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Premier League

  • 26 September 2010
  • • 16:10
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 41915
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Premier League Preview: Newcastle United - Stoke City

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United - Stoke City

Inconsistent or top 10 hopefuls?

Newcastle United will be looking to continue their impressive start to the season on Sunday as they host Stoke City in the Premier League.

Among the favourites to go down before the season had even started, Newcastle have not taken long to silence their critics. Chris Hughton’s men were expected to be in for a tough time against Aston Villa at St James’ Park in their second game of the season, but ran out winners in emphatic style, seeing off the Midlands club 6-0.

Despite the win, they have since lost 2-0 at home to Blackpool and beaten Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park. A sign of their inconsistency, or was the loss to Blackpool a one-off and are we instead seeing a team capable of mounting a challenge for a top 10 place in their first season back in the top flight?

Whether it’s inconsistency or the odd poor result, they certainly showed their class in the League Cup on Wednesday night. After making 10 changes to the side that beat Everton last week, nobody expected Newcastle to knock Chelsea out of the competition. But a late Shola Ameobi header condemned the Blues to a shock 4-3 defeat at Stamford Bridge, leaving Hughton with a number of selection dilemmas for this Sunday.

Record books suggest tough task

If Stoke City supporters were worried by their early season form, their fears have been quickly banished.

After picking up no points from their first three league games, Stoke were in the relegation zone with a tough home fixture against Aston Villa up next. Tony Pulis was expected to miss the game after his mother passed away earlier in the day but entered the dressing room at half-time, reportedly blasted the team’s display and they soon turned it around, coming back from a goal down to win 2-1 thanks to a late Robert Huth goal.

That result may just have kick-started the Potters’ season. A 1-1 draw with West Ham United followed and so did an impressive 2-0 win over a full-strength Fulham side in the League Cup in midweek, a match overshadowed by Andy Wilkinson’s stoppage-time challenge on Moussa Dembele who, after initial fears he could be out for some time, will be able to return in two weeks.

Stoke were one of the busiest teams in England on transfer deadline day. Pulis brought in Marc Wilson, Jermaine Pennant, Eidur Gudjohnsen and re-signed released midfielder Salif Diao. But if the Potters faithful are expecting their new signings to lead them to a victory on Sunday, the record books suggest they may have to think again. Stoke have not beaten Newcastle for 21 years and have not won at St James’ Park for 34 years.

TEAM NEWS

Newcastle United

Steve Harper has been ruled out for three months after injuring his shoulder against Everton last week, which means Tim Krul is set for his first Premier League start.

Sol Campbell is vying for a start after making his debut against Chelsea in midweek, and could be joined in defence by James Perch, who returns from suspension.

Meanwhile, long-term absentees Dan Gosling (knee), Steven Taylor (shoulder) and Danny Simpson (ankle) remain sidelined.

Possible starting XI: Krul; Perch, Campbell, Coloccini, Enrique; Routledge, Tiote, Barton, Ben Arfa; Nolan, Carroll.

Stoke City

Jermaine Pennant faces a late fitness test after picking up a hamstring injury in last week’s draw with West Ham.

Mamady Sidibe is Stoke’s only confirmed absentee as he continues his comeback from an Achilles injury.

Pulis is set to recall a number of players who were rested for the midweek clash with Fulham, with Abdoulaye Faye and Jon Walters among the star names likely to return.

Possible starting XI: Sorensen; Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins; Pennant, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington; Jones, Walters.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Tim KrulGoalkeeper
14James PerchMidfielder
2Fabricio ColocciniDefender
6Mike WilliamsonDefender
3José EnriqueDefender
10Hatem Ben ArfaMidfielder
17Joey BartonMidfielder
24Cheikh TioteMidfielder
15Wayne RoutledgeMidfielder
4Kevin NolanMidfielder
9Andy CarrollStriker
12Ole SoderbergGoalkeeper
16Ryan TaylorDefender
18Jonas GutierrezMidfielder
17Alan SmithStriker
-Peter LovenkrandsStriker
30Nile RangerStriker
23Shola AmeobiStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
4Robert HuthDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
5Danny CollinsDefender
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
15Salif DiaoDefender
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
3Danny HigginbothamDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
25Abdoulaye FayeDefender
24Rory DelapMidfielder
10Ricardo FullerStriker
7Eidur Smari Gudjohnsen Striker
Players to Watch
Hatem Ben Arfa
Hatem Ben Arfa
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Andy Carroll was Newcastle’s main man for their first few games of the season, but now the weight of expectation on Tyneside is on the shoulders on Hatem Ben Arfa. The Frenchman reportedly refused to play for Marseille to force through his loan move to St James’ Park, and he has already shown the Toon Army what they can look forward to.

His pace, trickery and fantastic dribbling ability has been evident in his two games - against Blackpool and Everton - so far. His 25-yard thunderbolt at Goodison Park last week capped a sparkling performance and all eyes will be on the France international on Sunday.

Kenwyne Jones
Kenwyne Jones
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Stoke paid £8 million in the summer for their record signing Kenwyne Jones - and the striker is already starting to repay that fee. After picking up an injury on what was turning into a bright debut against Wolves, he was ruled out for two weeks. He’s since returned to full fitness and has scored in each of his last three games.

The man who was once dubbed ‘the next Didier Drogba’ certainly hasn’t lived up to that billing, but he still remains a player to look out for on his day - the phrase ‘on his day’ proving to be the key reason behind his exit from Sunderland, with Steve Bruce claiming the Trinidad & Tobago international isn’t consistent enough.

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