Newcastle United v Stoke – Match Preview
Last season we saw Newcastle United at their best against Stoke City, a team that had caused United problems in recent times were put in their place home and away.
A Demba Ba hat-trick capped an excellent performance at the Britannia and a dominant performance saw a three goal home victory with two goals for Cabaye and a sublime pass for Cisse to score the other.
For the first time Tony Pulis is coming under fire from the fans, as the relative success of comfortable Premier League survival in recent years is wearing a bit thin. The Potters come here with only a Premier League win against Reading since Boxing Day and a shocker of an away run which has seen them win only once on the road in twenty three matches.
It is hard not to mention Michael Owen when he is part of a visiting squad, despite the fact he still hasn’t started a league game for his latest club. Signing a player like Owen, who no doubt wanted to go to the Britannia even less than he wanted to come to St.James’ Park, is maybe a clear indication of Pulis’ waning powers.
Stoke of course were the opposition when Newcastle’s then fragile nature was best summed up back in November, after a very good team performance and a Cisse goal, Newcastle threw it away with a mad final few minutes when they gifted Stoke two goals with weak defending.
Today of course Alan Pardew will field a much changed defence with new signings Debuchy and Mapou having made excellent starts. Plus the manager can bring in Debuchy, Santon and Taylor who was he able to rest in Moscow, give or take a few minutes at the end for Steven Taylor.
Alan Pardew of course is hoping to welcome back Papiss Cisse as the focal point of our attacking line-up, with the player returning to training the manager has said that he expects him to play.
This would allow Yoan Gouffran to stay in a more withdrawn supporting and he could be opne of seven first team players who start today who didn’t in Moscow – Debuchy, Taylor, Jonas, Tiote, Santon and Cisse the others.
Stoke have only scored eight times in fourteen league matches on their travels and so Rob Elliot will be holding out every hope of adding another clean sheet to the Anzhi one.
While we will always fear the worst because of past encounters, today Newcastle have a great chance of putting another three points between themselves and relegation worries, a two goal win enough to take them above Stoke while if United go goal crazy then top half is possible.
As always though I’d settle for a one goal win off somebody’s backside and that I believe is the very least we’ll get today.
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