Last week’s disappointing loss to Everton was down to our crippling injury list as much as it was down to poor refereeing decisions.
To have all five of you best players this season injured at one time is always going to cause some difficulties, but we still put in a very good performance against our bogey team at Goodison Park.
But today we’re expected to welcome back Stewart Downing and Cheikhou Kouyate, while reports suggest Mark Noble and Enner Valencia are touch and go. Should Allardyce rush them back if he can? Probably not. We can’t risk losing players for longer.
Diafra Sakho’s absence means Andy Carroll should start again, but this time we should expect to see Mauro Zarate starting instead of Carlton Cole. The big questions is whether Allardyce persists with Kevin Nolan, or whether he drops him. The chances of that are slim of Noble is indeed out, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Despite our big ol’ injury list, we should still have enough to win against a Newcastle side also crippled by injuries today.
So here’s how we think we’ll be lining up against the Magpies this afternoon….