Newcastle start their busy festive period this year with the visit of West Brom to St James Park. They welcome West Brom to St James’ hoping for a win to break the run of 5 games without a win, something which Pardew has called a temporary blip.
West Brom are on the back of an away win against Blackburn, but apart from that they’ve looked a shadow of what they were last year losing at home to Wigan the week before.
Whereas Newcastle after a great start have struggled with playing the big teams and picking up injuries, we looked back to form against Swansea but we just couldn’t get that elusive goal to win the match.
Newcastle are sitting with 27 points in 7th place 3 points ahead of Stoke in 8th, our nearest challengers for the title of “best of the rest”. Our way superior goal difference to Stoke, makes it virtually a 4 point lead though.
West Brom on the other hand are sat on 18 points and in 13th, 9 points behind us. Last year they beat us up the table, but some fans think that this year it’ll be unlikely after a less than impressive start by the Baggies.
Over the last six games they’ve performed better than us with 7 points to their name, as appose to our 5. We’ve had a harder run of fixtures, and hopefully we can get back to winning ways tonight.
Early Team News
Newcastle are without Yohan Cabaye who picked up his fifth booking of the season against Swansea on Saturday. We’re also without Danny Guthrie who will be out for the next 4-6 weeks, Steven Taylor who is out for the season with an Achilles injury and Dan Gosling who still has 2 games of his suspension to serve. Long term absentee Sylvain Marveaux is also out, and Ryan Taylor faces a late fitness test.
That leaves us short in midfield and many expect Mehdi Abeid or Haris Vuckic to deputise alongside Cheik Tiote. That’s not what I’d do personally; this would be my line up:
4-1-2-1-2 – Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, James Perch, Davide Santon, Gabriel Obertan, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa, Leon Best, Demba Ba.
It may be a bit attacking, but at home I expect us to have a lot of the ball and if Gutierrez and Obertan tuck in and work hard it may prove effective.
West Brom are sweating on the fitness of Paul Scharner, James Morrison and Yussuf Mulumbu who are all doubts for tonights fixture. They are also without long term absentee Zoltan Gera who will not return before the end of the season. That has lead them to recall Marc Antoine Fortune, George Thorne and Gonzalo Jara Reyes back from their loan deals, and they’ve been put straight into the squad for tonight’s game. Somen Tchoyi will not make tonight’s game either which is great news considering he bagged four against us in two games last year.
Anthony Taylor will ref tonights game, he’s 45 yellows and 4 reds in 14 games so far this season. He last reffed us against Tottenham last December and sent Kaboul off in the 2-0 defeat.
Mini Stat Attack
We’ve not lost at home in the league to West Brom since the 1977/1978 season.
West Brom have already won 3 times on the road this season, and drawn twice.
These games are usually high scoring with the last 8 games at St James Park between the pair having at least 3 goals or more.
West Brom’s late treble against us last year cost us three places in the league, and around £1.5m in money from the Premier League, about the amount we were haggling on over Erik Pieters. Doh!
Official Line ups
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, James Perch, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Gabriel Obertan, Cheik Tiote, Haris Vuckic, Jonas Gutierrez; Demba Ba, Leon Best.
Subs: Rob Elliot, Ryan Taylor, Mike Williamson, Mehdi Abeid, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi.
West Brom: Ben Foster; Steven Reid, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey; Jerome Thomas, Paul Scharner, Yussuf Mulumbu, Chris Brunt; Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie.
Subs: Martin Fulop, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Graham Dorrans, Craig Dawson, Billy Jones, George Thorne, Simon Cox.
Howay the lads!