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Big Derby Decisions For Alan Pardew

8 years ago
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Well it’s almost time for our second biggest game this week and I’m sure a few of us are looking forward to this one…

In reality it’s a game we should really win. At the end of the day if we were playing any other team with their quality of players and current form we would be expecting to win 3 or 4 nil, however derbies tend to have an extra spice to them.

Decisions!

The bonus for Pardew is that this weekend he probably has the strongest squad of available players to choose from since he arrived at the club.

Now very few of us would have predicted that starting line-up on Thursday. Bigi on the wing? Williamson over Perch? Wouldn’t have been my choice but we almost pulled it off. So what does decisions does Pardew have to make?

Goalkeeper

Basically picks himself bar any last minute hiccups.

Right Back

Now if Debuchy is fit he has to play for me. At the end of the day he’s a full international and a quality player. Don’t get me wrong, most teams in the prem would probably have Danny Simpson. He’s a good grafter and gives his all and won us plenty of points with his famous off the line clearances but his inability to provide quality in the final third is infuriating.

Centre Backs

Well Yanga would appear to be a cert but then it’s down to who is fit. Colo is due back next week but who knows maybe he might make a similar recovery to HBA. Taylor should be fit but given his injury record is it worth the risk considering how much he will throw himself about. Perch would appear unlikely given his snub in favour of Williamson, who’s already played once this week and must need a rest? Please!

Left Back

Haidara played well on Thursday and does look a good player the more he plays. However, I wouldn’t want to risk putting him in on Sun given some of the tackles that will be flying. Instead it has to be Jonas who has been reinvigorated in the last two games when switched to LB.

Centre Midfield

Even if Tiote is passed fit I still wouldn’t play him. He’s maybe our best midfielder to sit by Cabaye but the memories of the game at the SOL this season still infuriate me. His stupidity and aggression cost us that game and at times he seems to be a liability. Look at the Stoke game, would anybody else in our team give away such a ridiculous penalty as that? No! Tiote seems to be half the player he was last season, his passing at times is dreadful. With Bigi, Anita and Perch there are plenty of options for the manager to get a holding midfielder in there. Perch is a safe pair of hands and won’t be afraid to get a tackle in so it’s him for me.

Attacking Midfield

The now regular Sissoko role should be his again no question.

Wingers

Now the obvious talking point is HBA but given his return from injury it’s unlikely he will start. To be honest I don’t see this as a bad thing as he will be able to change the game and give us the edge moving into the final third of the game. In this fixture last season he pretty much finished Kieran Richardson’s career by turning him every way possible for 90 minutes and I would expect nothing less again whoever he’s up against. Gouffran and Marveaux would be most supporters’ choice and provide a good balance of workrate and skill.

Striker

Now as much as we all love the whole “Mackem Slayer” tag associated with Shola, he will unfortunately have to come off the bench if he is to add to his impressive derby day tally. Cisse, despite having a chance conversion rate of 0.5% and an inability to understand the offside rule, is in good form. You just get the feeling that he isn’t far away from having one of those games where everything he touches turns to goals. Given the quality of opposition in Bramble and O’Shea you would have to think that Sunday could be his day.

Given that we will probably line up with our usual home formation of 4-2-3-1 I would like to see Krul, Debuchy, Taylor, Yanga, Jonas, Cabaye, Perch, Gouffran, Marveaux, Sissoko, Cisse. You then have Shola and HBA as impact subs to finish them off, I’m going for a 4-0 win.

I just don’t see them scoring and I’ve got a funny feeling that this is going to be Cisse’s day. New manager or not we are miles ahead of them in quality and should prove it. How many of their players would you take and put in our starting team? Probably none! This is going to be our day folks!

Howay the lads!

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