Stoke (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted XI’s

A very Happy New Year to you all folks! We hope it’s a happy and healthy one for you and your families. On the football side of things, 2018 really does look set to be a massive year for NUFC. From Stoke today (huge game), to must-needed January signings, potential new owners and the hope that we’re still a Premier League team come the middle of May. All these things will unfold over the next 6 months and it feels like  a necessity for the future of Newcastle United that all these things occur for the better.
After a disappointing draw and pretty dire performance in the home draw to Brighton on Saturday, today’s trip to Stoke is another six pointer at the bottom.
We rested players last week in the hope that we’d be fresh and firing over the weekend, but we were anything but. Our most recent away game saw us pick up a vital win at West Ham, but we’ve failed to score in two home games since and will be going into this one at Stoke in a similar position to how we did against the Hammers – we cannot afford to lose.
Saturday’s performance was one to forget, and although playing soon after can be the best way to put things right, we looked surprisingly sluggish and sapped of energy – so I can’t help but worry how we’ll fare against a Stoke side that rested so many at Chelsea on Saturday.
Hughes left out most of his big hitters and practically handed Chelsea the three points in their 5-0 stuffing at Stamford Bridge. He’s admitted since that he did it with the belief that his reinvigorated first team will now be ready to beat Newcastle today, but he is a man close to the sack and they are a team shipping goals left, right and centre. Here’s hoping we can take advantage of that today and put in a repeat performance of the one that best West Ham in a similarly crucial away day recently.
Team wise it’s hard to say who Rafa will pick. We’ve seen almost 20 different NUFC men start over the past week and few have done much to nail down their place in the side. More rotation can be expected for obvious reasons, but it’s essential that the 11 that go out on that pitch today show more than they did just 48 hours ago.
Might we see something like this start today?
 
Wouldn’t surprise me if Diame started, but Perez’s return is likely due to him being one of few players who’ll be fresh for this one – and his defensive work could allow Rafa to go for the adventurous midfield partnership of Merino and Shelvey? Gayle and Hayden to be dropped after poor performances vs Brighton?
Teams above and below us have proven in recent weeks that they have big wins and battling performances in them and today we’re playing a side who’ve conceded more than any other in England and one whose manager’s on the brink – if there was ever a chance for us to prove that we’re good enough to survive this season, it’s today.
Win and we’ll be heading into Swansea in good spirits and in a strong position to step up our survival bid, but lose and it really will be a nightmare start to a new year that could hold the key for NUFC’s long-term future.
All that said, I’m predicting a draw here – although that really will pile the pressure on us to beat Swansea in two weeks, and that is hardly a given after our winless streak at St James’ Park.
If we can contain their attacking flare (Shaqiri), manage Peter Crouch and unsettle their leaky defence then it could quickly become toxic at the Bet365 Stadium, but energy levels and invention must be upped considerably if we want to come away with three points here.
A repeat of West Ham away would probably see us win here, but have the boys got it in them? Let’s hope so.

Prediction: Stoke 1-1 Newcastle

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan – he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

57 thoughts on “Stoke (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted XI’s

  1. All the best for 2018 Olly mate.

    It’s not the 11 I would go with personally – mine would be:

    ——————— Darlow ——————
    Manq – Lascelles – Clark – Dummett
    Ritchie – Hayden – Merino – Atsu
    ————-— Joselu- Gayle —————

    I think Manq is a better RB than LB and is better defensively than Yedlin imo. Dummett is a better LB.
    If Shelvey is unhappy – and he’s been playing like he is lately as well, then he wouldn’t be in for me.
    Perez has offered absolutely nothing so far this season other than being a light weight, going down on every challenge, then throwing his hands around when he doesn’t get a freekick.
    Gayle & Joselu aren’t great, but have been our best partnership up front so far – chances are being created, just need Gayle to start putting them away.

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  2. WBA supposedly interested in Mitrovic. If we could do a swap deal for Rondon, I’d probably go with that.

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  3. I don’t look at Brighton’s squad and see any more quality there than in ours. I do see a very different approach in their play though.

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  4. Sharpy17:
    I don’t look at Brighton’s squad and see any more quality there than in ours.I do see a very different approach in their play though.

    very good defensively Sharpy, easy to see how they have collected so many draws, they also have a very good player in Knockaart .

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  5. kimtoon: very good defensively Sharpy, easy to see how they have collected so many draws, they also have a very good player in Knockaart .

    Kim – they are but that’s as much down to coaching coz I don’t look at their defenders as any better than ours. I think Lascelles and Clark are every bit as good as Dunk and Duffy personally.
    Knockaert is a good player, but I think Ritchie is just as good when both on form. Knockaert has 1 goal and 1 assist this season – Ritchie has 0/6.

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  6. Brighton were already 6pt ahead of us & Bmth only 1pt.

    I think I would have preferred trying to drag Brighton back into it, but at least B’mth haven’t pulled away any more. If we could get a positive result today then we could leapfrog B’mth – which would be another positive.

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  7. Looking like a draw at Brighton which is best we could hope for I guess. I see Perez is our lone striker up front. 😱. Still no Saivet, not even on the bench… surprised at that after he did so well at West Ham.

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  8. Well, I don’t believe it , yet another draw for Brighton. Should of won that to be fair, had enough chances.

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  9. So important to keep crouch quiet, no assists or goals from that bugger today please. Oh and keep Shaquri quiet too while you’re at it lads.
    If we can stop giving away too many corners it’ll help.

    Feeling very nervous about this one, our record there isn’t great.

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  10. Well I have no idea what the hell to make of that starting 11. Another masterstroke or act of madness – we shall see.

    My initial thoughts, Rafa over complicating things again.

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  11. Sharpy17:
    Well I have no idea what the hell to make of that starting 11.Another masterstroke or act of madness – we shall see.
    Sharpy, for game every two or three days, he has to rotate. That is all.

    My initial thoughts, Rafa over complicating things again.

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  12. And with 20 odd mins to kick off this site starts playing up for me.
    Every bloody match it’s happening now, just had to close thread and reopen it.
    why does this keep happening ?

    Well if I don’t comment on the game, you know I can’t get on to post 🙄

    HWTL

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  13. funrafa:
    How did Clark make it? I am speechless.

    mental mate, we are DESPERATE for a quality forward, the points we would of gained for want of a better forward .

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  14. kimtoon:
    And with 20 odd mins to kick off this site starts playing up for me.
    Every bloody match it’s happening now, just had to close thread and reopen it.
    why does this keep happening ?

    Well if I don’t comment on the game, you know I can’t get on to post🙄

    HWTL

    Kim, it’s the same for me… site playing up and have to keep re loading it.

    Crap first half. Too many chances missed. How could Clark miss that? We will regret those missed chances.

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  15. kimtoon: mental mate, we are DESPERATE for a quality forward, the points we would of gained for want of a better forward .

    Yes everybody is desperate except the owner who is still on vacation.

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  16. funrafa: Yes everybody is desperate except the owner who is still on vacation.

    Always on holiday every time the window is open , summer and winter

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  17. Come blow that whistle … YES!!!!

    Oh my, the Potters are pissed off with Sparky!!.

    Good performance – Great result!!!.

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  18. Great result. Needed that. Well done to Darlow as well. He pulled of some very good saves today to keep us in it. Murphy played well and great cross in for the goal.

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  19. Great result today. Well pleased for us. Now hopefully our home form improves and we get even closer to safety.

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  20. I see Slimani played and scored for Leicester today as well.
    I’d be happy enough if he found his way to us by the end of Jan.

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  21. Stem:
    Darlow was motm for me today.A much better GK than Elloite

    Yes I wanted to say the same thing. He is growing. If he can maintain this kind of performance, he will be a great goal keeper.

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  22. Sharpy17:
    I see Slimani played and scored for Leicester today as well.
    I’d be happy enough if he found his way to us by the end of Jan.

    The better he plays now, less likely he will come. He will become expensive and we can’t afford it. We can only get those who is under-performing.

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  23. funrafa: The better he plays now, less likely he will come. He will become expensive and we can’t afford it. We can only get those who is under-performing.

    Sadly, I think you are exactly correct, Funrafa.

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  24. funrafa: Yes I wanted to say the same thing. He is growing. If he can maintain this kind of performance, he will be a great goal keeper.

    He’s a very good keeper. He just needs a bit of self believe/arrogance about him. If you look at someone like Pickford, he has a self assurance about him & I think Darlow lacks that a bit. Maybe game time & afew good performances will encourage that. But he has to look like he believes he should be there – and sometimes I don’t think he does.

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  25. funrafa: The better he plays now, less likely he will come. He will become expensive and we can’t afford it. We can only get those who is under-performing.

    Yeah I also agree mate, and Algeria aren’t at the WC so it’s not like he’s going to be pushing hard for game time ahead of that.

    My only hope is that with Vardy, Inacheo (not sure if that’s right), Ulloa, Okazaki – they may, or Slimani himself may go with the move 🤞🏻

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  26. Well I wanted 20 points by jan so happy enough with 22
    onwards and upwards hopefully
    but please Mr A shley get us a quality forward who can put away all our chances we waste.

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  27. I dont understand why they nominate the man of the match a few minutes before the end of a game. Quite often it will be close between w or 3 players and if somebodybdoes a Ben Afaesque mazy run and goal or a superb double save in injury time – tjat should swing it in their favor – but by then the award has already gone!

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  28. Record where Lascelles/Clark both start:
    P9 W5 D2 L2
    Record where one of Lascelles/Clark don’t start:
    P13 W1 D2 L10

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