How Newcastle United Will Line Up Against Tottenham Hotspur
The Magpies have endured a typically turbulent start to the year both on-and-off the pitch, but victory against Spurs would strengthen their grip on eighth place going into the last dozen games of the season.
The north Londoners arrive on Tyneside just three points behind Liverpool in fourth and as he told BBC Sport, boss Tim Sherwood is expecting the race for a Champions League spot to go down to the wire.
So as the Toon look to put their troubles behind them, we take a look at how Alan Pardew’s men could line up against their visitors from the capital.
Goalkeeper: Tim Krul
For a while at Chelsea on Saturday it looked like Tim Krul would have to be substituted after seemingly injuring himself in an unfortunate slip on the edge of his area.
But despite the sight of backup keeper Rob Elliot warming up, Newcastle United’s No. 1 remained between the posts for 90 minutes and he should be fit to face Tottenham Hotspur.
The Dutchman has kept just one clean sheet in his last eight fixtures, and he will be keen to rectify that stat against Tim Sherwood’s men on Wednesday.
Krul made headlines against Spurs in November when he set a new Premier League record, making 14 saves in one game to hand the Magpies a 1-0 win.
Full-Backs: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Davide Santon
With regular right-back Mathieu Debuchy absent thanks to a calf injury picked up at Chelsea at the weekend, Alan Pardew could turn to Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to fill in.
The French defender has played in the position before and without a recognised alternative to Debuchy in the Magpies’ squad, the former Montpellier man should get the nod.
On the left of Newcastle United’s back four, Davide Santon is expected to be reinstated to his preferred position after a rare shift in midfield at Stamford Bridge.
The young Italian had an afternoon to forget in his last appearance at St. James’ Park against Sunderland, and he will be keen to make amends in front of his own supporters.
Centre-Backs: Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson
With club captain Fabricio Coloccini still out with a knee injury picked up on New Year’s Day, and with absences elsewhere, Alan Pardew will stick with Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson at the back.
Williamson has been an important presence for Newcastle United this term, and he will be looking to keep another clean sheet against Spurs to go with the one he contributed to at White Hart Lane in November.
And through sheer lack of options, Toon boss Alan Pardew will look to Taylor to help shore up a defence that has conceded six goals in their last two games against Sunderland and Chelsea.
Central Midfielders: Vurnon Anita and Moussa Sissoko
Injury will once again force Alan Pardew’s hand in the middle of the park for Newcastle United, with Cheick Tiote’s hamstring injury ruling him out of Wednesday’s clash.
The timing couldn’t have been worse following Yohan Cabaye’s departure at the end of last month but in Vurnon Anita and Moussa Sissoko, the Toon have two international midfielders to call upon.
Sissoko looked dangerous at times against Chelsea on Saturday, and he could play a vital role in front of Anita, who will be handed more defensive duties in front of the Magpies’ back four.
Wide Midfielders: Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran
A return to the side for Frenchman Yoan Gouffran should instigate a reshuffle in Newcastle United’s midfield, meaning Hatem Ben Arfa could be switched to the right-hand side.
Gouffran has missed the last three fixtures—all of which have seen the Magpies fail to score—and his re-emergence on the left wing will give the Toon extra options going forward.
Ben Arfa’s form has been patchy at best in recent games but a move out wide could suit the former Marseille man, who has scored just three times in the Premier League this season.
Centre-Forwards: Luuk De Jong and Papiss Cisse
An all-new strike partnership could be on show at St. James’ Park on Wednesday, with Papiss Cisse expected to return from a back injury to join on-loan striker Luuk De Jong up front.
With Loic Remy serving the final game of a three-match suspension, the scene is set for Cisse to make only his seventh Premier League start of the campaign alongside the Dutchman.
De Jong completed his first 90-minute shift for the club against Chelsea at the weekend, and he would benefit from another full game as he gets to grips with England’s top flight.