Premier League football returns after the latest international break as Newcastle head to Loftus Road where they will come up against a familiar face.
That face belongs to Joey Barton who was surprisingly allowed to leave the club on a free transfer and joined QPR, along with a whole host of new signings, before the transfer window slammed shut 10 days ago.
Football is a funny old game some wise man once said, and the quirk of the fixture list means that friend turned foe Joey Barton will be making his debut for his new club on the very same evening that his old club roll into town.
Barton probably won’t be the only new face in the QPR line up however as Neil Warnock managed to bring in six new faces in the final week of the window. I would hope that Anton Ferdinand makes his debut as every time he has played against us he has been raped (not literally) by our attack.
I’ll not take a stab at what the QPR team will be as there are likely to be several changes after the arrivals of Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Luke Young, Armand Traore and Anton Ferdinand plus the potential inclusions of Clint Hill and DJ Campbell who return from suspension and illness respectively. What I do know is that Kieron Dyer is injured (nothing new) and they lost their last match 2-0 at Wigan where they lined up with a team of:
QPR: Paddy Kenny, Fitz Hall, Danny Gabbidon, Bruno Perone, Matt Connolly, Shaun Derry, Adel Taarabt, Alejandro Faurlin, Akos Buzsaky, Patrick Agyemang, Tommy Smith.
Newcastle aren’t without their own potential clutch of debutants however. Davide Santon is fit and ready to go although a spot on the bench seems most likely. Fit again Sylvain Marveaux could also make his Premier League debut for the club whilst Steve Harper is back in full training after recovering from his long standing knee injury although new boy Rob Elliot is likely to assume a role on the bench for this match.
Hatem Ben Arfa is back and training and is not too far off returning to first team action. Mike Williamson is still out with an ankle injury and is approximately a month away from a return to fitness. Haris Vuckic is also out with a hand injury.
In terms of team selection I can’t see it being too different to the team that beat Fulham. The defence is almost at the point of picking itself whilst Tim Krul has made the starting goalkeeper spot his own after his performances in the last few games. Demba Ba showed signs of improvement against Fulham and Leon Best can’t really be dropped after scoring another two goals in the last match. With all that in mind I’d probably go with the team that finished the Fulham game, almost.
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best, Demba Ba.
With regard to the recent history between the two sides, Newcastle are unbeaten in four and have won three of those games. The one blip in that run of form came in our Championship season when we drew 1-1 with them at St James’ Park. Marlon Harewood saved the day on that occasion.
In terms of the Premier League our last win at Loftus Road came in the 1995/1996 season courtesy of two goals from Keith Gillespie and one from former Hoop Sir Les Ferdinand. If I could meet Kenny Dalglish I would drop the nut on him for flogging Sir Les. Dirty, risible, plastic scouse jock alcoholic wanker.
Interestingly there has never been a 0-0 draw between the two sides in a league encounter.
Adel Taarabt has had more failed attempts at goal than any other Premier League player.
If Leon Best can muster three goals from his next six games he will have matched Andy Carroll’s goalscoring form from the start of last season.
It’s a good job that we seem to be a second half team this season as Newcastle went on to win just one game from 13 where we were level at half-time last season.
The midfield area is likely to be where the game is won and lost. There is potential for fireworks and Joey Barton will no doubt be in the thick of it. Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye won’t take any crap though so there should be an interesting contest in prospect.
The wing area also concerns me, especially the pace of Shaun Wright-Phillips up against Ryan Taylor. I think Raylor could get ripped a new arsehole in fairness.
It will be an interesting game and there are many sub plots that should mean that there is enough entertainment to go around.
Phil Dowd is the man in the middle and he will need to be on top of his game as we generally give him quite a lot to do. His last three Newcastle games saw a return 21 goals for his efforts – Chelsea 3-4 Newcastle, Newcastle 5-1 Sunderland, Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal.
A score draw would be enough for 4th place come Monday evening. Mind you I don’t think that I could take a score draw like this one eh Geordie Deb?
Getting dreamier, a win would see us go 4th on clear points. On the other side of that a two goal defeat would see us drop one place into 7th, which is as low as we can go this weekend. I’m not predicting anything however. The results are better when I don’t predict anything!
Howay the lads!
Date: Monday, 12th September, 2011.
Kick-off: 8pm UK time.
Venue: Loftus Road, London.