Newcastle will play three games in the next eight days, two in the league and the second leg of the Europa League tie with Anzhi Makhachkala, and the results of these three games could tell us how we will end up this season.
If we can a win on Thursday night, we’ll go through to the quarter finals of the Europa League, and probably the easiest of the three games – next week we are at Wigan – is today’s game with Stoke City, and it seems that the fans are expecting a win with around 90% voting that way in our poll.
In the game at the Britannia Stadium earlier in the season, we were winning comfortable by a Papiss Cisse goal, until we crumbled in the last 10 minutes and conceded two goals and lost the game 2-1 – and Alan Pardew talked about that loss:
“We actually played very well that night.”“I think they were fortunate to win. Having said that, we are a lot stronger now. We’ve got a lot more creativity in the team, and power.”
“You have to be prepared for what they deliver.They are very strong at set plays, one of the strongest in the division.” “On the upside for us is our pace, movement and creativity. That’s what we’ve got to lean on if we’re going to win.”
“It’s our game plan against theirs really. Hopefully we can cope with theirs and they struggle to cope with our structure.”
Alan Pardew has said today that Ben Arfa will not start this game, and we still have Tim Krul and Fab Coloccini out of the side injured, so given that – maybe this is the side that will start this afternoon:
Debuchy Taylor (S) Yanga-Mbiwa Santon
Gouffran Tiote Cabaye (c) Sissoko Gutierrez
Subs: Alnwick Haidara Perch Anita Marveaux Ben Arfa Obertan
Let us know which team you would start today.
That side has seven changes from the side that started on Thursday night, so it shows just how strong our squad has become with the five new Frenchmen acquired in January – we are now a completely different side – and so much better.
Last season we won this game comfortably by 3-0, and another scoreline like that would see us move up four places up the league table and ahead of Sunderland, Norwich, Stoke and West Ham.
And our full record against Stoke is played 84, won 41, lost 24 and drew 19.
Stoke will be without German International Robert Huth, who is suspended, and in their last eight league games Stoke have had a rough time of it – they have lost five and only won once, against Reading at home.
Here’s what the Newcastle manager has said about this game:
“It’s an important week for us. We’ve got Stoke at home, Wigan away and a Europa League game in the middle, so it’s very important. But we are in good form and looking forward to it.”
“A result against Stoke would go a long way to securing our Premier League status and relieve a bit of pressure on where we find ourselves. It would be nice to get a result on Sunday.”
We started slowly against Southampton in our last home game, and we were 1-0 down after just three minutes – so it will be important to start this game on the front foot today.
We hope to get all 3 points in the bag, and then we can look forward to Thursday night’s game and possibly going through to the quarter finals of the Europa League.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org