I wanted to get people's thoughts on the lineup for this weekends game. Newcastle are in an interesting position since they are unbeaten. Davide Santon, Shola Ameobi, and Hatem Ben Arfa should be fit for the match. Marveaux is also finding form in the reserves team. Newcastle have had some shaky performances such as the games against QPR and Wolves. The question becomes, should Pardew make changes to the starting lineup of an unbeaten team or should he stick by the players who have brought NUFC points every game this season?One can argue that the record of our starting team speaks for itself. Although we have a new acquisition in Santon, players coming back from injury (Shola, HBA), and Marveaux who is performing very well his reserves and substitution appearances, the players on the starting team have built a chemistry and comfort level with each other making it too delicate of a time to disrupt the team's rhythm and confidence. All of the players that are fighting for a first team spot who are deserving, can be integrated into the lineup throughout a few more games starting with substitutions. It could also be argued that every player, even HBA, cannot just walk into the starting team, he has to earn the position. This could allow for a smoother transition into our ideal starting eleven.
The other side of the argument, one which I am leaning towards, is that we have quality players coming back that are possibly (emphasis on possibly) more talented than others in the starting eleven, meaning it would be a good idea to start those players in a very important match against a strong team. I would put HBA, and potentially Marvaeux and Santon in this group of players. I understand the current team has gotten us to fourth place with excellent results, but I don't believe that changes in lineups are a bad thing. Successful clubs such as Man U have been winning even while switching players in important matches. I am not comparing our talent to theirs but I am just trying to show an example. If it were up to me, I would put Santon at LB, HBA playing behind Ba instead of Best, and Marveaux instead of Obertan. Santon is fit enough for the U21 Italian team this break so he should be fit for our next game. He is our future LB so we might as well throw him in the game since that is the way he will learn the most. I also believe that Marveaux has played well enough to get a shot at starting, even though Obertan has been improving as of late. This would mean a 4-5-1 formation. The reason I think it might be better than a 4-4-2 is because Spurs have a strong MF and the key could be in securing the midfield, so having five instead of four could be a way to go. If Pardew made these changes or just one change, that could also give NUFC a new look which might throw off the Spurs.
There are merits to both sides of the argument and there is no right or wrong answer. Although I think that Pardew will have a tough time picking the final roster, I believe he will stick to his more tested players from this season, which is the same team that played last game. I just hope that he doesn't send in subs too late for them to make an impact. And please no Shola or Lovenkrands this game. I will be happy if we can get a point next weekend. Howay the lads!
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