These two teams have both not started in the way they would have liked to and will be targeting this weekend for maximum points. Newcastle need to bounce back as they suffered a humiliating defeat to their rivals, despite dominating the game. They will be seeing this home match as a great opportunity to kick-start their season and begin to climb out of the bottom three. Meanwhile, Stoke were expected to do great things this summer, after some of the signings that they made, but they have been inconsistent. Their victory at Swansea a couple of weeks ago showed what they are capable of, but they’ve yet to do that on a regular basis.
Newcastle are still adjusting to life under Steve McClaren, but they have played some excellent football over the last four matches, and probably deserved more than the four points they accrued. They lost their sixth consecutive derby against Sunderland last weekend and will want to bounce back quickly. They are in 19th position and they could climb out of the relegation zone with a victory this weekend. McClaren will feel his side are in a false position as they have had a tough fixture list and have been unlucky more than once. However the pressure is now on the former England coach as Newcastle can’t afford to be in this position for much longer.
Meanwhile, Stoke have had a poor start of the season apart from a run of three straight victories. They would have seen that run as the start of their season, but a disappointing 2-0 loss to Watford will have concerned the coaching staff. The Brittania Stadium used to be a fortress for Stoke and it was certainly a shock that Watford went there and won in a comfortable fashion. The club have invested in some very exciting attacking players, which has increased expectations at the club. There has to be an improvement soon as the club will be disappointed to be 14th in the table at this stage.
In the corresponding fixture last season, the two sides drew 1-1. Jack Colback scored the opener to give Newcastle the lead, but Peter Crouch scored a late equaliser for Stoke. Peter Crouch also netted in the match at the Brittania as he gave his side a 1-0 win. Stoke have had the better of this fixture in recent seasons and that will be a concern for Steve McClaren this weekend.
Alongside Bournemouth, Newcastle have conceded the most goals in the league and have the lowest goal difference.
Stoke failed to have one shot on target in their home defeat to Watford, showing their lack of quality in front of goal.
Georginio Wijnaldum has been one of the best signings in the Premier League and he is certainly performing higher than his club’s position. It was a coup for Newcastle when they managed to secure the Dutchman’s signature and it is difficult to see them holding onto him long term. He has six goals and one assist so far, which is a very good return, considering that this is his first season in the Premier League. All of his goals have come at St James’ Park and that will worry Stoke. In recent weeks, Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko and Ayoze Perez have displayed some excellent link up play and if they perform on Saturday, Newcastle will be difficult to defend against. Wijnaldum is effective when he is driving with the ball, with his pace and skill making it difficult to dispossess him. Meanwhile, his movement in the final third often leads him to finding pockets of space and he is clinical when he gets chances in front of goal, as he showed in the club’s last home match against Norwich. On Saturday, Wijnaldum will be key as a lot of the attacking play runs through him and he hasn’t had a poor game for Newcastle yet. If he plays well, Newcastle will probably win as he can win matches on his own.
Xherdan Shaqiri was a coup for Stoke, like Wijnaldum was for Newcastle, but he has yet to have the kind of effect that many expected him to have, which will be a concern for Stoke fans. There is no doubting the ability that the Swiss international possesses, yet he has yet to really show it in the Premier League. There have been flashes of his quality, especially his delivery of a football, but there haven’t been enough to justify the money that Stoke spent on him. There will be a time when Shaqiri bursts into a run of form and that could come this weekend. Newcastle are susceptible to balls into the box, which is Shaqiri’s strength and Paul Dummett is certainly a player who Stoke can target. If Stoke can get Shaqiri on the ball at St James’ Park, he will cause Newcastle problems and it could be the beginning of his Stoke career.
Fabricio Coloccini will be available after his red card in the derby was rescinded. Jack Colback will be missing with a knee injury. Sylvain Marveuax could make a return to the first team squad. Meanwhile Tim Krul, Karl Darlow, Gabriel Obertan, Steven Taylor and Manu Riviere all remain on the injury list for the Magpies.
Bojan and Geoff Cameron are both doubts for this weekend. Meanwhile Marc Muniesa is likely to be missing for the club’s trip to Tyneside. Peter Crouch hasn’t played much football, but Mark Hughes might consider using him after his success against Newcastle last season.
It’s going to be a tight match between two sides full of talent, but struggling to put in consistent performances. Newcastle have to react to their derby as they can’t afford to stay in the bottom three much longer as they could be cut adrift. The players are there to turn this around, but there are still questions about the fight in the squad. Stoke will hope to put in a similar performance to the one in their last away match against Swansea as they were very good that day. I think this one will be a draw and the frustration at St James’ Park will grow.
Newcastle United 1-1 Stoke City