Newcastle United travel to the inhospitable confines of Britannia Stadium this weekend to face Stoke City in a rare Monday night encounter. The Magpies have zero wins through the first five Premier League matches, and officially sit bottom of the table on goal differential.
Manager Alan Pardew earned a reprieve after a late comeback against Hull City last weekend, as well as a mid-week victory against Crystal Palace in the League Cup. But the pressure remains on the club to get consistent results.
Mark Hughes’ Stoke City side is also coming off a victory in the League Cup mid-week against Sunderland. However, the club has not had the best start to the season either, having won just once in the first five league matches.
These two clubs split their encounters last season. Newcastle won 5-1 at St. James’ Park on Boxing day. Stoke City took the away encounter 1-0 in April.
Injuries and Suspensions
Injuries have greatly limited Newcastle so far this calendar year. And the injury malaise continues. Davide Santon and Robert Taylor are still expected to be out longer because of serious knee injuries.
Rolando Aarons will be out until November because of a hamstring injury. Summer signing Siem de Jong is expected to be out until at least Christmas because of a thigh injury. While young attacker Adam Campbell will be unavailable as well after undergoing hernia surgery.
Papiss Cissé made a surprise return last weekend against Hull City, eventually coming on as a second-half substitute and netting two goals. Cissé, Tim Krul and Yoan Gouffran all sat out the mid-week encounter against Crystal Palace due to illness and their availability remains in doubt for Monday.
Daryl Janmaat suffered a muscle strain against Crystal Palace and is in doubt as well. And midfielder Mehdi Abeid will be suspended for the match after picking up to yellow cards in the same game.
It goes without saying that Stoke City are a healthier side. Midfielder Jonathan Walters has missed the last two weeks because of a calf injury and is doubtful for Monday. Defender Geoff Cameron is expected to be out longer with a hernia injury. While Peter Odemwingie is out long-term with a knee injury.
The 4-2-3-1 formation continues to be Alan Pardew’s choice. Although, it is not inconceivable that the Newcastle manager could revert to a 4-4-2 at some point.
Suddenly, Newcastle have two in-form strikers. Papiss Cissé appears to have regained his scoring ability, at least temporarily. And Emmanuel Rivière scored two goals against Crystal Palace in Newcastle’s League Cup encounter with Crystal Palace this week.
Mark Hughes has primarily used the 4-2-3-1 formation this season as well, with former English international Peter Crouch in the striker role. Hughes has built on a solid defensive system left behind by Tony Pulis. Stoke have only conceded five goals in five matches so far this season.
Stoke City have yet to win this season at home, having lost 1-0 to both Aston Villa and Leicester City. And they are yet to score a goal at home. But Newcastle have only won three times in their last 17 visits to Brittania Stadium.
The Magpies have only one league win in their last 13 league matches. They remain one of only three Premier League clubs without a win this season, along with rivals Sunderland and Burnley. And they have only won one of their last 10 league matches away from home.
Newcastle United put in good displays against Hull City and Crystal Palace. It is always difficult to win at Stoke City but the Magpies appear to be getting stronger. Newcastle step back from the brink once again and earn an important victory at Brittania Stadium.
Stoke City 1 – 2 Newcastle United