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Newcastle United v Stoke City

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Enough of the partying, time to get back to business! :boss:

The point of interest for me today will be how we shape up without Tiote. Considering we're playing Stoke the obvious answer is to ask Anita to fill that role and stick Shola back up front. Personally I'd like to see a bit of Ben Arfa though, behind Shola/Remy with Anita and Cabaye sitting behind him.

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Hatem Ben Arfa is set to be unleashed on Stoke City today.


The talented playmaker has been forced to be patient over recent months with his role reduced to a substitute.


The suspension of Cheick Tiote today has freed up a place in a winning side, and it is one Alan Pardew is considering filling with Ben Arfa.


Pardew said: “Hatem has a chance.


“I want a team that I think is going to beat Stoke and I will pick a team that I think will do that.


“But I have also got Papiss Cisse in the background and Sammy Ameobi is doing very, very well at the moment, so I have choices and I will just make the choice that I think is right to win the game.”


Pardew believes today will be a special one at St James’ Park


He said: ““We are looking forward to a really happy day, hopefully, on Boxing Day.


“We are in a great position, we are going to have 50,000 there and we want to make sure we entertain them with a win.”

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I absolutely fucking loathe Mark Hughes and once saw a couple of fellow Mags set upon by a good few of their lot in the home paddock section of their old ground on Boxing day a few years ago so have no warm feelings for the club either. Please send them back home with 0 points and hopefully a goal difference at least two goals worse off.

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1. Quite a few people were predicting a rough season for you, even with Hughes in charge, what's he changed that's had Stoke defying the pre-season doom-mongers?
It's been slow going but were beginning to look like we can score from open play with our defence not suffering too much. Attacking fullbacks help.

2. You didn't make a lot of signings in the window, so rather than ask which of those has impressed, I'll ask which Stoke player has caught the eye this season?
GEoff Cameron has added a new attacking threat. Bego consistently good.

3. In 2012/13 only two clubs saw attendances decline, of which only Stoke City’s decline was significant with 1.8% less fans that made their way to the Britannia Stadium. What do you put that down to?
Awful to watch.

4. It seems that as you return to a more direct style, your form is improving, do you think it's going to take another transfer window or two before Hughes has you playing the way he wants?
Yes we still need pace up front and a midfield destroyer.

5. Mark Hughes complained about the distance your club has to travel over Xmas, despite Stoke being central and despite the club arranging a plane. Is this a genuine concern for your team, or is he just getting excuses in early before two tough away trips?
We've been stitched up by the FA. Look at Sir Trevor's clubs fixtures.

6. Newcastle have been fairly steady this year, currently sitting 6th and in a good run of form. What do you put this quiet success down to?
Good players performing well. Injury free.

7. Do you think that Newcastle can remain in or close to the European spots (or even get in via the FA cup?) If not, why?
They're one of the better squads in the chasing pack and have goals in the team.

8. It may surprise you to hear that Matthieu Debuchy is statistically the best right back in the league this season, or that Lovren of Sotuhampton is the centre half; does the big-club bias bother you? And knowing you're to face the best performing right back, are you more worried about your left hand side?
You should be worrying about Cameron's runs too. Pieters is pretty steady.

9. Aside from Debuchy, who are you worried about facing?
Remy will cause us problems. Also the French midfielders.

10. Finally, what do you think the score will be?
Heart says 1-1 head says 2-0 to you.



1. To be honest not an awful lot has changed we're still direct with long balls up to Crouch but once it's up there we are a lot better at getting players around him. Other than that we're just playing players in the right position and system.

2. Geoff Cameron at right back has probably been our player of the season so far a lot of our attacks go through him. Though honourable mentions go out to Asmir Begovic and Glen Whelan who have had decent seasons so far as well.

3. Our performances after our boxing day demolition of Liverpool were pretty poor to say the least. Tony Pulis started to brown off a lot of supporters with team selection and tactics with square pegs in round holes and dropping in form players.

4. I think we are playing the way Hughes wants us to play. There's one than more element to our play, yes we can still play the direct stuff, but we can equally mix it up by going through the likes of Stepher Ireland, Steven Nzonzi and Charlie Adam while Geoff Cameron will look to break from full back given the chance. It's about having the right game plan for each game and being able to adapt it if necessary, its not the long ball or short ball that matters its the right ball.

5. It's a pretty raw deal for everyone at Stoke (especially for supporters over Christmas) to make two 350+ round mile trips over Christmas considering the PL say they try to reduce traveling far distances over the Christmas period.

6. Newcastle have always had a decent team. It's off the pitch that prevent you from being up there constantly with unrest between players, owners and supporterd at times.

7. I don't think Newcastle are good enough to finish above at least one of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, Spurs. The FA cup is always a possibility but its the FA cup and anything can happen.

8. I've always resented to big club bias in the media especially but I've learned to live with it and generally ignore it. Am I worried about our left hand side no, defensively we are still solid plus we're on a decent run ourselves only losing 1 in our last 8 league games.

9. Yohan Cabeye is a top draw player who I'm slight surprised at not being snapped up by another club.



1. Well, only a couple of weeks ago there were still plenty of doom-mongers on this board. We've 4 tough fixtures coming up, if we lose all 4 they'll all be back again and more strident than ever.
2. Bego is one of the best keepers in the country, so no surprise he's shone. Wish he was English, with the world cup coming up
3. Dreadful football from the second half of the season before last.
4. Yes
5. I think it's more concern for the fans. I'm sure we never used to have to travel anything like as far, or have back-to-back away fixtures.
6. Pardew is a devotee of Wicca. It's down to the casting of the runes.
7. Yes, but only if you sacrifice a goat under the next full moon.
8. No, no.
10. 3-1 4tzqvp1fxEemag_TAXLJ.gif



Couldn't be bothered to edit it with this hangover, probably do it later.

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