The Umbrella Man cometh
Newcastle at home on Sunday afternoon and, on paper anyway, an excellent chance once again to put pressure on the clubs above us. A good win would take us third if both the Manchester clubs slip up badly – unlikely I know.
Our league game against them in October last year was a very depressing affair you might recall. Coasting at half time we managed to allow ourselves to get thoroughly outplayed by a very shitey side after the break – Sammy Ameobi ran riot! – and lose 2-1. That was pre-Kane though and the Capital One cup game just 6 weeks later was the polar opposite, a well deserved 4-0 win contained what is still Nabil Bentaleb’s only goal for the club – mind you, even Soldado scored that evening. Bentaleb is well on his way to full fitness which with signs of the spindly fingers of fatigue and tiredness starting to claw at the legs of some of our players is perfect timing. He and the also freshly returning Chadli will get their chances to regain their first team places sooner rather than later probably given the number of games coming up in December and January but they’re unlikely to get a start this weekend.
We meet the away side on the back of their best result of the season, a 2-0 win over Liverpool. Wijnaldum scored one and made the other and the Dutchman appears to be one of the few in a black and white shirt who can hold their head up after what’s been a pretty wretched start to the season. The gamble of appointing Steve McClaren doesn’t appear to have paid off thus far with limp performances following flaccid displays. They currently lie 18th with 13 points, level with Bournemouth and Norwich. Ouch. Their only away win of the season was a fortunate one at the Cherries. In Sissoko and the aforementioned Wijnaldum they have players capable of causing us a problem though and Newcastle fans have been waiting for a while for Siem de Jong to show what he can do but in general there’s little to be scared of – Liverpool would’ve thought the same mind.
Predicting our eleven
Assuming everyone’s fit, and I don’t know about Dembélé, then it will probably be the same eleven as last week. Son’s ability to find space next to Kane may well end up being a key feature of our attack but at the moment he’s not playing well enough to displace anyone unless Pochettino springs a surprise and gives Eriksen the chance for a rest. (If Dembélé doesn’t make it then the small army of South Korean visitors we’re seeing at games these days will probably get to see their hero in action).
Yesterday’s win against Monaco was achieved with only 4 starters from the weekend, pretty much ideal.
No game is straightforward in this division as we know and McClaren will have noticed our struggles against the deep lying defences of Chelsea and West Brom. This though is a game we should win and anything other than three points will be a disappointment. COYS.
Roger East is the referee. He was in charge when we won at Bournemouth.
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