Hatem Ben Arfa is the surprise selection for the Newcastle team today against Spurs at St. James’ Park, as we had been led to believe he would’t be ready for the game today or on Thursday in Athens, but captain Coloccini hadn’t made it and is ruled out with a slight thigh strain.
That’s good news about Ben Arfa for Newcastle fans, and we have to think he is not only fit but has been impressive in training too.
But Coloccini is not even on the bench, so that’s another surprise, and James Perch comes in to partner Steven Taylor at the back, which is surprising since Mike Williamson is on the bench.
Mike may be paying for a poor game he put in last Saturday at Cardiff City, but some more good news is that both Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba are fit and start up front in a 4-4 2 formation.
And Yohan Cabaye also starts, so this is almost the best team Newcastle can put out today, apart from Colo, so maybe some mind games were being played by Alan Pardew leading up to the game.
The bench is very strong – Steve Harper, Ryan Taylor, Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan and Shola Ameobi – and it does look like Steve Harper is back as number two goalkeeper to Tim Krul.
Jonas is the captain today.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, James Perch, Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez (c); Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse
Substitutes: Steve Harper, Ryan Taylor, Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi
Tottenham Hotspur: (4-2-3-1): Brad Friedel; Benoit Assou-Ekotto, William Gallas, Younes Kaboul, Kyle Walker; Jake Livermore, Sandro; Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Aaron Lennon; Jermain Defoe
Substitutes: Carlo Cudicini, Kyle Naughton, Jan Vertonghen, Jermaine Jenas, Andros Townsend, Rafael van der Vaart, Harry Kane,