Newcastle fans will get a chance to see just how good the new Newcastle side is tomorrow afternoon, when the lads take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, and in the same fixture last season we were taken apart 5-0 by Harry Redknapp’s side.
And the Newcastle squad has been strengthened further this week with the return of Cheick Tiote from the African Cup of Nations, after last year’s beaten finalists were defeated 2-1 by Nigeria in this year’s quarter-final stage, and Cheick scored the only goal for his country.
But we doubt that Newcastle will want to change a side that has done so well over the last two games, and surprising as it may sound, the Brazilian James “Perchinho” Perch (just kidding) is likely to keep his place as the defensive midfielder player, as he allows the more skilled and creative Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko attack the opposition.
James is an unsung hero at Newcastle, and he reminds us a lot of Nobby Styles in the England World Cup winning side of 1966, James is not as talented as the rest of the squad, but he plays a vital role in the side nevertheless.
Ben Arfa is still out injured for a couple of weeks, and we are assuming Dan Gosling is not fit yet, and of course long term casualties Ryan Taylor and Haris Vuckic will not return until pre-season.
So we expect Alan Pardew to name an unchanged side for the third game in a row, for tomorrow’s early kick-off game (12:45 pm), and the questions will be about which players make the bench this Saturday.
Here’s the side we think Alan will start tomorrow and the subs:
Debuchy Coloccini (c) Taylor (S) Santon
Perch Cabaye Sissoko Gouffran Gutierrez
Subs: Harper Yanga-Mbiwa Anita Marveaux Tiote Obertan Ameobi (Sh)
And that’s about the strongest bench we’ve had all season long and no place for Mike Williamson, Danny Simpson, Haidara, Sammy Ameobi or Gael Bigirimana.
Our next game against FC Metalist Kharkiv next Thursday night at home will probably see a very strong second team start at St. James’ Park, and we expect a decent crowd at that game too.
This is what the Newcastle manager has said about the tough game tomorrow in north London:
“We had three or four tricky days last year and at Tottenham was one of them. Spurs played very, very well that day and we caught them on a day when it was all coming together. This will be a different scenario. We have got ourselves on the up a little bit and hopefully we can turn the result around.”
For Tottenham, England striker Jermain Defoe picked up an ankle injury in the 1-0 win at West Brom last weekend, and is out for three or four weeks, but it looks like Togo striker and former Arsenal and Manchester City player Emmanuel Adebayor will arrive in London today, from the African Cup of Nations, but whether he will start tomorrow or not – we don’t know.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas is short of strikers up front, and he may even play winger Gareth Bale up front as a striker, and Gareth scored a terrific winner against WBA last weekend - and he will be the danger man for Spurs tomorrow.
Brazilian midfielder Sandro and defender Younes Kaboul both have knee injuries and will not play tomorrow.
It’s a tough test for our lads tomorrow, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to hope we can take something out of this game, and do a lot better than we did last season in the same fixture.
Let us know how you think the game will go tomorrow afternoon.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org