Football is back at St James’ Park. Premier League football, that is, after last Tuesday’s odd League Cup semi-final matchup that ended in ecstasy for the Toon Army.
The next time the Magpies play a Carabao Cup game it will happen in London. Not Newcastle, not Manchester, not anywhere else. London. Wembley Stadium. Smacked right in the middle of South Way, with a 90,000-seat capacity. February 26th. Don’t miss it.
Coincidentally, NUFC will be hosting a bunch of London foes on this very Saturday, Feb. 4, as part of the MD22 of the Premier League season. Truth be told, it’s all packed full of Londoners everywhere!
Just yesterday, Chelsea and Fulham played each other in London—where could that game happen if not right there—but none of those teams could score a single goal. One of them went on to spend more than €600M in transfers combining both the summer and winter windows. The other one burnt barely €70M. The former club is sitting in ninth place, the other one in sixth. I won’t even bother with the math, because it’s so obvious who spent more efficiently, isn’t it? Spoiler: it’s Fulham, not Chelsea.
Newcastle got blasted for paying €40M+ in exchange for the services of a young 21-year-old bright player in Anthony Gordon last week. That’s cute.
West Ham will be fielding a team full of old, very well-known faces on Saturday. Don’t be fooled by that, though, as the Hammers are on fire these days. Derby County got kicked off the FA Cup by WHUFC last Monday. West Ham defeated Everton easily in their last Premier League game. They had lost one to Wolves before that win, yes, but they also avenged their Dec. 30 loss to Brentford by eliminating the Bees from FA Cup contention on Jan. 7.
David Moyes was once an option to replace Frankie Lampard in the Toffees’ touchline. Not anymore after Good Ol’ Moyes slashed the club that made him famous, forced Everton into sending Lampard packing, and now has West Ham one point (hey, can’t complain!) clear of relegation.
Moyes will be managing the 995th match throughout his career today. Howe will be hitting the 600th plateau. Not bad for a meeting between two teams in very different positions.
Eddie Howe spoke to the media on Friday providing some fresh takes on Newcastle’s state of affairs just hours before today’s game.
You can read everything Howe had to say here, as part of our pre-match coverage.
FotMob.com predictions at the upcoming Starting XIs from the Magpies and the Hammers are in, so let’s go through what could be coming from Newcastle’s Eddie Howe.
- Not Available: Krafth (knee), Targett (foot), Manquillo (knee), Bruno (suspended)
- Doubtful: Isak (concussion)
- If you’re a fan of Anthony Gordon or Harrison Ashby, you might be surprised not to find any of them in the image above or in our predicted lineup below. Welcome to Newcastle United! For the newcomers: Eddie Howe is most definitely not going to force anyone into the lineup from the get-go because he never does that, so rest assured you won’t start watching Gordon/Ashby rack up bulky minutes well into March.
- Just last season, it took Bruno (yes, arguably the best Magpie right now) five games coming off the bench to finally start one on March 10th after signing with NUFC at the end of the January transfer window. Anthony Gordon shouldn’t bitch about getting a similar usage for the next month and change, and you shouldn’t too because it’s the most reasonable thing to expect.
- Ashby only has one man above him in the right-back pecking order but, hey, it turns out that man goes by the name of Kieran Trippier and he happens to be the best performer at the position this season in the Premier League as a whole. Cold World, Harrison.
- With Bruno out for the first time in ages, there is a glaring hole in the middle of the pitch with no natural replacement for the Brazilian—Jonjo Shelvey waved goodbye to Newcastle last week. Anthony Gordon won’t start this game (read the first note), so it’s going to be Joelinton sliding down to the midfield with Allan Saint-Maximin getting the nod at the left wing.
- Isak was not going to start anyway, but after suffering a concussion last Tuesday his chances went from slim to thin to entirely nullified. Off-the-pine cameo at best for him today, even though Callum Wilson is starting to feel the heat coming from Isak. It’s been more than three months (10 games) without a goal from Wilson while only contributed one assist in that span. Poor, poor form.
- I have sorted all Premier League defenders by minutes played this season, then I have taken the top-4 from each team, then I have added all of their minutes. The result: Newcastle’s four most-used defenders have played 6,648 minutes, the most in the Premier League entering the weekend. Fulham’s group is second already down at 6,047, and Arsenal’s (third-most) don’t even break the 6,000-minute barrier. Nothing will change on that front, though, as there are virtually no replacements for the four starters on Newcastle’s defensive line.
CHN Predicted Lineup
DEF Trippier - Schar - Botman - Burn
MID Longstaff - Willock - Joelinton
WNG Almiron - Saint-Maximin
- Date: Saturday, February 4th
- Kick-off: 17:30 BST / 12:30 EST
- Location: St James’ Park, Newcastle (England)
- Broadcasts: fuboTV (CAN) — UNIVERSO, Peacock, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, NBC, UNIVERSO NOW (USA) — BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, SKY GO Extra, Sky Ultra HD, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League (UK)
For all your international watching needs, check LiveSoccerTV.com.
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Howay the Lads!