The Magpies have only one win in five competitive matches to begin the campaign. They are coming off a dreadful 4-0 defeat to Southampton. And the pressure is on manager Alan Pardew to turn the club’s fortunes around.
Steve Bruce’s Hull City side have enjoyed a better start to the season. They beat Queen’s Park Rangers in their first match, and also played Stoke City and West Ham to draws. The only blemish was a 2-1 loss to Aston Villa.
Newcastle will face Hull City for the first time since Alan Pardew attempted to headbutt David Meyler on March 1st. These two clubs split their meetings a year ago, with Newcastle winning 4-1 on that day. Hull took the earlier contest 3-2 last September.
Injuries and Suspensions
Injuries continue to plague Pardew and Newcastle. Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor and Papiss Cissé are still unavailable because of knee problems. Summer signing Siem de Jong is expected to be out months with a thigh injury.
And the news did not get better this week. Rolando Aarons’ hamstring injury has turned out to be worse than previously thought. The English winger is expected to be out until November, possibly longer. While Adam Capmbell will be unavailable as well after electing to have hernia surgery.
On the positive side, Cheick Tioté made his return from a hamstring injury last weekend against Southampton. He is expected to take his normal place in the starting line-up on Saturday.
Steve Bruce’s Hull City side remain relatively healthy. Although, summer signing Robert Snodgrass is expected to be out months with a serious knee injury. And on-loan midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa will, of course not be eligible to play against his parent club.
Alan Pardew will be in the touchline for better or worse on Saturday, unless Mike Ashley decides otherwise. After a very poor second half last season, followed by a bad start this campaign, Pardew needs to dig deep to save his job.
Newcastle has used the 4-2-3-1 formation so far this season. With various injuries, Pardew may revert back to 4-4-2. The club is without a win through four matches, having scored three goals and conceded nine. Pardew may decide to think outside the box.
Steve Bruce has experimented with a few different formations already this season, even playing with three at the back on occasion. Last week against West Ham, they went back to a classic 4-4-2 formation with Abel Hernandez and Nikica Jelavić up front.
Newcastle United and Hull City have only met six times in their history. And surprisingly, the Tigers have won three of those contests. Newcastle’s 4-1 away win last March was their only victory against Hull.
The Magpies are obviously in desperate need of a win. Owner Mike Ashley paid a handsome sum to lure several quality players to Tyneside. And the players are under considerable pressure to perform as well.
There is no question that Newcastle has the quality to overcome Hull City. But under Pardew, it has always been a question of whether the group of players could bind together and play as a squad. The Magpies will respond well to adversity and find a way to defeat Hull City on Saturday.
Newcastle United 1 – 0 Hull City