Newcastle v Blackburn – Premier League match preview

St James' Park.

St James' Park.
Back on home turf
Premier League football returns to St James’ Park tomorrow as Blackburn make the trip to the North East to take on Newcastle United.

It’s been nearly a month since NUFC last graced the pitch at St James’ Park when Fulham were despatched 2-1 thanks to a Leon Best brace. All the signs point towards another home win this time around but, as we know, that is a dangerous place to be in if you are a Newcastle fan.

It’s now ten games unbeaten for Newcastle in a run which stretches back to the start of May when we suffered defeat at the hands of Liverpool. Can they make it eleven unbeaten tomorrow? To do so they will have to beat a team who have won the last five matches on the bounce at St James’ Park.

Ironically the last time we managed to beat Blackburn on home turf we had John Carver in the dugout. It was his one and only game in full charge of Newcastle after the dismissal of Sir Bobbby Robson and the home side ran out 3-0 winners. Hopefully his presence will have the same effect tomorrow.

Newcastle

Hatem Ben Arfa is available again after making his return to first team action against Nottingham Forest in midweek although it would appear that a space on the bench is the most that the talented Frenchman can hope for.

Davide Santon is back in training and has suffered no reaction having had a small amount of fluid drained from his knee although he won’t be risked for this game. Mike Williamson, Haris Vuckic and Alan Smith are definitely out with respective ankle, hand and hamstring injuries while Steve Harper and Nile Ranger are not being considered for first team selection at the moment for some reason. Shola Ameobi is doubtful after injuring his shoulder against Nottingham Forest.

Newcastle made nine changes at the City Ground in midweek, with a lot of those players being rested completely. That will mean a return to the fold for players such as Tim Krul, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best and Demba Ba, and with the added bonus of some strong midweek performances from players like Sylvain Marveaux it will lead to a selection headache for Alan Pardew.

Not that I expect too much change from the game against Aston Villa however. To me that team played well enough to earn another chance, and with the players that were left out against Forest I think it’s fairly obvious that we’ll line up with the same team.

Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba, Leon Best.

What we have now is options from the bench. I assume that Hatem Ben Arfa will make an appearance at some point although he isn’t the only one that can change the game from the sidelines. Sylvain Marveaux impressed with two assists in midweek and Sammy Ameobi will just run and run and run… Both of these could also change a game. To me that is the noticeable difference between this season and last.

Blackburn

Morten Gamst Pedersen is fit again and will return to the Blackburn squad for the game tomorrow. The same can’t be said for Michel Salgado and Ryan Nelson however as both remain unavailable. David Goodwillie and David Dunn are both rated as doubtful.

Last time out Blackburn managed a win against Arsenal in a match the was dominated by the pre-match protests against Steve Kean. The Blackburn fans aren’t happy with him although a 4-3 win for his side will have earned him a reprieve.

Don’t let that result fool you however. Blackburn were outplayed for large parts of the game (not unusual against Arsenal in fairness, not matter how dysfunctional they appear to be at the moment) and managed to survive chance after chance being created against them. They won the game courtesy of two own goals and two goals from Yakubu and lined up with a team consisting of:

Paul Robinson, Michel Salgado, Chris Samba, Gael Givet, Scott Dann, Mauro Formica, Steven Nzonzi, Jason Lowe, Ruben Rochina, David Hoilett, Yakubu.

Jason Roberts is a player to watch. He generally does well against us so if he plays he will need to be monitored carefully. David Hoilett has pace to burn so will be a threat whilst the defensive pairing of Chris Samba and Scott Dann have the potential to keep out any Newcastle attack, especially with a keeper like Paul Robinson behind them.

Fun facts and stats

Meetings between the two sides seem to favour the away side. Blackburn have win the last five an St James’ Park while Newcastle have managed two wins and a draw from the last five trips to Ewood Park. Blackburn’s record at SJP is only bettered by Manchester United. Newcastle lead the overall head-to-head by a narrow margin of 55 wins to 52. There have been 30 draws.

A sixth victory may be a step too far for Steve Kean however. Blackburn have only won one of the last 11 away Premier league games whilst Newcastle have only lost once at home in the last 11 home Premier League games.

Blackburn have committed more fouls than any other Premier League team. In total they have fallen foul of the referee’s whistle on 70 occasions.

Leon Best needs two goals to equal Andy Carroll’s scoring record for Newcastle. He has four games to do it. If he can do it before then he will have surpassed Carroll’s exploits. How much for best in January? ยฃ40 million?

Staying with the Republic of Ireland international. Best has averaged a goal every 110 minutes for Newcastle in the Premier League and has hit the target with 86% of his shots on goal. He is more accurate in terms of getting shots on target than any other Premier League player at the moment.

Our defence has been the subject of a fair bit of praise so far this season, but they have only managed to complete 56% of headed clearances. This is the lowest in the Premier League and is a concern against a side like Blackburn.

Referee

It’s quite amusing to see that the referee for the game is one of my least favourite. Howard Webb is the man I love to hate, but Martin Atkinson is just behind him and will be the man in the middle for this game.

Traditionally Martin Atkinson gives us nothing. Last season he took charge of the 6-0 win over Villa, the 1-1 draw away at Blackpool and the now infamous 2-1 defeat at Manchester City. Marktoon still despises him for that last game alone.

Hatem Ben Arfa is back playing again after suffering a double leg break in that game at Manchester City. Referee Atkinson failed to produce a card or even give a free kick for the tackle on Ben Arfa. Shocking, but not as shocking as then going on to award City a penalty for a challenge that was outside the box, and for which Mike Williamson won the ball anyway. To rub further salt into the wounds Atkinson then failed to award us a penalty for a challenge on Shola Ameobi by Joleon Lescott. Shola did him for skill and Lescott took his legs away. A clear penalty.

We deserved something from that game and we were robbed of it, multiple times I’ll add, by the man who is tasked with ensuring the rules are abided by. He failed in his duty, and for that reason Atkinson can nibble on my turds.

The match is scheduled for overseas TV transmission so the chances are that there will be a stream available unlike Tuesday evening. I’m at work, again, so I’ll be missing the match, but rest assured that there will be someone keeping an eye on the site to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

Going smoothly would be a nice way to think about tomorrow, but this is Newcastle United and the course of true love often doesn’t run smooth. Time and again we’ve approached games like this one, games which on paper we should win, only to fall over. Hopefully it’s not the case tomorrow and we can continue our run and make it 11 games unbeaten with a win to boot. 12 points and unbeaten rolling into October? I’ll take that, but it won’t be easy.

Howay the lads!

Date: Saturday, 24th September, 2011

Kick-off: 3:00pm UK time

Venue: St James’ Park

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

102 thoughts on “Newcastle v Blackburn – Premier League match preview

  1. i think we will win it, i dont think it will be a very attractive game but more a hoofball type with crunching tackles and hopefully a 2-0 win when the whistle blows.

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  2. have you all noticed the amount a stupid press releases coming out of the nufc website today?? WTF……..funny how it co-incides with AP spewing crap out too… is this some sort of crap charm offensive to stop people leaving and encourage fans back to the games? i think it is.

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  3. 4-4-2 in the first 60 mins going to 4-2-3-1 after that when Ben Arfa and Marveaux come on…..I’m very excited about tomorrow for some reason!

    4-4-2
    ——————–Krul—————–
    Simmo—Saylor—Collo—Raylor
    Obertan–Cabaye–Tiote–Jonas
    —————Best–Ba—————-

    4-3-3

    ——————–Krul—————–
    Simmo—Saylor—Collo—Raylor
    ———–Cabaye–Tiote————
    –Jonas——Ben Arfa——Marv–
    ——————-Ba——————–

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  4. @5…………its pretty hard to argue with them two line ups and i expect that he may well go that route. Although i think it could be the 4-4-1-1 route first to get the lead then turn to a staight 4-5-1 killing the midfield if we are in front.

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  5. …just got a part-time job at the Samaritans, and loving it. Dazza from Sunderland rang me saying he was on a train track and suicidal. I told him to keep calm and stay on the line.

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  6. Marveaux is definitely coming on strong now. Jonas will be hard pressed to keep his place. Never seen a winger quite like Jonas before. Great at tracking back and allowing the defense to recover but absolutely horrible going forward. How has he kept his place in the Argie team? Can’t really understand it. If he could cross the ball, and if he would look up and make quick passes more often he would be the real deal but that’s not his way I guess.

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  7. @ 6 They both look like strong line ups to me.(Obviously the second is 4-2-3-1 not 4-3-3 as I wrote…..) I think you might be right with the 4-4-1-1 start though. We are looking good at the minute and we have some good players to come off the bench.

    Potential Bench tomorrow..

    GK-Harper/Elliott
    DF-Perch
    MF- Gosling/Guthrie
    AMF- Sameobi/Fergy
    AMF- Ben Arfa
    AMF- Marveaux
    ST- Lovenkrands

    Not bad other than Perch and Lovenkrands…

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  8. Re : headede clearances i said during the villa game that we could use a defender like collins who headed a lot of incoming crosses away. A feat blackburn master aswell, stoke too.

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  9. My wife said she’s leaving me because i never take her seriously or listen to what she has to say.

    i slapped her on the arse and said “i’d love one please love, 2 sugars

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  10. Oblong, to be fair to Perch, he had a cracking game at centre back.

    He probably will never be good enough for us to start a run of games but he at least offers versatility and ‘decent’ cover at centre half.

    Agree with Lovenkrands though ๐Ÿ˜†

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  11. Cabaye will score tomorrow, I think we’ll win 2-0 with Ba getting the winner on 72 mins. Wonder how much I’d get off that with a ยฃ20 bet?

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  12. Marveaux is looking like a class act in the making and I think he will be starting games sooner rather than later. I think Jonas will be the one who will loose his place and Obertan will be the player under the most pressure to keep his place in the team………Its good to see competition for places!

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  13. @13

    I didn’t see the game the other night so I didn’t see how Perch did so I will have to take your word for it, I’ve read conflicting reports about his performance but hopefully he is a lot better at CB because he is a useless RB.

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  14. Totally agree about him at full-back but it seems as long as he’s a long side an experienced centre half i.e. Coloccini then it seems he can do a job but the quicker Williamson comes back the better because he at least gives us genuine cover.

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  15. Jostoon, you’d get about a grand back from 20quid, for 2 nil and Cabaye to score first, it’ll be around the 40-50/1 mark. You’d have to ring them up for a special bet though if you wanted to predict both scorers in one scorecast. Not that I’d encourage gambling to anyone……

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  16. …..I hope Cabaye and Ba do score though – they’re both in my fantasy team! They’re certainly both due one. I fkn hope we start with Ba and Best, if it’s 442. But I ain’t holding my breath.

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  17. Rod, I will be very surprised if he changes it after playing so well at Villa last week so you’ll probably get your wish!

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  18. Ice Pup, stick it on you never know, can’t see Blackburn doing anything other than trying for an away point.
    If we play like we did against Villa they will not be able to hold out for the 90+ mins. 2-0 all the way for me, when we score the first the game will open up and we will take full advantage.

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  19. Rod that’s not a bad price, was talking to someone yesterday who put a hundred quid on Andy C before the start of the season to not make double figures,

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  20. I don’t get to see as many “live” games as I’d like, living in the midlands, but I did get up to see the Fulham game. One of the things that bothered me was the lack of support the front 2 had from the midfield, with a holding 2 formation in 4-2-2. Would much prefer a triangle in the middle i.e. Tiote-Cabaye-BA with the width provided from Jonas/Obertan/Marveaux and only one up front.

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  21. oooh, that’s a saucy one that Jostoon. I bet he got decent odds. Best of luck to him but I don’t fancy his chances.

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  22. I think we’ll shade a win- we never do well at home when we’re supposed to. Yet I think that the difference with this team is they still get the job done, just don’t expect it to be a pretty performance.

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  23. It won’t be pretty for sure. Im a but worried about over confidence in truth. Not from the players, but from some fans. We could just as easily lose tge game which will set up mass hysteria from a lot of people who are predicting somewhat comfortable wins.

    Experience tells me better than to be confident ๐Ÿ˜•

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  24. TOONSY i kna what your saying mate confidence i like,its over-confidence some fans have ime afraid of,players to of coarse

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  25. The Kid: not getting FIFA or PES this year. Think they are both shocking attempts at a footy game. Slowly gone downhill in my eyes. It’s a shame that football manager 2012 isn’t coming out on the xbox as I would buy that over FIFA

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  26. Ice I have told Batty many a time that he doesn’t know how lucky he is haveing you working for him, I know he treats you like dirt sometimes but he does care about ye, he just doesn’t like to show it

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  27. Just watched an interview with Cabaye and he seems a genuinely nice, level headed guy.

    Another thing that stood out to me is the fact he can already speak fluent English! This caught me by surprise as he couldn’t when he first arrived a few months back. I don’t know how he has done it, but hats off to the lad.

    He also said he thinks Coloccini is the best player in the team.

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  28. kinel, anyone just watched the Brighton v Leeds game? Reet cracker.

    Leeds 2 up at half time, finished 3-3, ****s, I had 20 quid on Leeds at 13/5.

    Brighton looked pretty good like, wor Kazenga looks like a carbon copy of his older brother mind. First time I’ve properly seen him. Frustrating as hell, bounces about like he’s got springs on his boots but always seems to land in a pit.

    Batty, you’re on Sky Living channel now.

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  29. Zoe

    I quite like FIFA this year, but I can see why many don’t. I was contemplating whether to buy it or not, but the official NUFC faces has all but made up my mind.

    I can now slice a player in half with Tiote and he has the mean face to go with it! ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy days! ๐Ÿ˜†

    Football manager is best on PC anyway. I haven’t bought it for two or three years and will definitely be investing this year.

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  30. Yes please the kid ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you watched it on nufctv or on another site? HBA has also been doing his interviews to the french media in english haha

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  31. Toonsy, it’s got 1-1 written ahlawa it for me. But then again I just lost on the Leeds game so I’m probli way off. Certainly don’t think we’ll cruise it, as the bookies seem to be suggesting at 10/11.

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  32. The Kid

    Yeah it’s going to be hit or miss this year I think. Will be like marmite some will love it some will hate it.

    Haha the injury stuff looks better but have you seen the 10 funniest things in the physics engine. Here’s the link, had me in stitches ๐Ÿ™‚

    http://www.oxm.co.uk/33892/features/top-10-fifa-12-demo-physics-fails/

    You see if I get on PC I won’t get any of my year 13 work done at all ahahaha

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  33. Zoe –
    “You see if I get on PC I wonโ€™t get any of my year 13 work done at all ahahaha”

    Trust me, as a fairly recent graduate I know ALL about that, haha!

    Richie –
    Fair do’s. Didn’t know that.

    Andy –
    I watched it on nufctv and will get the details over to Toonsy as soon as.

    With regards to buying nufctv and whether or not it is worth it. It kind of depends. I think it’s good value as I get good radio coverage ever game, which is always good back up to a stream. Also, some of the interviews and quirky videos are quite cool. If you are into that stuff as I am, then yes, it is worth it. Only a fiver a month or something.

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  34. Ah, cheers for the heeds up anyway Ice.

    haha Dave, he’d have to get past the fire-breathing gargoyles first. Not to mention the griffin’s nest in mi chimney ๐Ÿ™‚

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  35. The Kid

    Yep it is, has to be my favourite one I think. If you get any moments like that on the game you have to tell me!!! ahaha

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  36. Wavey Davey, keep forgetting te ask mate, what’s the significance between you and the Royal Irish Rangers? Were yee awa there in the 70s or 80s? Sorry, bit prying, teliz te FO if ye want.

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  37. Rod @ 70 after being married to Klondyke Kate I would say he is used to gargoyles etc, so that wouldn’t bother him ๐Ÿ™‚
    Ice whats the prediction for tomoro ?

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