real chance to qualify for the Champions League, if the lads can get the win.
Let us know how you think this game will go today.
Howay The Lads!!