Monday, March 12 2002
CHN Predictions League
Newcastle United FC
6th place 12-8-7, 44 points
Out: Steven Taylor (Achilles), Sylvain Marveaux (groin), Leon Best (knee), Sammy Ameobi (knee), Peter Lovenkrands (thigh)
Projected XI: Krul | Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini (C), Santon | Raylor, Tiote, Cabaye, Jonas | Ba, Cisse
Projected Subs: Elliott, Perch, Guthrie, Ferguson, Obertan, Shola, Hatem Ben Arfa
4th place 15-4-8, 49 points
Out: Diaby (hamstring), Coquelin (hamstring), Mertesacker (ankle) Wilshere (ankle)
Projected XI: Szczesny | Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs | Walcott, Song, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain | Van Persie (C), Gervinho
Projected Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Santos, Benayoun, Rosicky, Ramsey, Chamakh
This is by absolutely no means a make-or-break kind of match for Newcastle, although taking a result of any sort would keep us comfortably in 6th (and a qualifying spot in the Europa League). It is the kind of match, however, that you would like to see the lads exhibit that famous "spirit" that we read about ad nauseum in the papers. It is a challenge in a number of ways... the defense will have to tighten up considerably, it will be a test of our recent London Hoodoo. It will be a test for our Senegalese Strike Force, it will be a test for our center-mid to see if they can step up and control a match the way they did earlier in the season. Cheik Tiote will have to be at his defense-protecting best; Yohan Cabaye will have to be creative and effective.
A win brings us 2 points behind struggling Chelsea for 5th place. 5th place saves a round in the Europa League, and if we are focused on that as a goal, 5th really is where we should have our eyes. Arsenal will have other ideas, as a win for them brings them 1 point behind Tottenham Hotspur for third place.
The waiting is over-- Howay the lads!