Newcastle United blog with news and opinion on matters at St. James' Park

Sunderland v Newcastle United : Step forward Shola Ameobi

Joey Barton and Shola Ameobi

Ameobi - Can he extend his extremely good record in Tyne-Wear derbies at SOL?

I think everyone will remember at least two of Shola Ameobi’s many goals against Sunderland throughout the years, and that’s without counting his brace when we thrashed them at St.James’ Park at Halloween. He has a very good record of scoring against SAFC down through the years, and we will need him more than ever tomorrow at the Stadium Of Light. With Andy Carroll out and Cheik Tioté still suspended, we really are without arguably two of our best players in unarguably the most important match of our Premier League campaign thus far. It’s not that we’re struggling in the league table – far from it in fact. We are currently ninth, with Sunderland two places above in a very impressive sixth. If we win tomorrow, we shall step up to seventh, which would make for extremely pleasing reading indeed.

After Sunderlands crushing defeat to us last October, they really have turned up the heat, recording some very good wins. The players and indeed Steve Bruce have no shame in admitting that the derby defeat hurt more than anything else, and has indeed been responsible for their rapid rise in performances.

They are ever so eager to avenge the defeat and will no doubt come out and start “fighting like beavers” as Chris Camara elegantly put it. We will really have to hold on for the first half an hour, however, if we do manage to actually score early then we could well grab a second in quick succession as the SAFC will stutter after conceding. That said, I’m being very optimistic there, and we can only expect to be on the backfoot for the first half at the very least.

We are missing big players, and our forward line will be somewhat undersirable with a possible line-up of Shola Ameobi (of course!) and Peter Lovenkrands. I do think this could be a game where Peter might sneak a goal, but time can only tell.
We are very capable of beating Sunderland tomorrow, no doubt about that, but whether we can show our potential or not is a very different matter.

NUFC fans are posing many questions; Will Wayne Routledge start? Will Joey Barton play RM? Will Leon Best earn a start at CF? Will Mike Williamson start CB?
Only Alan Pardew and his backroom staff know the answer to this question but the team Tyne Time expects to line up tomorrow is as follows :

Newcastle United LineUp

We really do not prefer Alan Smith playing in centre midfield, but I’m not sure Danny Guthrie or Dan Gosling are really fit enough to take on a tenacious derby just yet. We’d love to see Barton on the RW whipping balls into Ameobi, who can head extremely well, whereas Nolan can play it on the deck into Lovenkrands and let him do his business.

We’d hope Gutierrez can keep up his fine dribbling skills on the wing against Phil Bardsley, and at least fire in one successful cross from the fifteen attempts he’ll have tomorrow. Smith, if he plays will try break up any attack down the centre that SAFC will have (and we expect him to busy) and although he can’t do the job anywhere near as good as Cheik Tioté, he can only try – and try he better do. Something he didn’t manage against Stevenage mind.

Steven Taylor may well start too, and will certainly be eager to do so, being the Geordie lad that he is, Stevie Harper alike.
Danny Simpson will be returning to a club he once helped get promoted from the Coca Cola Championship, while Coloccini and Enrique will hope to avenge the last memories they had at The Stadium Of Light.

It is a relatively new affair for Peter Lovenkrands too, although he did make his debut against then Ricky Sbragia’s side, under Joe Kinnear, back in those days. He is a nippy CF and have the ability to cause problems for their back-line, no doubt about that.

Joey Barton will start another derby, and we think he will thrive under the pressure. This may sound extremely biased or whatnot, but I believe he really is the best English centre-midfielder in the country at the minute. Steven Gerrard isn’t on form, Lampard is only coming back to the first team now, while Joey has been one of our best players this season, with numerous assists. We hope there is some of the same tomorrow.

As for Kevin Nolan, we know what he can do, and both sets of fans needn’t jog their memory much to remember what he really is capable of. We expect a leaders performance from him tomorrow, and if we do not come away from SOL with anything tomorrow, then it won’t be down to the lack of effort on Nolan’s part.

So that is it. We’ve gone through our expected line up for tomorrow, given a summary of what we can expect from the possible starting 11 and finally, here is our prediction.
It does pain us to say it, but I think without Carroll and Tioté, we will struggle, and especially if we do not get a slight rub of the green. Sunderland will be hungry and eager, and we think they may have a little too much for us unfortunately.

Realistic Prediction : Sunderland 2-1 Newcastle United :(
Optimistic Prediction : Sunderland 1-3 Newcastle United :D

Here’s hoping!

Howay The Lads!
Comments welcome as always :)

P.S : If you can’t get a visual of the game tomorrow, make sure you follow us on Twitter @TyneTime where we’ll have constant updates, every minute of so, with the goings on at SOL. We’ll report what we see, and hopefully keep you in the know as it pans out.

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