Newcastle United-Stoke City Preview
Revenge will be in the air Saturday when Stoke City host Newcastle United at the Britannia.
Mark Hughes’ Stoke (10-10-13) were smashed 5-1 in the reverse fixture, with both Marc Wilson and Glen Whelan being shown red cards, and Wilson spoke this week of the team’s desire to prove a point and close in on a guaranteed top-half finish.
"That was a setback the last time we played them," said the defender. "Myself and Glenn (Whelan) got sent off after playing well, and the manager himself then got sent to the changing room.
"When you have two sent off it’s always going to be difficult, especially as Newcastle have got some great players. Now we want to set things straight."
A win for Stoke would see them move within three points of Saturday’s visitors in ninth.
Newcastle (14-4-15) have struggled badly for form in recent months, losing four of their last five to drop way off the top seven, but manager Alan Pardew spoke in his pre-match press conference about the owner’s desire to dip into the transfer market in the summer to strengthen the team for a push towards the European places next season.
"He sees we need a bit of quality in the group, that the players are doing their best, but we do need more quality if we are going to impact the top of the league," Pardew said. "We have played three teams in that top half, and I think it’s fair at the moment that we have been a little bit distant from them and we need to close that gap.
"It’s important that the squad is balanced and has a certain level of quality that represents this club. There’s no doubt after the loss of (Yohan) Cabaye that we need to add quality to this group."
Stoke have injury doubts over Charlie Adam (face), Steven Ireland (illness), and Robert Huth (knee), while Newcastle are expected to be missing Tim Krul (knee), Shola Ameobi (ankle), Mathieu Debuchy (groin), Loic Remy (calf), Gabriel Obertan (knee) and Ryan Taylor (knee).
Newcastle have won four of the last five league meetings between the teams, outscoring Stoke 13-3 in the four wins.
Stoke are in excellent form going into Saturday’s match, with their two defeats in their last 10 league matches coming to title-chasers Manchester City and Chelsea. The Potters have also lost just twice at home all season and are unbeaten in the last five at the Britannia, allowing just one goal in their last three games at the ground.
The Magpies have lost three straight matches by a combined score of 11-0, managing just nine shots on target in those combined games. They’ve also been shut out in five of their last seven outside St James’ Park, but scored seven goals in winning the other two.