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Premier League

  • 21 April 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 52162
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Newcastle - Stoke City Preview: Magpies look to enhance Champions League chances

Alan Pardew’s men will be looking to record a double over the Potters to improve their top-four challenge, with the Potters bidding for another top-half finish with Tony Pulis

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Krul
Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon
Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez
Ben Arfa, Cisse, Ba

STOKE CITY

Begovic
Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson
Delap, Palacios, Whitehead, Etherington
Crouch, Walters


Newcastle look set to make just one change from the side that comfortably defeated Bolton 2-0 on Easter Monday as they seek to continue their unlikely bid for Champions League football.

Midfield anchorman Cheikh Tiote is fit again after a recurrence of a hamstring injury forced him out of the win over the Trotters, and may take the place of James Perch, who is doubtful with a thigh problem.

Goalkeeper Tim Krul is expected to shake off a back problem picked up in training in midweek, and there is a chance that Leon Best, Gabriel Obertan and Danny Guthrie could return from knee, ankle and calf injuries respectively, but they may only be fit enough for the bench.

Midfielder Sylvain Marveaux has returned to training after hip and groin surgery, but this game is expected to come a little to soon for the Frenchman. Steven Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands and Sammy Ameobi are all out.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis has only one major doubt for the trip to the Sports Direct Arena, with winger Jermaine Pennant suffering from flu, and is expected to name an unchanged side from the one which drew 1-1 away with Aston Villa last time out.

Defender Andy Wilkinson has recovered from a groin injury that sidelined him for the Easter double header, and could take a place on the bench.

Danny Higginbotham is back from a loan spell at Championship side Nottingham Forest but is not eligible, as he is not registered in Stoke’s 25-man Premier League squad.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Newcastle have won their last five consecutive Premier League matches.
  • Magpies striker Demba Ba (right) scored one of his two hat-tricks this season in the reverse fixture at the Britannia Stadium in October when Newcastle won 3-1.
  • Newcastle have only conceded three goals fewer than Tony Pulis' side this season (42) but have scored 15 times more, and are 17 points better off.
  • Stoke City have scored the fewest amount of away goals in the Premier League this season - with just 11.
  • The Potters have also failed to win in 76 per cent of their away matches this campaign.
  • City have scored 39% of their 31 goals in the last 20 minutes of matches, but have also conceded 39% of their 45 goals against in the same time period.
  • Referee Martin Atkinson will be the fourth official at the game, after his controversial decision to award Chelsea's second goal in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Tottenham.
  • If the Potters take three points on Saturday, they will ensure another season in the Premier League, though it is very unlikely they will be relegated, sitting 13 points above the drop zone.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Tim KrulGoalkeeper
2Fabricio ColocciniDefender
3Davide SantonDefender
25Danny SimpsonDefender
6Mike WilliamsonDefender
6Yohan CabayeMidfielder
10Hatem Ben ArfaMidfielder
15Jonas GutierrezMidfielder
24Cheikh TioteMidfielder
9Papiss CisséStriker
19Demba BaStriker
21Rob ElliotGoalkeeper
14James PerchMidfielder
16Ryan TaylorDefender
31Shane FergusonDefender
15Dan GoslingMidfielder
20Leon BestStriker
23Shola AmeobiStriker
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
4Robert HuthDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
30Ryan ShottonDefender
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
8W. PalaciosMidfielder
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
25Peter CrouchStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
20Matthew UpsonDefender
7Jermaine PennantMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
10Ricardo FullerStriker
30Cameron JeromeStriker
Players to Watch
Papiss Cissé
Papiss Cissé
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
It’s hard to look anywhere else at the moment for the Magpies’ greatest goalscoring threat. Whilst Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye have been in top form in recent weeks, the arrival of the Senegalese for what looks a bargain £10 million in the January transfer window has taken Newcastle to a different level.

His 10 goals from just 9 starts is a wonderful return, and you would be foolish not expect him to have the chance to add to that tally on Saturday.
Peter Crouch
Peter Crouch
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 25
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The former Spurs’ man has had a good first season for Stoke, and is currently their top goalscorer in the Premier League.

Always a threat with his height, his wonder goal against Manchester City recently re-launched his bid to make England’s Euro 2012 squad. With quality crosses from the likes of Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington, he is always a threat, not forgetting those long throws from Rory Delap.
Prediction
Newcastle have been strong at home this season and there is no reason to suggest that this should change for their clash with Stoke.

With Chelsea and Arsenal meeting in the earlier kick-off and Tottenham playing in the late game, the Magpies have a great chance to lay down a marker and prove that they really can last the pace and qualify for the Champions League.

With Papiss Cisse in top form, along with a lively Hatem Ben Arfa, they should comfortably see off a Stoke team who look to be tiring after a long season.
Editor's Prediction

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