Newcastle Star Likely To Start At The Hawthorns

Alan Pardew will have a few tired players in his squad today,  and he is likely to make some changes for the trip to the Hawthorns tomorrow afternoon, where it is vital that we get back on the winning track, and keep challenging at the top of the Premier League.

ben arfa villa

Hatem Ben Arfa – likely to start tomorrow

In the last couple of games Ben Arfa has been a bright spark for Newcastle, and against West Brom, it will be important that Newcastle attack from the first whistle and go after the 3 points.

Alan admitted today that some of his players were tired on Sunday:

“I certainly kept Hatem back, as I felt we would get tired, and maybe he would win us the game,” “I thought him being fresh could win us the game. He did look fresh.”

“We had a couple of tired legs out there, and you’d expect that.”   “West Brom have got talent, but we’ve had two massive results there in the last two years away from home,”

“Maybe I’ll make a couple of changes here and there in the next two games.” “Hopefully, we can match the level of the game against Arsenal.” 

“If we do that, we’ll have a good chance of winning.”

In their last three games West Brom have drawn 1-1 at home to Hull, drawn 1-1 at Tottenham and 3-3 at West Ham, and they have 18 points in total – 9 at home and 9 on the road.

It’s a game we should win –  if we are keep up our challenge at the top of the Premier League.

Let us know how you think we’ll do at the Hawthorns.

How Will Newcastle Fare Against West Brom?

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Here’s hoping for all 3 points.

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67 comments so far

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Dec 31, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #1

    TS…i just thought with all your over the top critique of Benny that I just throw in some of mine ????

    …both Cisse and Ameobi is suppose to get us goals and they are not doing it. Remy is way to selfish (and that was your critique) of Benny. All I can say is Benny creates opportunities and space for others.

    Hid selfishness is warrant if you ask me. I think your critique of Benny gone to another dimension – it is not critique anymore cause it is not well founded anymore but rather subjective.

    Just my opinion ????

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Dec 31, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #3

    Again I do apologize for my misplacing of words and bad spelling. New phone ????

  • bills-son

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #4

    Everybody wants another CF, and we need one, but I think we also need an attacking CM who can run with the ball, dribble and score goals. A player like Gourcuff would offer so much more than Anita and really improve the creativity in our midfield.

  • tequilamag

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #5

    Good morning Jesper. I have been critical of Benny but I do think he deserves the chance to play a full game. He has been working harder of late and does offer something none of the rest of our players can do.
    Also if your going to drop a player to make a point then at some time he has to be given a proper chance to see if the penny has dropped.

  • blew

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #6

    HBA creates opportunities for others!
    How many assists has he had?

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #7


    Well strikers like shola are more than goals, they are about bringing others in to play as well. He does get more from remy and gouff but I’ll agree his goal return still isn’t good enough. For me though he is the only player we have who does the hold up job so best we can do…ideally we have a benteke/lukaku/drogba type who does that but we don’t currently so not much can be done until we buy.

    On Cisse, I’m very critical of him, more so than ben arfa. I think in football these days, as with most sports, you need more than one element to your play. cisse only brings goals, he needs to either add assists, running the channels, making space, linking play, holding the ball…something to his game and in the long run i’d like us to sell and improve upon him.

    Remy I like, I think he brings goals to the team, something we struggled for last year and also runs in behind often/when used wide brings others into play and puts some decent balls in the box and cut back. Yes he is quite selfish, and a few times this year he should have played others in, so fair criticism, but as an out and out striker you expect that really.

    Ben arfa has been ok this season, does his usual of occupying two, sometimes three players to make space for others, he is getting more adjusted to his defensive responsibility too and closing down when asked, not babysitting the fullback as not his job, but closing better, he also is playing some good balls into the box, people expect him to come inside and he goes outside and crosses nicely with the right foot…..Again I don’t have a problem if he starts, thats fine, not my choice to start but can fully see why and what what he brings to the side when he does start/play.

    I’m not saying I don’t like benny, just think that for his talent he should be talked about the way suarez, bale, ronaldo, messi are….he has all the talent in the world and I just want him to click and move up to that next level which I know he can.

    I don’t think our play is perfect for him, the way rogers has players like coutinho and sterling looking like world beaters at times making clever runs and always on the front foot really helps…so not all is benny’s fault. I’d just like his decision making to improve as he is capable of achieving great things.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #8


    if thats the type of player you want for me we should go for valbuena….very classy

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #9

    TS…just rereading my post to you – no disrespect meant ????

    …hope you know that?

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #10

    Tequila…i very much do agree with that thought ????

    …and Pardew have been right in dropping Benny – any player either performing or not getting the job done should be dropped from time to time!

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #11


    Of course, I know we don’t always agree on things, especially Benny but I like to think we both respect each other and see the others points.

    All is good my friend

  • murvar

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #12

    The problem with Ben Arfa is that the team is most successful when he’s not in it! We don’t seem able to accommodate him without disrupting the balance of the side. So when he came on v Arsenal Sissoko ends up going to the left side of midfield, where he plainly does not belong. Pardew screwed up last season, IMO, by expecting too many players to play out of ther natural/best positions – sometime in 2 different “worse” positions in the same match. He hasn’t done that this season thank goodness. So for me HBA is like a “special situations” player in American football – bring him on when we need to chase the game by taking a gamble or when we’re so far ahead we can aim to better our goal difference – or, of course, when we’re playing 9 men, when he’s dynamite!

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #13

    TS…in regards to your comment about Ameobi being the only player who offers us something in the hold up, well if that warrants a place in it self then I might add Benny is the only one offering something when taking on a player and doing the impossible ????

    …doesn’t that warrant a place as well?

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #14

    TS…very much so respect your opinion and enjoy reading it ????

    …doesn’t always agree but that is not really important to me!

  • Jail for Ashley

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #15

    The trouble is,we all have our own ideas of who we think would be a good addition to the Squad,but we wont get who we need but a player who is a cheap option, ok for the bank balance but not Necessarily the best for the team sheet balance

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    Comment #16


    we will never always agree, but more fun when we disagree, gives a good debate.

    And yes, I think it is important to have ben arfa beating people, it is very very useful and creates space for others too.

    I just think Shola’s role (or a hold up player in general) is more important for the way we play, I think its crucial and without that hold up player we struggle…still can keep the ball but don’t do as well making chances in the final third.

    For me our ideal front line would be

    remy, shola, hba

    but such is the form of gouffran it would be harsh to drop him, with him looking tired in the last game and for me sissoko not doing enough attacking wise i would maybe give that a go against west brom…with cabaye, anita and tiote in the middle.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #17


    I do agree we go for the cheaper option and not always the best option…but the cheaper ones are still good players, haven’t made many bad signings in recent years really.

    but i do see your point, we sometimes leave gaps in the squad and dont strengthen the right place….but i suppose we dont have any urgent gaps now as decent squad it shouldnt have as much of an impact waiting on players.

  • Slank

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #18

    Perhaps some players need a rest and perhaps some players normally on the bench need to stretch their legs.

    Ben Arfa for Sissoko. Cisse for Remy. Yanga-Mbiwa for Colo. Haidara for Santon. Oberton / Sammy for Goofy.

    We must keep the three (Anita, Tiote and Cabaye) in midfield together as that is where the game will be won or lost. Those three can control the midfield but as shown in the first half against Stoke without Tiote or Cabaye Anita can be easily overrun.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #19

    It’s so obvious we need a goal scoring Shola type who can play a full 90 and score at least every three games just can’t see us getting one while Sholas here picking up his 15/20K or whatever a week, if you look at it from Mashleys point of view, there’s no pointing in investing big money to qualify for a competition that he doesn’t want to compete in.

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #20

    TS…I would very much so like us to sign a technical targetman and bench Ameobi asap.

    …when playing 4-4-2 Ameobi had been great as physical buffer so to speak, but he rarely offers anything else. Playing 4-3-3 he has been more or less useless. He needs to cut the crap and stop with the free kicks – when ever he does that we loose our edge I think. He need to stop that or be benched.

    Sometimes he reminds me of Tiote last season ???? I think it is Benny’s time now ????

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #21


    I think our squad is ok for europe now, we rotated 7/8 last season in league phase and since then have added 5 players and a loan, losing only 1.

    I think if we add 2-4 more in jan and summer we could compete in europe, dont need to invest big, could invest a few mil and get them in the way we spend.

    Also shola is out of contract in the summer so maybe we might bring somebody in.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #22


    like i say, if we are to go with benny i dont mind…the lad is a talent and i’m only harsher on him as i know he can do so much more. He might play better at 50% potential than others player 100% of their game…i just want him to be at 100% or as close as possible as often as possible.

    I’d personally like shola on to link with hba and remy either side, we can be a bit more adventurous with our front 3 when against lesser teams and when we use tiote and anita to hold.

  • Blaydon-Toon

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #23

    Good morning ! Transfer what about Goofy I’m pretty sure he could play the lone stiker role he works the channels and good with his back to goal and has a goal threat – granted not as dominant in the air as Shola but I feel Goofy offers a more rounded game in that role ?

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #24


    good point, i think gouff can hold the ball but the only option is really into feet then…shola offers the ball in air as well, plus they both played some lovely through passes during december.

    i do like gouff though, he just looked very tired in the game against arsenal, could maybe do with a week off

  • jazzyp

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #25

    Morning lads
    cant stay but would like to wish you all the best for the new year
    some wishes of mine for 2014 are that we finally bring all our armed forces back from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 as promised by our government .
    Mashley digs deep into his pocket and surprises us all with another january transfer window like last years.
    For my 40 years of patience we finally win some silverware.
    Ruddy stops being so argumentative and condescending (I KNOW I KNOW THIS IS MORE OF A MIRACLE THAN A WISH).
    And finally health and happiness to you all for the new year.

  • Blaydon-Toon

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #26

    Agreed he looked tired in the last game think we revert to 4 4 2 for west brom and Shola will stArt would like to see HBA on the left and get crosses Into the box plus I think he would give jones a hard time with his trickery

  • Mattroge

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #27

    Good morning all 🙂

    Long time reader & first time poster.

    Sage@7 spot-on in my opinion when it comes to Ben Arfa, he definitely has the talent but for whatever reason hasn’t pushed on to the next level.

    I get the impression Pardew doesn’t trust Ben Arfa to start him on the wing (certainly against the big teams anyway) we’ve looked better as a unit with Gouffran & Sissoko out wide so I can understand why Ben Arfa didn’t start against Arsenal but I think when we’re playing teams lower down the league it wouldn’t be impossible to get Benny into the starting line-up without weakening us defensively.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #28


    i’d like 3 in the middle with anita, tiote and cabs, first two give plenty cover for a forward three of remy, shola and ben arfa to really attack and get bodies in the final third with cabaye helping….same with debuchy and santon going forward.

  • stan anderson

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #29

    Why with our support should we not expect success.
    The most we have had is 2nd rate success,Fairs Cup,2nd Division Champions,Texaco Cup,Anglo Italian Cup ETC.
    Ive been there through the real bad times Mckeag,Seymour,Westwood relegations ,promotions,since 1958, so i think i know how it works.
    Supporters turn up religiously to watch no matter happens,the boss man knows this and takes us all for granted (mugs).
    I,ve seen it all before for decades we,ve done it,this is why we dont make the progress that we long for.
    Lots of smaller clubs have won trophies in the years that watched the Toon even the Mackems .FA Cup,League Cup would do anything.But i dont even think we compete in those to try and win them.
    Its all about survival in the PL.nothing else matters because that is the money magnet isnt it.
    Sorry to be so negative when we are doing well at the moment,but thats the way i feel after the same story for all these years.
    I am just desperate to see us win something of significance before i go to meet my maker.
    This is a response to Harleys response to my post late on last evening.
    All the Best to you and yours..

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #30


    stop knocking anita, it’s getting very boring.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #31

    Agreed I think with just a couple of additions we would have a squad that could compete on both fronts, especially now Pards has a bit more knowledge of the EL, the point I’m making though is that we need to make those additions in order to qualify for the thing, and I honestly can’t see Mashley spending this window, why would he ?

  • ethiomag

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #32

    happy new year fans.Ed
    Great 2 know there r passionate fans on this blog,esp after ars game,i’m one of them.
    Eagerly waiting every single game we gonna play in’s obvious the games getting tougher and tougher.but we are still united,nobody’ll take that from us,the lads and the boss,the Gaffer already have strong mentality,i don’t think there is any pressure agt westbrom,
    but still important to get a result to keep up the pressure on top 5.
    wetbrom are manager-less,so we have to go 4 an early attack and seal it early.
    the boss should play ben arfa,replacing anita,behind remy like 4-4-1-1
    debuchy will’m colo sant
    sissoko cab tiote goufran

  • Jail for Ashley

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #33

    At least bills offers good footballing reasons when knocking a player unlike the way people slaughtered Willo and Simmo last year, when that was down to the owner not upgrading them, and I’m glad to say now I’ve always stuck up for Willo.

  • bills-son

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #34


    I’m not knocking Anita, I’m doing no different from those suggesting an upgrade on Shola or for that matter even Willo.

    Our centre midfield lacks a player who can run with ball and its my opinion that whilst Anita is a very tidy player we need someone who offers more. Simple as that.

  • Blaydon-Toon

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #35

    Jail I think Pardew has to take a lot of credit the way he got Willo back into the team we all know he has his limitations but having said that he has earned his place on merit and now gives it simple when possible only lumping it when nothing else is on ! I have been won over by his attitude and commitment

  • roy

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #36

    A new manager who knows what he’s doing would be great, rather than the present incumbent, who’s as much use as a glass eye treats the supporters like idiots with his patronising press conferences and team tactics straight out of the lower leagues.

  • HBA.10

    Dec 31, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #37


  • Tsunki

    Dec 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #38

    I think with few exceptions the reason why players like Anita, Cabaye, HBA, Gouffran appear to not show up some days is down to the shape of the team Pardew plays on that day. We know now that all these players, when in the right place in the right shape of team can play top class games. They only go quiet when for example they are nudged out of position by fielding a similar (not necessarily the same) player alongside them, the sort of thing that bedevilled Lampard and Gerrard in the England setup. Thetrick is balancing players with complementary vision and skills, and this is where Pardew has had a bit of bother. His recent successes have boiled down to, I think, increased fitness levels, more players to juggle with and getting a workhorse formation rather than a technical one together. If Alan would just get some tech advice in I think he could hit the jackpot with some players who are currently misfiring.

    For example, With Tiote and Anita on the pitch, as the game progresses you see Cabaye drop deeper especially when we are hunting for a goal, and he becomes less effective. Also, with Sissoko pressed forward (which he does a lot) Anita tends to be a bystander with Sissoko taking the ball from mid and running through to the corners (with little end product). With HBA, he needs another technically gifted player he can trust to go forward with, I think we were all hoping Marveaux was that guy but sadly not it seems.

    Just some tweaks needed, really.

  • Tsunki

    Dec 31, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #39

    I always stuck up for willo, but I think Simmo’s departure and replacement says all that is required of my opinion of him. He was a good lad and genuinely worked for the team, but not the required standard. Where is he now, btw?

  • Blofal

    Dec 31, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Comment #40

    Remy needs a rest. I think Cisse might start. Gouffran desperately needs a rest too. He looked knackered against Arsenal.

    If Mbiwa doesnt play this game I will not be happy. You cant run your current centre backs into the ground when you have an equal or better (in some respects) centre back on the bench. It doesnt make sense. If he plays and is suddenly out of form ill put that squarely on Pardew for benching him. Because he was on form when Colo replaced him.


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