Predicted Newcastle United Line-Up At West Brom
West Brom v Newcastle United
Saturday 20 April 3pm
Alan Pardew has reported that his players have taken advantage of no midweek distractions and have looked a lot more livelier in training.
Today will be the acid test of that but injuries continue to undermine the options available.
The manager revealed at his press conference that Sylvain Marveaux and Cheick Tiote have picked up injuries and will miss out today at the Hawthorns.
Once again I look at the players available and I’m guessing at least ten of the players pick themselves, unless there are any hidden injuries and/or Alan Pardew does something stupid/unexpected and plays the likes of Shola from the start.
I had hoped to see Gouffran given the chance of playing up front alongside/behind Papiss Cisse and against Fulham we got a glimpse, unfortunately Santon’s injury brought Anita off the bench and wholesale changes, not necessary in my opinion, with Gouffran ending up back on the left.
With nobody else in the likely starting apart from Cisse and Gouffran having any kind of a scoring pedigree, to me it is a no-brainer to at least try and get the French striker into positions where we can see if he can share the goal responsibility.
Plus I believe that having Sissoko alongside Cabaye could bring him back to life and take some of the engine room responsibility off his shoulders.
Pardew said he’d maybe made a mistake playing Jonas at full-back against the mackems and I expect Haidara to play with Jonas in front, instantly meaning we strengthen two positions and give more options going forward.
With thankfully Rob Elliot recovering from an ankle injury it has headed off a goalkeeping crisis and the only player I see as not a certainty to start is Anita. However, by a process of elimination the options are limited, with a possibility of Perch playing centrally and Sissoko/Gouffran out wide.
Yes again on paper at least the starting eleven looks capable but the only real positive on the bench is likely to be Hatem Ben Arfa, with the manager revealing that his ongoing hamstring problem means it is all but impossible to risk Hatem from the start of matches.
West Brom started the season really well but have settled back into mid-table, Newcastle were very lucky to beat them at St.James’ Park and they carry a goal threat from a number of players.
Having said that, they haven’t won in their last three matches and arguably have little to play for while Newcastle are the exact opposite.
Total commitment and an attacking outlook could and should bring at least a point, here’s hoping.
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