Stoke City entertain Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United tonight in the Premier League at 8pm .With both sides struggling so far during this year’s campaign, it looks set to be a hotly contested game. Dan Dalton previews the encounter.
Stoke City have suffered two disappointing results in their last two games losing to Leicester City 1-0, while drawing 2-2 with QPR when it looked like they would take the three points. They will hope for a similar performance to the one that secured a shock 1-0 win over Manchester City at the end of August.
Newcastle have had an indifferent start to this Premier League season with manager Alan Pardew coming under increasing pressure after a 4-0 defeat to Southampton. They followed this result up with a 2-2 draw with Hull City but have yet to win a game this season in the Premier League.
The French midfielder is the key man in midfield for this Stoke City team and manager Mark Hughes clearly rates the midfielder highly having signed him from Blackburn where Hughes previously mananged the 25-year-old. The former France u21 midfielder is capable of breaking up the play for Mark Hughes side.
Mark Hughes has dismissed claims that the midfielder is being targeted by opposition player due to a suspect temperment.
“I thought it was a poor tackle that didn’t need to be made. They were taken aback with Steven raising his hands, but that was because the lad moved his head towards him. He was just trying to keep him away from him.”
Hughes claims that the sometimes fiery midfielder has good self control.
“No, I don’t think so. He’s been involved in very few similar situations in my time here. He’s got good self-control.”
The powerful French midfielder is a favourite of French boss Didier Deschamps, who has selected the midfielder for a number of important international games. He scored at this year’s World Cup against Switzerland and Newcastle fans will hope that he can build on his promising form with Les Bleus.
The 25-year-old created 71 chances last season which was the third highest in the Premier League and if he can add a greater end product to his game he has the potential to be a huge asset to this Newcastle side.
Expected starting XIs
Stoke: Begovic; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Muniesa; Whelan, N’Zonzi, Diouf, Adam, Moses; Crouch
Newcastle: Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Cabella, Colback, Tiote, Gouffran, Sissoko; Riviere
This is a huge game for Alan Pardew as a defeat could see the Newcastle manager facing the sack. Stoke City have performed at a decent level this season and perhaps deserve to be in a better position at the moment and with the Newcastle defence struggling this season the likes of Diouf, Moses and Crouch should be a threat tonight, which could just edge it in Stoke’s favour.
This writer is predicting a 2-1 win for Stoke City in what is a crucial game for both sides.
Dan Dalton, Pundit Arena.