Newcastle v Stoke
Sunday 8 February 2.05pm Live On SKY Sports
The first time in a while that the team doesn’t automatically pick itself.
John Carver confirmed that Ryan Taylor, Papiss Cisse, Paul Dummett and Gabriel Obertan are all fit enough to start now.
In order I would say that the most likely to start is Dummett, then Cisse, Obertan and finally Ryan Taylor.
The most likely scenario of course is that John Carver will change nothing.
After a three goal away win it takes a brave man to change a team, especially when you are going up against the slightly different challenge that Stoke pose.
United posted their first clean sheet in fourteen matches last Saturday, while the visitors have kept clean sheets in three of their last six Premier League games.
With four wins and a draw against Manchester United in their last six league matches, Stoke have risen above Newcastle in the exciting chase for tenth spot. Mark Hughes’ team are in a run of form and today we will likely find out whether United can use Hull to begin their own winning run.
I would much prefer to see both Cisse and Perez on the pitch together, especially as they have scored 14 of the 29 goals United have scored in total in the Premier League.
Sadly though I think Papiss Cisse’s chances of adding to his nine goals will come from the bench.
Jonathan Walters is Stoke’s top scorer and grabbed a hat-trick last weekend, though he is an injury doubt today. He maybe sums up the visitors with the possible exception of the visitors’ injured Bojan, despite being Stoke’s top scorer, Walters biggest characteristics appear to be running around a lot and putting his foot in.
What Newcastle can’t do is invite Stoke to get a foothold in the match, the first goal is essential or we could be in for a depressing afternoon.
Whether Carver goes with the same team or not, United have to press high up the pitch, something which helped lead to the opener at Hull.
Defeat today and we may well have to wave goodbye to any chance of tenth…
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