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12 April 2014
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 27400
E. Pieters 42'
That's all from me, Alex Stewart, this afternoon. Thank you for joining me for this LIVE coverage of the Premier League, and see you again soon.
Newcastle had chances of their own, but their goal hoodoo continues and, two chances for Gosling aside, never really looked like scoring. Alan Pardew's bold selection and formation didn't look terrible but didn't work either and the game finished with rousing calls for him to go.
Arnautovic was Stoke's star turn, but both Cameron and Pieters played well at full-back, and Shawcross dominated in the air against Newcastle's flimsy strikers.
A mis-hit cross-cum-shot from Erik Pieters was enough to take all three points for Stoke, but in truth this score doesn't reflect their dominance. Crouch spurned three great chances and Arnautovic fashioned a cross which was crying out to be turned in.
STOKE 1-0 NEWCASTLE
90' + 3'
The chants of "we want Pardew out" are audible all around the Britannia now. Stoke fans are whistling for full time. AND THERE IT IS.
90' + 2'
Adam again sets Arnautovic running but he skews his shot well wide. It eats up some time though.
90' + 1'
The standard, frantic, up-in-the-air nonsense has begun. Newcastle need to get it foward and Stoke need to get it out. Neither side looks capable of controlling the ball and neither is able to retain possession.
There will be four minutes of extra time. Newcastle will be desperate to score, but with Cisse off, it's hard to see where the goals will come from. In fairness, it was pretty hard to see that when he was on as well.
Newcastle are making a final, but sustained effort, at this. A shot from Gouffran is blocked and Newcastle win a corner, which is lumped out for a throw. Newcastle build again, but Yanga-Mbiwa hammers it wide to end the spell of pressure.
Yellow Card Erik Pieters
Excitingly, Jon Walters is on. Equally excitingly, Odemwingie is the man replaced. A couple of poor shots aside, he hasn't contributed.
A deep ball into the far post from Anita almost reaches Ameobi but the striker ends up on the turf, frustrated by more good marking from Stoke. If there's one thing Stoke are good at it's defending long balls.
Adam has linked well with the mecurial Arnautovic since coming on and looks to release him again. Stoke seem to realise that they need to keep pushing up and attacking as neither side has been able to hold the ball for more than about thirty seconds all afternoon. Killing this game off doesn't seem like an option.
A through-ball, if you can call it that, from Anita that sums up Newcastle's day really. Too deep, too slow, and nowhere near anyone. Ben Arfa is still limping a bit.
Arnautovic is down and needs his legs rubbed a bit. He wasn't fouled, but like several other players already this afternoon, just lost his footing on the surface.
Stoke are looking to get time on the ball before releasing it to the wide men. Arnautovic crosses again and this time there was no-one to meet it. He has been quite superb, and how Stoke are only 1-0 up is beyond me.
Ben Arfa looks to have tweaked a leg thing. I'm not a doctor, but if you've made three substitutes already, injuries are not good. He looks like he will be able to continue though.
Yellow Card Fabricio Coloccini
Coloccini booked for fouling Arnautovic. As inevitable as time, that. Adam wastes the resulting free-kick by hammering it high and wide.
Hatem Ben Arfa
It should be, I don't know, 5-0 or something now! Adam screws it wide from the left as Krul dives low. Arnautovic (who else?) was the provider.
Newcastle corner, but before they take it, Gosling and Cisse come off and Ben Arfa and Armstrong come on. Gosling has been pretty good today, but Ben Arfa might have something different. Newcastle need it.
Dummett springs forward as Ben Arfa readies himself in the touch-line. His cross is cleared and once again Arnautovic is swift and direct on the counter after a fine pass from Adam sets him running. Arnautovic has been fantastic. But his ball evades serial misser Crouch.
Cameron was in acres of space there and he released Odemwingie, but the quick striker is having a poor day and he miscontrols, then concedes a free-kick after tussling with Coloccini.
The game is as fractured as Adam's nose at the moment, with neither side able to hold possession for long. At the moment, though, it's only Stoke who seem to have the players capable of producing the sort of moments that matter in games of this nature.
Crouch battles against Williamson and wins the free kick. Ireland is coming off for a face-mask-sporting Charlie Adam, whose nose was broken in training.
Stoke have been under the cosh a bit and Cisse fluffs another half-chance, but Stoke try to relieve the pressure and counter.
Some craziness in the Stoke box after Cisse swings in a cross. Shawcross blocks from Williamson, who has never scored for Newcastle.
Newcastle making a change, as Yanga-Mbiwa comes on for Taylor.
CROUCH AGAIN! If he had taken all his chances it would be 4-0 by now. A great ball from Cameron and Crouch stoops to conquer, but the effort is tame and wide.
Arnautovic plays a cheeky short free-kick to Ireland far, far from the expected destination in the box. Ireland is offside though, but it was a lovely idea.
Newcastle have found width aplenty from their wing-backs, but the spare man, Gouffran, has not managed to do anything with the space he should have, and Newcastle have failed to prosper.
A long throw from Stoke, their first. I've missed those. Ireland deftly controls the ball and plays it across the box to Arnautovic who had drifted in, but the Austrian's shot is tame and Krul gathers easily.
Stoke are just trying to get it to Arnautovic now. His battle with Anita has been entralling, and Anita concedes a corner. It's high and long though, and even Crouch can't get near it.
If Newcastle get the ball to Gosling, who has found little pockets of space all afternoon, they might make something happen. But Stoke are snapping into them and Ameobi especially is surrendering possession altogether too easily.
OHHHH CROUCH! Once again the Stoke striker fails to capitalise on a superb cross from Stoke's best player, Arnautovic. This time he can't get over the ball enough and heads over from six yards out.
Newcastle look best when they are trying to retain possession but Stoke's pressing, led by the superb Ryan Shawcross, forces them back.
Newcastle are looking for a spark and Gouffran hasn't provided it. The Toon Army are clamouring to swap one elegant French playmaker for another, as chants of Ben Arfa ring out around the Britannia.
Ameobi is caught by Cameron in the face, but not in mean way. A strangely looping shot from Newcastle goes well over the bar and Stoke can build again.
Newcastle are stroking the ball around in their half, which makes sense. This game has been marked by both teams rushing everything a bit, so Newcastle trying to settle and keep possession is a wise move.
No changes from either side and Newcastle will be kicking off for the second half.
Given that Newcastle's problem is scoring and that Stoke defend well at home, it's hard to see how the Magpies can get back into this one. As the teams reappear, it'll be fascinating to see what they can come up with to trouble Begovic.
Pieters' goal doesn't really count as a chance, in my book. It was a lovely fluke though.
Stoke are not at their best either, but Arnautovic looks dangerous whenever he has the ball. His ability to drive deep towards the goal-line and pull the cross back towards the six yard box has led to Stoke's two best chances.
Newcastle's inability to convert pressure into goals is once again the issue. A watching Alan Pardew must be extremely frustrated, especially as his bold 3-5-2 formation has actually worked quite well. It's clear the fans are pretty peeved too, as banners and chanting from the away stands show.
Well, well. For the first ten minutes, Stoke were all over Newcastle. The Magpies then came back into it but Stoke finished the half on the up and Erik Pieters' first goal for the club gives the Potters a 1-0 lead at half-time.
If Newcastle score, Gosling looks the most likely. He stretches to reach a cross from the right-hand side, but just isn't quite tall enough.
There will be one added minute. Newcastle must be feeling very deflated now.
That was Pieters' first goal in six years. Mark Hughes is clearly having a positive effect all over the pitch!
Assist Marko Arnautovic
Goal Erik Pieters
GOOOOAAAAALLLLL! Not entirely expected, that. Arnautovic and Pieters combine, and Pieters crosses from a deep left position. Krul misjudges it though and the cross-shot comes back off the post into the goal. Stoke has broken the deadlock.
What a waste. A woeful corner from Newcastle allows Stoke to lump it foward.
Odemwingie is quick, but no-one would be quick enough to get onto Whelan's through-ball. Stoke's end product continues to let them down. Newcastle counter again and win a corner.
Stoke are trying to pass it around, but Newcastle are managing to deny them space and time. Unless Stoke go wide, their path is blocked.
Cameron fouls Ameobi near the halfway line, and Newcastle will look to pump the ball long. They go wide to Anita, who crosses from deep to Cisse. It was defended well though, and Cisse was on his own.
Newcastle will be frustrated with their inability to convert pressure into goals, which has been their problem all season and is their weakness again today. Some disappointed Toon Army are singing 'We want Pardew Out"
Arnautovic and Cameron seem to be Stoke's best outlets but an attack switching from left to right ends with Newcastle winning it back and exploiting the space to counter. Dummett finds a cross towards an unmarked Gosling, but Stoke clear.
A throw-in to Stoke deep into Newcastle territory but again they end up unable to cross as Newcastle's wing-backs push them wider and wider.
This game is ebbing and flowing nicely now. Both sides have created chances, and Newcastle again push up. Taylor finds himself the highest man up but can't get a cross in.
Yet again, Arnautovic runs deep and pulls it back towards the penalty spot. This time it's Odemwingie who meets the cross, but he scuffs it badly and Newcastle clear.
A great run from Arnautovic tees up N'Zonzi and his shot from just outside the box is deflected over. Stoke corner.
Since Crouch hit the post, Stoke have not managed to create another decent chance. It's all Newcastle at the moment.
Cisse tumbles following an awkward mazy run from Dummett and makes the 'I want a penalty' waving hand gesture. Nothing doing, though replays suggest that the Stoke defender was a bit leaden-footed and it wasn't a bad penalty shout.
Corner to Stoke now. Krul hares out but makes little impact on the ball. Stoke are playing it around in front of the penalty area but can't get another cross in and the Toon clear their lines.
Ameobi and Gosling are working well together but whenever they look for a wide ball, Dummett and Anita are nowhere to be found. Newcastle seem to be adapting to their 3-5-2. Stoke haven't done anything except defend for the last few minutes.
Newcastle are asserting themselves here and Ameobi is at the centre of most good things. They lack a bit of composure though and Stoke are able to clear again. They can't do much more at the moment though. Stoke need to regroup and get some time in possession.
Cisse's loose pass, intercepted by N'Zonzi, brings more Newcastle pressure to an end. But Stoke can't clear their lines. Ameobi scuffs long-range effort wide.
This match is fizzing a bit now, but it's more to do with both sides leaving space all over the pitch than any particular attacking brilliance. It is fun, though.
Cisse offside there as Gosling played it in to him. The midfielder is starting to find a bit of space around the Stoke box.
Straight down the other end, and Gosling puts the ball over the crossbar from just outside the six yard box after he had put in Ameobi, who then played a cross back to him. Gosling looks bemused that he didn't score.
A cracking chance there as Crouch should have scored. A dinked cross from Arnautovic and Crouch, heading down from around six yards out, hits the foot of the post.
There's a lot of room for the Stoke full-backs to get forward because of Newcastle's idiosyncratic formation. Stoke are pressing high and Newcastle haven't got much to offer beyond long balls fowards.
This is more like it from Stoke, as Cameron whips it into the box after a cute switch pass from Ireland. It's behind the two Stoke players in the box though and Gosling clears.
It's all a bit scrappy so far. Stoke have tried playing it long and Newcastle have done the same. Neither side getting much flow yet, as Stoke win a throw-in deep in the Newcastle half. It comes to nithing.
Newcastle will be looking to play it wide and deny Stoke's pacey wingers time and space. But if Stoke can get in behind they may profit. It's all a little hit-and-miss so far.
And we're off! Stoke lump it foward and Newcastle have a throw in which is played forwards. Stoke pressure and it ends in a goal kick.
Stoke City will be kicking off as Newcastle huddle up and talk football and winning.
Disappointingly, some shouting could be heard during the tribute, but the majority of the ground observed it beautifully.
And now, a minute's silence.
Alan Pardew will watch the pre-match tribue, and indeed the entire game, from the stands as he is still serving his touch-line ban for his altercation with Myler in the game against Hull.
Newcastle are lining up, as you read below, in a 3-5-2, with Dummett and Anita playing as wing-backs. A curious choice for the Toon, who once again leave Ben Arfa on the bench.
Both teams are about to trot out for a delayed kick-off. This is due to the Hillsborough tributes happening today.
Newcastle subs bench: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Ben Afra, Birigmana, de Jong, Armstrong.
Newcastle United (3-5-2): Krul; Coloccini, Williamson, Taylor; Dummett, Gosling, Tiote, Gouffran, Anita; Shola Ameobi, Cisse.
Stoke City subs bench: Sorensen, Muniesa, Wilkinson, Palacios, Adam, Walters, Guidetti.
Stoke City (4-2-3-1): Begovic: Pieters, Wilson, Shawcross, Cameron; Whelan, N'Zonzi; Odemwingie, Ireland, Arnautovic; Crouch.
Let's have a look at the team sheets...
I'm Alex Stewart and I'll be typing furiously this afternoon to keep you updated with everything that happens as Stoke look to build momentum towards a possible first ever top ten finish, and Newcastle try to stop them.
But this is the Premier League, so nothing is ever boring. Stoke will be looking to continue their renaissance under Mark Hughes into a more stylish, passing team, and Newcastle will be desperate to arrest the slide that has seen them ship eight goals in the last two games.
Good afternoon, and welcome to the LIVE coverage of the Premier League as Stoke City host Newcastle United at the Britannia Stadium. With both teams comfortably safe in mid-table, you might be forgiven for thinking there is nothing to play for.
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