After losing only our second game in the last ten games at home to Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, it will be important for Newcastle to get back to our winning ways this afternoon when we are at the Hawthorns against a struggling West Brom side, who are only 2 points above the drop zone, and have not yet replaced sacked manager and former Newcastle coach Steve Clarke.
Newcastle have won two of the three games over the Christmas period, and a win today at the Hawthorns is just what the doctor ordered, and three wins in four would put us right back on track in the league.
And Newcastle have done well the last two times we have visited West Brom, getting a creditable 1-1 draw in the game last season, after we were beaten 3-0 by Sunderland at St. James’ Park in April, and a 3-1 win two years ago when we tore West Brom apart in the first half and were 3-0 up at half time.
Newcastle again have no injuries in the squad apart from the long term knee injury to Ryan Taylor, and the continued fitness of our best players this season has come as a welcome relief from last season, when we were decimated by long term injuries to players like Yohan Cabaye, Fab Coloccini and Tim Krul.
And with this being Newcastle’s 4th game in 11 days and the FA Cup 3rd round tie at home to Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon, Alan Pardew may make a couple of changes to the side that lost against Arsenal.
Maybe both Frenchmen Ben Arfa and 21 year-old Massadio Haidara will get starts for the side today, and the team could be as follows in a 4-3-3 formation:
Debuchy Coloccini (c) Williamson Haidara
Anita Tiote Cabaye
Sissoko Remy Ben Arfa
Subs: Elliot Santon Yanga-Mbiwa Gouffran Ameobi (Sa) Cisse Ameobi (Sh)
Maybe it’s a bit worrying that a massive two in three fans think we will win this game today, and only one in eight think we’ll lose it.
In the past when Newcastle have been hot favorites we tend to lose – like we did famously to Hull City at home in September, but this side is now becoming a lot more professional, and Alan Pardew will have drummed into his players that three points today are very important after the unlucky Arsenal defeat.
A win today would be a great result for us, and we can then look forward to hopefully progressing in the 3rd round of the FA Cup on Saturday against Cardiff City, who have just fired their manager Malky Mackay.
And maybe we can even have a long run in the competition this season, and that would be a nice change from recent seasons, when we have gone out far too early.
But first things first, and we need to get back to our winning ways at West Brom today.
Howay The Lads!!
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