Newcastle face a rather tough game at Aston Villa this afternoon, against a side that is much improved from last season, and will be hungry for all three points after losing to Chelsea and Liverpool in their last two league games, after they had a great win at Arsenal (3-1) in the first game of the season.
And today’s game ends a two-week International break, and after all the players on International duty returned on Thursday, Newcastle seem to have a clean bill of health with every one of Newcastle’s first team squad fit.
We wonder how many times that will happen this season?
But it does mean Alan Pardew will have his strongest team and on the field, and with some excellent subs who can change the game in the second half.
Newcastle started the season in disaster mode at Manchester City almost four weeks ago with a 4-0 thrashing for the second successive season at the Emirates, but in the three games since then we have not conceded a goal and have picked up 4 points from our last two home games.
And if Yoan Gouffran had been able to take that huge chance in added time against the Hammers, we could even have had three successive wins, after our 2-0 win at Morecambe in the Capital One Cup.
Three clean sheets is very good and a key to this game will be how our defense plays against a very good Villa attack.
Steven Taylor is now able to play after he has served his three match ban for stupidly fouling Sergio Aguero just before half-time in that first league game, but we think Yanga-Mbiwa will keep his place alongside captain Colo at the back, following some solid displays.
And there is competition for places all over the field for this game, and we don’t think Cheick Tiote will make the team, assuming Pardew ill start with two strikers ip front, Loic Remy and Papiss Cisse.
Pardew may play a 4-5-1 type formation with only on e striker, but we also have to be able to attack the opposition, and a win is what Newcastle will be going for this afternoon.
Here’s what we think the team and subs will be today:
Debuchy Yanga-Mbiwa Coloccini Santon
Ben Arfa Sissoko Cabaye Gutierrez
Subs: Elliot Taylor (S) Anita Tiote Ameobi (Sh) Marveaux Gouffran
That would mean no place even on the bench for players like Sammy Ameobi, Mike Williamson, Dan Gosling, Gabby Obertan, Paul Dummett, Gael Bigirimana and Haris Vuckic, as we had pointed out earlier today.
And over 70% of fans think we can get a decent result at Villa Park today, with our strongest side on display.
We hope our players have been inspired by the events of Wednesday night, and go into this game in a positive frame of mind and wanting to win.
And who knows, with a good performance we should be able to pick up something from the game today.
A win would be great, but we’d also be happy with a point.
What team would you start today?
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