There are important Premier League games and important Premier League games, but this one is extra important, after we lost to West Ham United last Sunday – a team we hammered 5-0 in the corresponding fixture two years ago, and we have only three wins in our first eleven league games, compared to seven at the same time last season.
This is almost a must win game today for Newcastle, and the thing we’ll be looking for is some energy, enthusiasm and determination from the Newcastle players as soon as the first whistle blows.
But it could be another frustrating game for our fans to watch, as Swansea play a possession game, made famous by Barcelona, and it could be difficult for Newcastle to see much of the ball today.
And we have some doubts as to who can play today.
Yohan Cabaye is definitely out with a groin problem, and Fabricio Coloccini is suspended, and Jonas Gutierrez is out with his knee injury, although is expected to return at Southampton, in our next league game.
And there’s some nonsense going on about Papiss Cisse, with Senegal upset the player pulled out of the mid-week friendly game with Niger, and they may activate the five-day rule which will rule Cisse out of the game today.
Dan Gosling, Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic and James Perch are all out injured.
And Alan Pardew talked yesterday about today starting a hectic spell of games for Newcastle:
“I think we’ve got four games in nine days form Saturday.” “It’s a tough schedule for us and we’re feeling the pressure of that with the injuries we’ve got at the moment and the squad depth and we’re going to have to make sure we come through this period stronger with some solid results.” “It’s a big week for us.”
Cheick Tiote is back today, and he will start in central midfield and we hope he provides the energy we have been missing, but we also hope he can go through this game without picking up yet another caution from the referee.
We’re not sure whether Sammy Ameobi is fit, but we’ll assume he isn’t – so here’s a possible team Alan Pardew could start today:
Simpson Taylor (S) (c) Williamson Santon
Ben Arfa Tiote Anita Bigirimana Ferguson
Subs: Elliot Tavernier Marveaux Abeid Ameobi (Sh) Obertan Cisse
With Newcastle failing to take control of midfield in many games this season, and with Yohan Cabaye missing through injury today, we think Pardew has a chance of starting in a 4-5-1 formation, to flood the midfield so we can get a grip on the game.
He may also elect to play in a 4-3-3 formation, after severe criticism of the 4-4-2 formation he habitually plays, and we really cannot afford two strikers up front, when we cannot get the ball in the center of the park.
We have to hope we can win this home game against a side below us in the Premier League table.
Let us know how you think the game will go – and what team would you start today?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org