Match Preview: Newcastle United vs. Stoke City
The Club’s 3-0 victory against Hull was their first in five matches. Newcastle loaned Davide Santon to Inter Milan on Monday but that was the only meaningful deduction from the January transfer window. This squad will remain in tact for the rest of the campaign.
Mark Hughes’ club beat Queen’s Park Rangers 3-1 last weekend. It was their fourth victory in their last five matches in all competitions. The club sits in a comfortable 10th position in the table, just two points above their opponents on Sunday.
Injuries and Suspensions
Mehdi Abeid made his return from injury last week against Hull as a substitute in the final minutes. Gabriel Obertan was an unused substitute in the same match. The Frenchman came back from injury much sooner than expected. Papiss Cissé also returned to action after a long layoff due to a suspension and international duty. Paul Dummett suffered a minor hamstring injury and was forced to miss last week’s match but could return against Stoke. Siem de Jong remains a doubt for Sunday’s match.
Finally, the list of injured players is getting shorter. Rob Eliott (thigh muscle), Rolando Aarons (Hamstring), Ryan Taylor (knee), Jonas Gutierrez (cancer recovery) and Steven Taylor (ruptured Achilles) are all expected to be out longer. Cheick Tioté is at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast. He has been bothered by an ankle injury.
Stoke are expected to be without Bojan Krkíc for the rest of the season because of a knee injury. Defender Erik Pieters has missed the last several matches because of a groin problem and is doubtful for this match.
The Potters loaned Robert Huth to Leicester City this week. They signed another German defender Philipp Wollscheid on loan from Bayer Leverkusen to take his place. Otherwise, the club did not lose any other significant players off their roster in January.
Possible Line-Ups and Tactics
It should be business as usual on Sunday. John Carver is expected to use the 4-2-3-1 formation that became such a staple under his predecessor. Papiss Cissé was brought on as a late substitute last week after returning from the African Cup of Nations. He may start on Sunday. Carver will have several good options on the bench with the return of key players.
Mark Hughes also prefers the 4-2-3-1 formation. The loss of Bojan leaves the club seriously wounded in midfield. Although that was not a problem last week against QPR. Stephen Ireland helped create two of Jonathan Waters’ goals. Waters would score a third on a penalty. He now leads the club in goals with seven.
Hughes has built on a solid foundation since taking over for Tony Pulis. Stoke no longer play the same aggressive style that was so infamous under his predecessor. However, this edition of Stoke are still a hardworking squad that seem to always play in close matches. They have conceded only 28 goals in 23 matches so far.
Stoke have an unenviable record away from home this season. They have only four wins in 12 leagues matches. However, they have recently won at Everton and Leicester City. They are currently in good form, having lost just once in eights matches overall.
Stoke beat Newcastle 1-0 back on September 29th. Peter Crouch scored to give the Potters a victory at Britannia Stadium. Recent encounters have been very competitive. Stoke City have won five of the last 11 leagues matches against the Magpies. Newcastle has won four in that time. To go along with two draws. The home side has won the last six matches between these two clubs.
Newcastle’s 3-0 defeat of Hull was only their second victory in the last ten in all competitions. They lost 2-1 to Southampton in their last home encounter three weeks ago. Prior to that was an embarrassing 3-3 draw against Burnley. The Magpies need to be better on Sunday.
The Magpies earned a solid victory against Hull last weekend, demonstrating once again that if they are on their best form, they are a team to be reckoned with. And it finally looks like Yoan Gouffran and Rémy Cabella are starting to find their best form as well. Newcastle should prove to be too strong for Stoke on this day.
Newcastle United 2 – 1 Stoke City
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