Newcastle United’s Likely Line-Up v Stoke
All credit to the manager because he left out some key players that you would have seen as certainties to play and yet still brought a great result home.
All eyes though turn back to the Premier League on Sunday and it will be interesting to see if any of the unexpected starters on Thursday manage to cling on to their places.
Personally I find it hard to imagine the manager deviating far from what most fans would consider his first choice eleven, from the players who are fully fit.
While Hatem Ben Arfa did start against Anzhi, I think the absence of Papiss Cisse left him with little choice, with the manager stating the artificial surface could aggravate longstanding injury problems for Shola.
I would expect Ben Arfa to make the bench and providing Cisse is in OK shape, I think we’ll line-up as per the illustration.
The continuing injuries to Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini help to make the manager’s mind up at the back, the fact Alan Pardew said he hadn’t forgotten Mike Williamson and was considering him for the Stoke match I think is more about a little bit of a confidence booster for Williamson. I would be amazed if Pardew chose Williamson to start ahead of either Mapou or Steven Taylor.
With the full-backs picking themselves (in my opinion), I believe players such as Tiote, Gouffran and Jonas will automatically come back in, at least until Ben Arfa is fully charged up.
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