Newcastle v Blackburn – FA Cup match preview

The FA Cup.

The FA Cup.
Up for a cup?
Moving away from the fantastic annihilation of Sir Alex Ferguson’s men and we face the other side to beat them inside a week – Blackburn Rovers.

This FA Cup 3rd Round clash has the potential to be a fiery affair as both teams like to get physical, whilst the Toon will be looking to exact revenge for the 4-3 defeat Rovers inflicted upon them in October last year in that emotional rollercoaster of a League Cup 4th Round tie.

Newcastle United:

Goliaths Cheik Tiote and Demba Ba depart for the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast and Senegal respectively, whilst the Toon will do without long term absentee’s Steven Taylor (achilles) and Sylvain Marveaux (groin). Danny Guthrie is only a week or so away from a comeback from his own groin injury whilst Hatem Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling are both pushing for starts.

Blackburn Rovers:

Goalkeeper Paul Robinson (calf) is close to a comeback, but the Magpies test is likely to come too soon. Martin Olsson and David Hoilett (both hamstring) are nearing full fitness but again manager Steve Kean will be reluctant to risk aggravating their injuries ahead of the Premier League tie against Fulham next week. Ryan Nelsen (knee), Vincenzo Grella (hip) and Scott Dann (groin) are all ruled out. Now that is an injury crisis!

Shamrock’s Top 10 Really Interesting Stats and Facts:

1 – This is the 11th FA Cup clash between the two sides, with Newcastle having won five and drawn three. Rovers have never won a Cup tie at St James’ Park whilst they will have to go back to 1993 to find the last time they knocked us out of the Competition. We have beaten them three times since, however it took replays on two of those occasions.

2 – The last FA Cup tie between these sides came in January 2000 at Ewood Park. Alan Shearer was given a hostile reception by the home fans and was boo’d throughout. That put the fire in his belly and he put Rovers to the sword with two successful strikes, including his 250th Career goal.

3 – Newcastle are strong favourites for this one, with bookies’ odds of 8/13 meaning a flutter on the home side is almost pointless. Blackburn are 4-1, whilst a draw will fetch 3-1. Bearing in mind two of the last three FA Cup matches between these sides initially ended in draws, this could could be a good punt.

4 – Newcastle and Blackburn have each won the FA Cup six times. Rovers last lifting the famous trophy in 1928 with a 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town, whilst our last success came in 1955 with a 3-1 victory over Manchester City.

5 – Rovers’ Jason Roberts has scored four goals in his last four starts against the Magpies.

6 – Yakubu is one to watch, with 13 goals in 18 games so far this season.

7 – Newcastle’s squad is currently valued at £93m compared to Blackburn’s £69.5m.

8 – The Toon will be looking for their 170th FA Cup victory against Rovers.

9 – In ten appearances against us, Morten Gamst Pedersen has scored four goals and set up two.

10 – If each FA Cup game were scored on a points system, then the all time league table would have Blackburn in 8th place with 645 points. Newcastle would be 10th with 592 points.

Tactical thoughts and ponderings:

Right then, this week will be a short one. Why? I don’t have the foggiest about what sort of team Blackburn are likely to field, or what formation they will set out with. They have gone from 4-4-2’s incorporating Goodwillie and Yakubu up front to 4-5-1’s with the Yak on his own up front, two advanced wingers and three central midfielders sitting rather deep this season. Being away from home I would guess Steve Kean will pursue the latter option in an effort to limit our chances and keep the Toon fans quiet.

The problem is Blackburn have injuries to several key players and some of those that may make a comeback against Newcastle will certainly not be fully match fit. This leaves under pressure Rovers boss Steve Kean with a big problem. I don’t think he will welcome this fixture, particularly on the back of our confident performance and 3-0 win against Man Utd, which will no doubt have left him gutted that we are picking up form again.

Blackburn obviously managed to beat Man Utd on New Years Eve with a well earned 3-2 victory at Old Trafford, however looking at the stats it was certainly not a confident performance from Rovers. They had 5 shots on target to Man Utd’s 13, 3 corners to Man Utd’s 17 and only 42% of the possession. Frankly Man Utd ‘hammered’ them, but failed to take their chances and were off colour in defence. It was just a bad day in the office as opposed to Blackburn being excellent.

Rovers went on to lose at home to Stoke City when Kean will have been telling them they can beat anybody if they can beat the Red Devils. That was their chance to build up a head of steam and give themselves some confidence. It will have hurt them and heads will have dropped for sure. Kean now has to decide whether to go for it and try and build up some confidence amongst his playing staff in a competition that will no doubt hurt his squad the longer they stay in it, or play the younger lads and those sat on the fringes in an effort to give them some experience and maybe dig up a new gem.

If I were Kean, there would be little doubt that this game would see some of the big names getting a rest in preparation for the next league match. The last thing he needs is more injuries or fatigued players if he is to have any chance of avoiding relegation this term. That gives Alan Pardew the ideal opportunity to tinker about with his team a little and find his best line up in the absensc of prolific leading scorer Demba Ba and midfield machine Cheick Tiote.

With Hatem Ben Arfa beginning to grumble in the press about being overlooked since his return to fitness, Pards needs to decide if changing from a strong 4-4-2 formation to something more suited to our little Frenchman is in the best interests of the club. Benny slated Pardew’s tactics recently (Only mildly I might add, out of frustration). I’m sure he feels suitable sheepish following the Man U game! I think he will change things around and we will see Benny start, with accompanying tactics to suit.

However, if Benny boy fails to deliver a good enough all round performance I can see him being hooked off and dropped back to the bench for the QPR game. There is no doubt he has the talent to be a menace against any opposition, but he does not seem to have the stamina to keep those standards up throughout the course of a game and that talent can quickly make way to be a bit of a liability (i.e no link between midfield and up front, trying too hard with dribbles etc instead of making the pass).

If Pards can find the right balance in the team to accommodate Ben Arfa and maintain our all round effectiveness then hallelujah! However, as things stand I’m not convinced Ben Arfa and our tactics/style of play are a good match.

Not much tactics here I know, but Newcastle don’t need to do anything drastic against Blackburn. Keep the back five the same for stability, tinker around a bit in midfield but revert to type (4-4-2) should we struggle to break through. This game should really be a bit of a formality and I for one expect a strong line up and win to go with it.

After all, Pardew did say he wants us to put a good Cup run together this season and Blackburn ended our previous chance of that, so he will have extra incentive for this one! Blackburn’s dangers to be aware of are Yakubu, Pedersen, Jason Roberts and set pieces. Give Shola another start for his height and influence (when he’s in the mood), be organised for free kicks and corners, don’t let them bully us and we will be fine.


40-year-old Leicestershire born Kevin Friend will take the helm for this one. He joined the Select Group of Referees in our Championship season. Blackburn have won three of their five games officiated by Friend, whilst Newcastle have won each of their fou matches under him with a goal difference of 10-2! More of the same please Ref….

Newcastle United V Blackburn Rovers

Saturday 7th January 2012 @ 15:00

St James’ Park

Howay the lads!

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

103 thoughts on “Newcastle v Blackburn – FA Cup match preview

  1. @whumpie
    You say;

    There’s no release clause; Ashley wouldn’t wear it. Also, don’t underestimate Ba and his ethics; I’ve heard this guy is teetotal and very moralistic, so if he likes life where he is, I think he’ll not easily be turned by yet more dosh.

    😯 😯 😯 😯 You really that naive? He won’t easily be turned by yet more dosh… 😯


  2. There is no reason for Ba to have negotiated a release clause.

    No one was banging on his door trying to sign him when West Ham went down, what leverage did he have during the negotiations to include a £7 million release clause? That makes no sense at all, and would benefit the club in no way at all. They could easily sell for a couple of million if he was a flop (and make a profit) but the possibility of him turning into a success would mean having the figure of £7 million included laughable…


  3. Troy the trouble is these lads are very hopeful it wont happen but we all know deep down it really could 😯
    At the moment though i think its just bull 😀


  4. Newkie says:
    January 6, 2012 at 16:06

    I accept that but my point is that his agents have a history with clauses. If they knew how good he could be they would have been stupid not to have asked for a minimum fee release clause. Especially as he was on a free.


  5. 😆 Richie@72.

    Well I’ve just stuck twenty quid on us to lift the cup anyway. If anyone fancies an each way bet we are fantastic value at the moment and if we beat Blackburn tomorrow our odds will shorten. I’m not tipping here, so no comeback on me if we get an early knockout. 😎 ….just thought I’d mention it as a great value each way bet anyway:

    Newcastle – £10.00 – 33/1 = 330.00
    Newcastle – £10.00 – 16.50/1 = 165.00

    …that’s £175 back from £20 if we reach the final, and £515 back from £20 if we win it. You can actually get 40/1 at William Hills but I ain’t got an account with them and couldn’t be arsed to walk into town.

    (probli just jinxed us now like)


  6. That Sky article about the FA cup was good, but this cracked me up:

    “You never see a Manchester United or a Liverpool shirt in Newcastle – everyone has the black and white stripes. Football is a religion there even though they haven’t won anything for such a long time.”

    Oh, and because anyone in a Manure or Bindipper shirt would soon find it being used to hang them from the nearest Metro station sign by their testicles. 😆


  7. Troy @78 – yep, that’s pretty naive. But I find it helps to think the best of people by default, and that’s easy if you ignore:

    1. Anything in the papers, which of course focus entirely on the scum of the earth
    2. Anyone involved in football… which employs most of them. 😛


  8. Stuart-Aye I’m sure they would, but I’d guess most agents would want buy out clauses on all their clients, getting one unless your some massively highly rated youngster seems to be quite difficult though.

    From what I can tell Ba’s main agent is still a relatively low profile German bloke-maybe he’d like to engineer a move as Ba is his main client, but maybe he also lacked the nous to get such a contract?

    Furthermore I really can’t see why Ash would include one when he clearly likes to do his own bargaining and get the very top dollar. Still, he is a bit of a div.


  9. @Rodz

    If you had put £10 on us winning the cup each year since 1955, you could have saved £570. 😛

    You are over 57 yrs aren’t you. ? 😯


  10. Whumpie 83 😆

    That bit made me laugh, you might not see many of them but there’s still a fair few locals who support Manure.

    Bastards :mrgreen:

    I liked where Jeffy argued against Merson about us being bigger than Villa, good lad he is 😛


  11. Newkie, he would though, he’s a Hartlepool lad.

    …and Paul Merson is a **** who talks out of his arse. He only said that about Villa cos he played for them.


  12. Rodz-Aye I know, the old man is a monkey hanger as well, still not much reason for him to love us, other than we don’t like the smoggies I guess?


  13. Fulham just rejected a bid from QPR for Andy Johnson apparently. Mildly relevant, but probably not.

    Newkie, I think a lot of the ‘older’ older fans tend to want all North East clubs to do well, as difficult as that is to comprehend. I bet Jeff is a closet Toon fan anyway.


  14. Why would QPR want Johnson anyway, full of mediocre strikers already 😯 Guess they just want to buy who they can, and mainly from the other relegation candidates like Blackburn to make sure they go down… 😆

    Yeah Rodz that’s just like my dad, he wants them all to do well although he supports Newcastle the most and actually watches us when he wants to see real football…. 😀

    He should be, he’s probably the only one on SSN i actually like apart from maybe kammy because he’s a mong and Le Tissier because he was so good.


  15. I see Harry has diarrhea mouth again. what a surprise. Hands off you little gimp. If QPR can put a 5 M pound bid in for Samba why don’t we get in there? Come on Ashley. How about 8 M to start and see what happens? I could see a low scoring affair against Rovers. Can we pinch it 2-1 with Shola and Ben Arfa scoring? Already rumours going around that Ben Arfa is unhappy with his role with us. What role? It has been a complete mystery to me. Very little playing time whether we are playing good teams or bad. What did you expect Pardew? He is clearly unsettled now. Make a commitment to play him now Pardew before he asks to leave. Don’t go back to Best and Shola or we will lose him unless we use him in something like a 4-3-1-2 formation (I would like to see that against Rovers). Come on Pardew bring in some fresh ideas, not just long ball.


  16. My old man is the same Newkie, but I wasn’t gona be the first one to admit it 🙂

    …Kammy is a legend.


  17. Haha 😛

    Its funny because we were watching the match on wednesday while I was back from Uni and we’re basically the only Newcastle fans ever around in this ****ty Welsh village surrounded by plastic mancs and scousers.

    When the banter starts he gets angrier than me, yet he can still wind me up about Sunderland catching us up, don’t know how his mind works 😕 then again, I suppose it doesn’t anymore 😀


  18. Anyone who thinks Demba Ba and Tiote will be sold …..calm down and stop worrying because it won’t happen.
    All our major players are committed to this club at this present time and will be going nowhere in January.
    We may offload one or two fringe players but only when we know we have a few players coming in.
    Anyone who thinks Demba Ba is a mercenary, think again because I believe he has morals and I believe he wants to be a part of propelling this club forward.
    Newcastle United is the place to be for any footballer that values hard work and the adulation that success would bring if they were part of it.
    Nowhere in this country are players more idolised if they perform.

    In the summer, all the players that are still here will know exactly where this club is heading and will want to be a part of that because if they help to achieve success here, they will be remembered and be afforded life long adulation, unlike others who choose bigger clubs, only to fade into the back ground and be known as someone who could have made it.

    Over time, we will always offload players and odd players will leave through various reasons but that’s football and it’s how you move forward from that, is the key issue.
    We have lost players from the onset of relegation and built on it with clever well thought out signings and a managerial/coaching/scouting team that is looking fantastic.

    Make no mistake lads and lasses, Newcastle United is re-fueling and ready for take off.

    You don’t get a team spirit and players fighting for each other by luck, it is something that is built upon which includes a belief in each others qualities and a trust in each other as people and friends, which money cannot buy.

    Believe me, this is a Newcastle UNITED that most fans have never really seen, including myself and the closest we got to it was in Keegans managerial hey day.

    Even if you think I’m deluded or mad, just go with that thought because it will make you feel good and fill you with anticipation rather than feeling like something will go wrong, which benefits no fan. 😀


  19. I don’t think either Demba Ba or Tiote are mercenaries but if someone offers them twice the wage we give them then they are going to seriously consider it. They would be mad not to. That puts the honus on our owner to make sure they are well paid in order to keep them, not counting on the players’ good thoughts and intentions about the club and the city. That is ridiculous. Players go where the money is. They want to be paid fairly compared to their peers. The same goes for Colo. He wants to be paid fairly and Ashley thinks otherwise. We won’t get around this by Llambias crying poverty to the press. It’s pathetic. We can’t afford agents fees but everyone else in the league can? We can’t pay competitive wages for great players? What utter tripe.


  20. GEORDIETWO, the club has a wage ceiling and I’m sure are paying very generous wages…
    Paltry by Man City and Man Utd standards maybe but then again most other clubs are equally paltry by their standards.
    What we can’t do is use the oil rich clubs as a wages yardstick because that would simply set us back once again because then we are in danger of becoming a mercenaries dream.

    Remember…it’s hard to get top KNOWN players over the line because we won’t pay those sick wages so we have to be clever, the same as most other clubs do for the time being until those oil rich clubs start questioning the sick wages they are paying.

    We are doing it right even though some fans think otherwise.
    I’m sure any player worth his salt at our club will be paid what he’s worth in the clubs eyes (top of the wage ceiling)

    Any player not happy with that can do one as far as I’m concerned because most players at this club will never have to work again once they hang up their boots.
    It’s time for fans to start getting real as much as it’s time for players and clubs to get real as regards payments because any fan that tells me that a player is worth a rise of 40 grand a week or whatever on top of what he gets, just because he’s played well for us, needs their heads testing.

    I want a club where players are happy with their salaries but their minds are on the game and not on their bank books every time someone slips a nice sweetener in front of their faces.


  21. TROY, what people decide to do is up to them 😀 I’m just putting across my feelings and views and my optimistic outlook based on how I see things moving.
    I may not be entirely correct on all outcomes but I view it how I see it. What I don’t do is view a negative where I don’t see one. 😀


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green