Newcastle United will be looking to recover from their latest local derby anguish when they take on a Stoke City side which will be intent on claiming their fourth consecutive away win in all competitions.
There were plenty of reasons to be encouraged for Newcastle boss Steve McClaren as he prepared to go in at half-time away to arch rivals Sunderland, as his side had totally dominated proceedings, albeit without edging ahead. However, it all went wrong just moments before the whistle to signal the break was due to be blown as a rare foray forward from the Black Cats resulted in a dubious penalty being given against Fabricio Coloccini. It was converted, and to make matters worse the Argentine was harshly sent off.
The Magpies maintained the upper hand in the second half but eventually the extra man was to tell in the scoreline as they lost 3-0 to slip back to second from bottom after a record sixth straight defeat in the Tyne-Wear derby. It was a demoralising loss, but the team is beginning to look like a strong attacking outfit, so they should come into this with positivity. The only concern is at the back, where they could struggle against Stoke’s creativity.
Three successive wins suggested that Stoke were comfortable favourites to see off goal-shy Watford in their last Premier League outing, but they produced a lacklustre performance to consign boss Mark Hughes to disappointment in his 100th match in charge of the club. Once they fell behind they just faded badly and created next nothing, with strikers Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters thrown on to give them a lift, but to no avail.
Defensively the Staffordshire side were poor, and that was largely down to Geoff Cameron being forced off with an injury early in the first half. The American had formed a prosperous centre-back partnership with Philipp Wollscheid which had played a big part in their recent upturn in fortunes, but once replaced by Marc Wilson they did not look as tight a unit and indeed the Irish international was responsible for the goal which sealed their fate.
Jack Colback is out for Newcastle after picking up a knee injury which will keep him away from the action for six weeks, but Fabricio Coloccini will be fit after his red card at Sunderland was rescinded.
Stoke should give Ryan Shawcross his first Premier League appearance of the season in place of the injured Cameron. Marc Muniesa is also out, while Phil Bardsley is suspended.
Last Meeting: A mid-table clash ended in a draw back in March as Stoke scored in the dying stages to earned a deserved draw. They went behind in somewhat controversial circumstances as Jack Colback – who perhaps should have been sent off for a second booking – fired home powerfully from the edge of the box, but Peter Crouch superbly headed over Tim Krul from a deep cross to ensure that it was a point apiece.
Played for both – Abdoulaye Faye: Sam Allardyce brought the big defender with him to Newcastle in 2007, but he only lasted a season in the North East before he joined Stoke and helped to establish themselves as a Premier League club over a three-year period. After being part of the side which reached the 2011 FA Cup final, he moved on having scored six goals in 81 outings.
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