The game today in East Anglia against Norwich City will see the debut of new signing Mathieu Debuchy, and it could even be the last game ever played for Newcastle by captain Fabricio Coloccini, after his shock request yesterday to leave Newcastle to join San Lorenzo in Argentina for personal reasons.
And that shock request by the Newcastle captain, said to do with the ill health of his wife, is the very last thing Newcastle needed for this game, and the very last thing we want to hear as we try to strengthen our squad in the January transfer window after Demba Ba, our top scored left to join Chelsea for bigger wages.
And this game comes after a diabolical display by a Newcastle team last Saturday at Brighton in the 2-0 loss in the FA Cup 3rd round tie, one of the worst displays by a Newcastle side in a long time.
The team news for Newcastle is that Shola Ameobi will be serving his one-match ban for getting sent off at Brighton in the second half, and Cheick Tiote is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast, for the second successive year.
However, there’s some good news in all of this - if you look for it deep enough – and Newcastle will have striker Papiss Cisse (thigh) and midfielders Yohan Cabaye (groin) and Jonas Gutierrez (knee) all returning from injury, as well as new signing Mathieu Debuchy set to play his first game.
We are hoping that Yohan Cabaye will start the game and he could make a big difference for Newcastle - we hope he makes a big difference for Newcastle.
There is a doubt about versatile James Perch, who injured his knee in the first half last Saturday, and Steven Taylor (hamstring), Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring), Dan Gosling (ankle), Danny Simpson (hamstring), Ryan Taylor (knee) and Haris Vuckic (knee) are all out with injuries, although Steven Taylor is expected to return for the home game with Reading next Saturday.
For Norwich their captain and dangerous striker Grant Holt (hamstring) and former Leeds man Jonny Howson look likely to make the game, but striker Steve Morison (thigh), goalkeeper John Ruddy (thigh), midfielder Andrew Surman (knee) and defender Steven Whittaker (hip) will all miss this game.
It’s been some week for Alan Pardew, following the terrible performance at Brighton last Saturday - and the recent news regarding the Newcastle captain – and the manager had this to say about the opposition yesterday:
“It’s a tough place to go and they are on a tricky run themselves. Someone will end up with a really good day and hopefully it’s us. We really need to get some momentum, for our fans who we really let down last week. We have to give a really good account of ourselves at Norwich and start putting some points on the board.”
If we assume that James Perch will be fit, this is a possible starting team today at Carrow Road:
Debuchy Williamson Coloccini (c) Santon
Perch Cabaye Anita
Marveaux Cisse Gutierrez
Subs: Harper Tavernier Bigirimana Ferguson Abeid Obertan Ameobi (Sa)
This is yet another important game for us, and another loss would send us further down the league table from our current position of 6th bottom, and only add to the gloom and doom, which is rising rapidly because of the recent Fabricio Coloccini news .
The news has shocked Newcastle fans, and certainly shocked the living daylights out of me yesterday.
We beat Norwich at St. James Park earlier this season on 23rd September, with a goal from Demba Ba, who has now left us of course.
Today’s meeting is the 50th match between the two clubs, and the 48th in the league, and another defeat by Newcastle would be the 10th loss in the last 122 league games, and if we are going to survive in the Premier League this season, we will have to start winning some of these games shortly.
We had better start on that track this afternoon and get all 3 points.
Let us know how you think the game today will turn out.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org