Newcastle have a few injuries to Fab Coloccini and Yohan Cabaye, but they are unlikely to miss too many games since Newcastle now have only 18 league games to play in the season, given that we are out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle.
Alan Pardew – under scrutiny following three defeats
and another ignominious exit from FA Cup
We have three games in January, four games in February, five in March, four in April and a couple in May before the season ends a couple of weeks early on Sunday 11th May, because of the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
We have a bigger and better squad than we had last year when we played 14 games in the Europa League and played a total of 54 games in total last season.
This season we will play 42 games in total.
And we have eight days rest now before we take on Manchester City at St James’ Park in the Premier League – which is one reason we could have started a stronger side yesterday.
The home league game against Manchester City is a game we have lost four times since we were promoted back to the Premier League in 2010 - so we suppose Newcastle are due a win.
Then we have West Ham and Norwich away and Sunderland at home – and those are three possible banana skins against three relegation sides right there – we could slip up in each one of them.
And Alan Pardew should make the Sunderland game a top priority for Newcastle, because another defeat would not go down well on Tyneside, and that’s a huge understatement.
The positive way to look at things after our ignominious exit once again from the FA Cup, is that we are in good shape to do well in the run-in to the league.
And the players and the manager have something to prove, after somehow managing to lose three games in a short six days - and it’s the manner of those defeats that is disturbing.
Looking on the bright side we may still do well in the league this season, but no trophies once again for Newcastle this season - for the 45th season in a row by our reckoning.
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