It’s kind of hard to think too much about the game after next – even through it is against local rivals Sunderland – because first things first, and Newcastle have a vital home match tonight against Benfica, that we have to somehow navigate through first.
Alan Pardew – Sunderland are slight favorites
Alan was asked about the Sunderland game in yesterday’s press conference for tonight’s game, and he thought Sunderland were slight favorites because we have a game a few days before the derby game.
Alan was asked whether having the Benfica game in the week before meeting Sunderland was helpful to him (no way) – and this is what the Newcastle manager said, probably with tongue in cheek:
“I don’t think so.” “I think it’s a disadvantage for us. To play Thursday night, and their management here to watch us go through a really tough game, is what I would want as an opposing manager.”
“I think Sunderland will be slight favorites for that game. Having said that, it’s all about Benfica for now.” “We’ll see where we are after the game.”
“It’s like anything else – you’re going to have ups and downs when you come to a new club.” “The more experience you get in this division, the more you get used to it.”
“It’s a learning experience for them, but they’re doing well.”
Newcastle have not done well at all on the road this season, although we should have won the game at the Stadium of Light in October, if Cheick Tiote hadn’t got himself sent off in the first half, when we were winning 1-0 and looking very comfortable.
And if Newcastle can win the game on Sunday, it will start to look difficult for Sunderland, and we’ll be 8 points ahead of them – whereas a Sunderland win (heaven forbid) will take us back to fighting against relegation.
A draw will be in Newcastle’s favor, since we’ll still be 5 points above the Black Cats, and Sunderland need wins to get away from the relegation zone..
But the main thing today is the game tonight – obviously, and Sunderland can wait until tomorrow – but the good news is we’ll have Ben Arfa, Mathieu Debuchy and Cheick Tiote ready to come in fresh for the Sunderland game and start – and that will help.
Even Steven Taylor may be available, but we’re not sure if he can recover before Sunday, from the knock he got on his knee yesterday morning in training.
We hope so – it’s always good to have a Geordie in the team against Sunderland.
Note: For those attending Thursday’s game (and Sunday too) please bring your scarves to the the game, as there is an effort to recreate the atmosphere at Alan Shearer’s testimonial, and hopefully inspire our lads to two famous wins.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org