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[Archived] Newcastle United 0 Blackburn Rovers 1


Eddie
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So before we have the chance to see if we can earn another trip to Cardiff we face an interesting trip to the North East to face a struggling Newcastle side. Things haven't really gone well for Newcastle since they did us the honour of taking Souness off of our hands. The team has gone from potential champions league qualifiers to potential religation candidates, all for the tidy price of 1.3 million to us and a further 50 million to a variety of other clubs. Souness' saving grace seemed to be the signing of Michael Owen, having said that, just about anyone could have probably told him Owen would have scored goals wherever he went. However, with Owen out, as well as eight other first team regulars, the Newcastle league looks a shell of a side that was struggling to even make it even into the top half. If there was ever an opportunity for us to get one over an old manager, surely this is it.

Recent history against Newcastle isn't great, with perhaps our most dissapointing performance of the season coming in September at Ewood Park when we lost 3-0 to them, with Owen scoring his first Newcastle goals. A more worrying fact though is that Alan Shearer has made it a habbit of scoring against his former club and with the Newcastle goal record only a single finish away this seems the most likely game for him to get it in.

Our own form though points to us being a tough defence for him to score against and a difficult team for Newcastle to beat. Having not let in many league goals since our 2-1 defeat at Fulham our goal production has been fairly regular, with the 0-0 draw at Bolton on Saturday being one of the few blips.

My own opinion is that this could be a more difficult game than it seems. With Shearer almost destined to score we'll need to find at least two and it seems our team has the taste for the spectacular rather than the conventional when it comes to goalscoring. With Bellamy out, the threat of pace that would have frightened a weak Newcastle defense is gone and unless the likes of Kuqi and Dickov prove effective with their tireless running and a few intelligent runs we may well have to rely on a piece or two of magic from some of the usual suspects.

League form going in past five games -

Newcastle - LDLLL

Blackburn - LWWWD

Potential Position at Full Time -

Newcastle:

Highest - 10th

Lowest - 15th

Blackburn:

Highest - 6th

Lowest - 11th

Who knows, perhaps Souness will be able to get Fat Freddie's cheque book out between now and are game and we could see the likes of Anelka in the barcodes line-up. If not ,then surely we have to be looking to continue our goo

d form.

Edited by Eddie
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We can dream about Rovers winning at Newcastle, Pompey winning at Brum and ending the careers of two of the less popular managers around but I cannot see it happening.

We had a record of not winning at St James's almost as bad as Newcastle's record of not winning trophies (well worse than their record of not winning domestic trophies) until Gallagher punched the ball in a couple of seasons back.

I think this is going to have to be a case of getting Kuqi to bully their back line like he did at Boro. They are big lads so its a big ask but in the absence of Bellamy, its going to have to be brawn as well as Dickov's iritation to unsettle them.

We'll need to keep it vey tight at the back and not let their midfield get on top to avoid wave after wave of kamikaze attacks whilst the Geordies bay them on.

Another big ask to stop Sherer from beating Milburn's record against us but if we do we stand a more than decent chance of nicking it.

However, 1-1 is the likeliest result.

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Its written in the stars, Shearer always does something against us.

This Newcastle team is falling backwards at the ropes and dizzy. The question is will we go for the kill or let our recent form and record against them play through our minds.

They are missing so many players too.

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Id like to see Bramble play. Not seen as much quality in a defender since the days of Christian Dailly and Darren Peacock.

I fancy us to win but we will have to beat Shay Given who perhaps is the biggest reason Newcastle are not in the Relegation Zone at the moment. If they were to lose him they'd be in more trouble than when they lost Owen. Its a shame its not the end of January so any potential Souness replacement has no time to get players in and being stuck with a squad only capable of fighting relegation.

That said I wouldn't want Big Al to finnish his career in a team being relegated.

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Anyone in Australia know whether this match will be live on Fox Sports? There is a live football match listed on the Fox Sports website at the same time as Rovers-Newcastle, but no team names are listed.

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Sky Sport has it on live here in NZ, right after Everton vs. Arsenal

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