It’s an important Premier League game tomorrow, and in our view much more important than our last two games in the Europa League, although the lads looked great in both of those games, and we are now through to the round of the last 16 with an excellent chance of getting through to the quarter final stage, when we play Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala in the next round next month.
And that would be the first time we have reached the last eight in a European competition since the great Bobby Robson was our manager back in 2004, when we were beaten by Marseilles in the semi-finals by two Didier Drogba goals, and it was then called the UEFA Cup.
Tomorrow’s game against Southampton is very important and in today’s games QPR, Aston Villa and Reading have been beaten, along with Sunderland, so a win tomorrow could take us up to 14th position and 6 points off the drop zone – and 7 points if you take into account goal difference.
Alan Pardew has already said he really wants to win this game, after Newcastle’s rather pathetic display at St. Mary’s, when the Saints beat us 2-0 and the score-line could have been a lot worse on the day.
But Newcastle are now a different side from the side that lost on 25th November (my birthday as it happens), and we should give a much better account of yourselves tomorrow – we must give a much better account of ourselves tomorrow.
And the fact that it is French Day at St. James’ Park should do nothing but help the cause, and hopefully it will be a sell-out crowd at St. James’ Park that will only help Newcastle get the win we really need.
Tim Krul has an injured ankle and will definitely not play in this game, but Rob Elliot gets a well deserved league start – his very first in the Premier League – as Tim’s replacement in goal.
And even with the game last Thursday night in the Ukraine, Alan Pardew will still be able to bring in fresh faces for the game tomorrow, and we expect only four players to start who started in the Ukraine on Thursday night – Coloccini, Cabaye, Sissoko and Cisse, and the players coming in tomorrow are very good and will now know their starting places are under pressure.
We expect Alan to filed the following strong starting eleven – shown in a 4-3-3 formation:
Debuchy Coloccini (c) Taylor(S) Santon
Tiote Cabaye Gutierrez
Gouffran Cisse Sissoko
Subs: Harper Yanga-Mbiwa Haidara Anita Marveaux Obertan Ameobi (Sh)
A number of players could be selected for the subs bench tomorrow, but that is a very strong bench for Newcastle – which does not include Mike Williamson or Danny Simpson – who had an excellent game against Metalist.
In our poll at the moment a huge 84% expect Newcastle to win this game – and it’s another chance for the lads to show how good a team we now have, after the influx of five superb French players last month in the transfer window.
And since we have done so badly in the league from the start of November through the middle of January – we must try to win as many games as possible to get up that league table and finish in a reasonable position by May.
Alan Pardew will make each and every player aware that this is a game we must go all out to win tomorrow – against the club that sacked the Newcastle manager a short 30 months ago – and if we play as well as we have in our last five games that’s a very good possibility.
Let us know how you think the game will go tomorrow.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org