12 noon. That’s a time for a Sunday roast not a football match. Who’s idea was this particular kick-off switch I wonder? It’s bad enough for us but what genius decided that the Geordies wouldn’t mind turning up still dressed in their pj’s and holding their Teddys? Heaven knows what time they’ll have to set off to make it for kick-off, maybe they’ll just come straight from the Bigg Market. All very ridiculous.
Newcastle’s form has been somewhat erratic thus far, a loss to Sunderland was followed by a win against Chelsea, and defeat at home by Hull was succeeded by a tidy away win at Cardiff. In attack, much depends on Loic Remy, a man who appears to have won over the Barcodes followers despite snubbing them in January and getting his collar felt in May. Amazing what a few goals will do for a man’s popularity. In midfield Yohan Cabaye appears to have regained some form after having had his head turned by Arsenal in August. He, along with Sissoko and Tiote form an impressive looking midfield, one that Paulinho and the Beast are more than capable of subduing however.
Pardew’s tactics are liable to be the familiar ones we see most weeks, ie keep organised with a good shape and hope to hit us on the break.
What a difference a week (and a day) makes. One minute you’re jeopardising Capital One progress with a soft penalty against a Tiger, the next you’re notching your first goal and being awarded man of the match plaudits in the Europa League. Step forward Erik Lamela, your time has come. Or I hope it has anyway. He and Eriksen were no doubt supposed to supplement Soldado when it came to goals but it hasn’t worked out that way so far as we all know. The Argentine’s blossoming could hardly have come at a better time such is the strain our spluttering attack is under. AVB will be very tempted to start with young Erik now that his confidence has returned. It’s no coincidence that his family have arrived in the country to give him some support. Just shows what a little love and affection can do.
Apart from Lamela for Lennon, Eriksen for Holtby is the only other change Villas-Boas is likely to consider I reckon, assuming the bump on Hugo’s head has gone down of course. Kapowee is back and that’s a relief, my guess though is that he’ll start on the bench. Rose is still a few weeks away from returning unfortunately.
Chris Foy is down to referee, which is a shame. Fingers crossed that the early start means that he’s a tad more alert than normal. COYS.
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