Townsend Out – Gouffran Starts – Shelvey Captain

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Steve McClaren has just announced his team for the tough game at Stoke City tonight and it’s a shock choice of Yoan Gouffran to replace winger Andros Townsend who has picked up a knock.

So Gouffran is preferred to Aarons and Perez?   What’s going on here?

As expected Jonjo Shelvey is the captain and why Steve couldn’t have announced that in his press conference yesterday we have no idea – as if Stoke care.


Stoke (4-2-3-1): Jack Butland; Phil Bardsley, Geoff Cameron, Philipp Wollscheid, Erik Pieters; Glenn Whelan (c), Giannelli Imbula; Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay, Marko Arnautovic; Jonathan Walters
Substitutes: Jakob Haugaard, Marc Muniesa, Stephen Ireland, Bojan, Joselu, Mame Biram Diouf, Peter Crouch

Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Rob Elliot; Daryl Janmaat, Steven Taylor, Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett; Jonjo Shelvey (c), Jack Colback; Moussa Sissoko, Georginio Wijnaldum, Yoan Gouffran; Aleksandar Mitrovic
Substitutes: Karl Darlow, Jamie Sterry, Henri Saivet, Rolando Aarons, Ayoze Perez, Emmanuel Riviere, Seydou Doumbia

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)

There are not many more surprises and it’s the team we thought it would be with Gouffran replacing Townsend – but there will be a lot of criticism for McClaren for that choice of the Frenchman ahead of two young star  sin Aarons and Perez.

When was the last time Yoan scored a goal?

And Sissoko and Wijnaldum keep their places, so we expect both of them to turn up tonight and put in 100% effort – and that goes for every single Newcastle player.

We cannot have any more let-downs like the two recent road games at Everton and Chelsea – they were a disgrace to say the least.

More than half of Newcastle fans think we will lose this game.

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This is what Steve McClaren has said about this game yesterday:

“We need to be harder to beat away from home,” “I’m really looking forward to the game tomorrow, I think it’s a good challenge and a good opportunity to show that we can do something.

“Our away form has not been good enough. We have to start demonstrating the character needed to win these away games.”

“It’s a character flaw that we need to put right. Too many times things have gone against us away from home and we haven’t reacted well and that’s why we’ve lost.”

“Tomorrow is going to be a great test for us. Stoke will be a very difficult game because they’re a very good team with good players.”

“Given our away form most people probably don’t expect us to get anything and we’ve got to go there and prove people wrong.”

“It’s one extreme to the other,” “We were fantastic against West Brom at home and then we lost 5-1 to Chelsea and it could have been more.”

“It’s the most frustrating team I’ve worked with in that respect because I know this team should be winning more games.”

“But it’s about the here and now and winning matches. To do that we have to keep clean sheets and score goals. We have struggled to do that, especially away from home and that’s why we’re in the bottom three – the table does not lie.”

“Every time you go away from home it’s a great test of character – we need to start passing it.”

Newcastle really need to win tonight so it looks like we have some kind of chance of surviving what has been another nightmare season for Newcastle.

We are hoping for something out of this game.

Comments welcome.