Rafa Benitez may well have been absent last Sunday due to illness but it need not have mattered as Newcastle recorded their second straight win of the season. Jamaal Lascelles was the man that the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss would have to thank after his second half header would prove to be the difference against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Not only that though Lascelles was earning his money at the other end minutes before after his last ditch goallline clearance thwarted Tammy Abraham when he looked odds on to score and break the deadlock for Paul Clement’s men. Frustration for the South Wales outfit last Sunday but nothing short of jubilation for the Magpies as they move up to 10th in the table.
Today they will look to make it three wins in a row as they play host to Mark Hughes’ Stoke who are unbeaten in their last three matches and have picked up some very creditable results along their way. The fixture computer has pitted themselves against both Arsenal and Manchester United and they have managed to pick up four points in the process.
After victory against Arsenal in the second week of the season they added to that with a hard earned point against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at the Bet365 Stadium. That was a draw that saw the league leaders lose their one hundred percent record as they were arguably given their first real test of the season so far.
Maxim Choupo-Moting has quickly endeared himself to the Stoke fans especially with his brace of goals last Saturday, both he and Jese have settled in quickly at Stoke and manager Mark Hughes deserves some credit for landing these two signings. In addition to the creativity that these two provide it must be said that Kevin Wimmer looked assured in his debut against United also.
Stoke have had a few injury issues at centre back this season so they are yet to have a settled backline but once Kurt Zouma, Ryan Shawcross and Kevin Wimmer are all fit and ready to play at the same time then it should make for a pretty solid rearguard for Stoke. One that will have to go against a Stoke old boy this afternoon.
Spaniard Joselu made the switch to St James’ Park for five million pounds last month and has already got off the mark for his new club after finding the net against West Ham in their 3-0 win on the third weekend of the season. He will be charged with delivering a goal this afternoon and silencing his former supporters.
He never really caught fire at Stoke and sometimes a change of environment is required, perhaps working with his compatriot Rafa Benitez may well see him flourish. If he can deliver at least 10 goals this season then it can be granted as a successful signing especially as this is a team that does look slightly light in terms of creativity.
Whether that lack of creativity is going to be something of a hindrance later on I am not to sure. Both teams are in relative form what with it being so early in the campaign and neither side will want to lose what head of steam they have began to build up. I reckon they made end up cancelling each other out and this one ends in a draw.
Here is what social media thinks will happen
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) September 13, 2017