Demba Ba returns today to St. James Park in a Chelsea shirt, and he will be one of the danger men for the reigning European Champions.
Newcastle lifted the gloom and doom on Tyneside last Tuesday night with a vital 2-1 win at Aston Villa.
That was after we played miserably in the second half of our last game at home to Reading, when we allowed Reading to win for the first time at Newcastle in eight visits, after losing the previous seven – and that was their first away win of the season.
And that was after we were 1-0 up after 70 minutes – but Newcastle have a bad knack of giving away goals (and therefore points) late in games this season, and the same thing almost happened last Tuesday night – but we just hung on for the win – our first away win of the season.
Newcastle should be able to field a strong side this afternoon and Alan Pardew could well decide to start the same side as he did on Tuesday night, even though Sylvain Marveaux and Gabby Obertan are now fit.
Long term injured players Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic and Dan Gosling are not fit for this game – but Dan is back in training – and Ben Arfa is still out with that hamstring injury – but expected back in a couple of weeks.
Here’s the side from Tuesday night and the probable substitutes today.
Debuchy Coloccini (c) Taylor (S) Santon
Perch Cabaye Sissoko Gutierrez
Subs: Harper Williamson Yanga-Mbiwa Anita Obertan Marveaux Ameobi (Sh)
That must be the strongest bench we’ve had this season and Perch could be replaced by Marveaux in the starting line-up.
And this is what Alan Pardew said about the opposition today, and he’s hoping there will be extra pressure on the visitors:
“Just recently, a little bit of pressure has fallen their way because of a few draws, when they have actually looked like they were going to win games. Sometimes you play really well but can’t get over the line and get a win, and I think that’s where they are at.”
“They will be searching for that against us, and I am hoping that we can stay in the game and they get edgy towards the end and we see a victory out.”
We have to move away from the relegation zone as quickly as we can, and get those 40 points – which usually gives teams safety from relegation, although West Ham were relegated under Glenn Roeder with 42 points back in 2003.
In the game at Stanford Bridge back on August 25th we were well beaten 2-0, so it would be good to level things this afternoon with a win – which is really what we want to see.
Then we’ll really be buzzing.
Let us know how you think the game will go today – and the team you would start today.
Finally I’ve been asked to remind Newcastle Supporters attending the game that the Safe Standing Roadshow will be at Newcastle today. This is an important day for the campaign to allow fans the choice of standing and if successful will offer safe standing areas with cheaper prices and hopefully a terrific atmosphere!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org