Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Sat 30th Nov, 2013.
Kick off: 5.30pm.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
UK TV: Sky Sports 1.
Could we be celebrating four wins in a row this evening?
If the Magpies do manage to wrestle a juicy three point worm from the Throstles at tea time, it would be the first first time they have managed such a feat since March and April of 2012. Back then, they beat Norwich, this evening’s opponents, Liverpool, Swansea, Bolton and finally Stoke in a 6 match winning run, before finally succumbing to a 4-0 hammering at Wigan.
Although that was in the Spring before last, the side had an unseasonal 4-3-2-1 ‘Christmas Tree’ formation with a potent ‘delta force’ of Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa up front. During the West Brom game in that run I jokingly referred to Alan Pardew as ‘Alan Pardiola.’ The Guardian’s North East football correspondent, Louise Taylor, actually took me seriously and the phrase stuck amongst spme fans for a while.
It definitely faded the season after though. After that Wigan walloping, Newcastle seemingly returned to form in fine style against no lesser opponents than Chelsea, defeating the Pensioners 0-2 in a game that will be most remembered for that goal by Papiss Cisse.
It all went downhill for Pardiola from there though. Defeats to Manchester City and Everton followed in the last two games of that season, losing Newcastle a lucrative potential place in the Champions League. Of course, a full season of long ball awfulness followed that with the Magpies narrowly avoiding relegation with a 16th placed finish.
Getting back to today’s game though, apologies for not preparing my usual match preview. To make up for that I will include many elements of what would have gone into that here, starting with
As you can see from the previous results below, and any perusal of the Premier League table, West Bromwich Albion along with Everton are currently the draw specialists of the Premiership, with 6 out of their 12 games so far resulting in a stalemate.
Looking just at previous games between today’s protagonists, the last one of those was a draw as well, 1-1 at their place last season, with Newcastle racking up victories in the two games preceding that. Until those two games though, the Throstles were something of a bogey team for the Magpies, winning 3 and drawing three in the preceding six with no victories for Newcastle since the time of Joe Kinnear’s heart episode back in February 2009.
Last six Premier League games, most recent first.
Newcastle United: I won’t dwell on this one for two long as I will be posting the final team sheets for this game fairly shortly (around an hour before kick off). Bearing in mind Newcastle United’s history in the injury department, it is perhaps worth celebrating that long term absentee Ryan Taylor is currently the only injury in the Newcastle United first team squad.
Two further pieces of team news from the Newcastle are that Mathieu Debuchy will return from his one match suspension for picking up five yellow cards. The second is that Alan Pardew has confirmed that defensive colossus Mike ‘clean sheets’ Williamson, who some might argue has been the defensive foundation of our current renaissance since his return will definately be selected.
West Bromwich Albion: Scott Sinclair, Billy Jones and Liam Ridgewell will be doubtful for this one.
What the managers have been saying.
Alan Pardew’s pre match press conference.
Steve Clarke looks forward to Albion’s trip to Newcastle.
So. with all that pre-match guff out the way, it only leaves it for me to issue my usual reminders. Firstly, as mentioned above, I will be posting the team sheets for the game around an hour before kick-off. This game will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports 1, but I will also be posting links to watch the game online, as well as highlights and even a video of the whole match when it’s over for those of you who would otherwise miss out.
Howay the Lads!
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul (G); Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Yoan Gouffran; Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy.
Subs: Rob Elliot (G), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Vurnon Anita, Sammy Ameobi, Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse.
West Bromwich Albion (4-2-3-1): Boaz Myhill (G); Billy Jones, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell; James Morrison, Youssuf Mulumbu; Morgan Amalfitano, Stephane Sessegnon, Chris Brunt (c); Shane Long
Subs: Luke Daniels (G), Goran Popov, Diego Lugano, Claudio Yacob, Zoltan Gera, Victor Anichebe, Saido Berahino.