Newcastle United-Hull City Preview
Loic Remy awoke the fans at St. James' Park just in time for Newcastle United to head back out on the road.
After ending a 450-minute scoreless drought with a stoppage-time goal Sunday against Aston Villa, the Magpies now face Hull City at the KC Stadium Saturday hoping to win consecutive matches for the first time in more than two months.
"That goal was so important for this club, to get some momentum back because we had lost it," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew told the club's official website. "It was a big, big result."
Pardew's team were within moments of becoming the first Newcastle squad to go five complete Premier League matches without a goal. But Remy, in his first game back after a three-game ban, finished his 12th top-flight goal to give the Magpies a 1-0 victory after going 1-1-6 with a four-match home losing streak since Boxing Day.
On another optimistic note, Newcastle (12-4-11) got defender Fabricio Coloccini back from a six-match absence due to a knee injury. The captain's impact was seen immediately as the Magpies earned a clean sheet after conceding 10 times in their previous three matches.
"It was great to have him back, he will be fitter next week and even more influential," said Pardew, who also had midfielder Cheick Tiote in his starting 11 after missing three games with a hamstring injury.
Remy, whose impressive form on loan from Queens Park Rangers could have him destined for a move to one of England's bigger clubs this summer, also had some success in the first meeting with Hull, scoring two first-half goals. However, the Tigers prevailed 3-2 in the Sept. 21 match at St. James' Park with goals form Robbie Brady, Ahmed Elmohamady and the 76th-minute winner from Sone Aluko.
Across all competitions, Hull have gone 3-2-0 against Newcastle since 2008, but all three victories have come at St. James' Park.
After a four-match losing streak in January, the Tigers (8-6-13) have turned things around with two wins in their last three league matches, and Saturday's 4-0 victory at Cardiff City gave them six goals in that time after scoring once in their previous five.
Nikica Jelavic scored twice and has three goals in six league matches since joining the club from Everton. He's already tied with Brady and Jake Livermore for the team's top-flight scoring lead.
The recent stretch of scoring success is exactly what the Tigers needed for a bump to 11th in the standings with 30 points to help further their hopes for Premier League safety. Newcastle remains 10 points ahead after reclaiming eighth.
"We'll take the confidence gained from our last couple of games into Saturday," Hull defender Curtis Davies told the club's official website. "We've been very good at home and have a good defensive record on our own ground. If we can shut them out, I'm sure that (Jelavic) and (Shane Long) will give them a lot of problems at the other end of the pitch."
Hull also went through to the FA Cup quarterfinals with Monday's 2-1 home win over Brighton, thanks to goals from Davies and Robert Koren.
"Our main thing this season is to stay in the league and Newcastle is a really important game for us," Koren told the club's official website. "We're playing at home in front of our fans and we want to win the game for three points."