11th – Newcastle – 23 games – 30 points – Goal Difference (-6)
10th – Stoke City – 23 games – 32 points – Goal Difference (-2)
Newcastle currently has their feet stuck in midtable land. It doesn’t look like they will fall into the relegation battle but neither do they look like a side that can challenge for Europe.
Newcastle did beat Hull last week and that too by a comfortable score line of 3-0. It was also the first game Newcastle played since the permanent appointment of John Carver as manager.
Carver will be hoping for more of the same from last week and if they can string together a run of good results they might find themselves within a few points from the Euro Spots with 2 or 3 games in hand.
Whatever might happen from now Carver must ensure Newcastle season doesn’t fall away like it did last season.
Newcastle latest addition to the team Siem de Jong will not be available as he has not fully recovered from his thigh injury. Cheick Tiote will still be missing after his team went on through to the AFCON finals. Newcastle can find some sort of relief by the fact that Paul Dummett is set to return after recovering from his injury.
Newcastle will be looking towards Pappis Cisse who has scored in his last three matches vs Stoke City.
Stoke come into this match after beating QPR 3-1 last week. Mark Hughes’s men have been in top form during the last few weeks. They’ve won 6 out of their last 8 games and losing just one.
Stoke have also managed to book themselves a place in the FA Cup round of 16 vs Blackburn Rovers. Stoke will be heading into this match with the news that their captain Ryan Shawcross has been ruled out for the next three games due a back problem.
Stoke can take relief in the fact that Mame Biram Diouf will available after returning from the AFCON competitions.
Stoke will be looking towards John Walters who has been in good form this season with 7 goals and three assists to pull them through in this match.
Last time these two teams met this season Stoke City were the winners 1-0. However Newcastle’s season really improved after that beating the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea so they’ll be looking for some similar sort inspiration here.
Prediction: – Newcastle United vs Stoke City – This potentially has the makings for the game of the season and may well be a high scoring thriller – Stoke to win it (3-2)
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