If you were in Alan Pardew’s shoes tomorrow when Newcastle travel to Stoke, who would you pick in your starting XI? Who plays in goal if Tim Krul is fit? Who leads the line in the absence of Loic Remy? Who plays at left-back and on the wings? Leave a comment below and have your say!

Here’s what I think:

 

Elliot

Santon – Coloccini – S. Taylor – Dummett

Ben Arfa – Tiote – Anita – Gouffran

de Jong – Cisse

 

Firstly, I’d stick with Rob Elliot in goal. The Irishman has been excellent in the games against Southampton and Man Utd and saved Newcastle from even bigger beatings, so he deserves to continue in the team even if Krul is fit to play. There’s also little point in risking Krul’s fitness ahead of a World Cup summer.

I’d make a change to the back four, with Steven Taylor returning to the side in place of Mike Williamson. Taylor hasn’t been in the team for months now but a game against Stoke may suit him. The physical nature of Stoke’s front line will favour him and Williamson hasn’t looked at his best in the last couple of games, so I’d give Taylor another chance to prove himself. Also, Taylor’s determination to prove himself as a first-team starter may help Newcastle’s hunger to win the match, with their season basically over already.

The centre of midfield picks itself, with Anita returning to the middle after being forced to play on the right wing against Man United. I’d start Ben Arfa too, but only on the wing that Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic is playing on. The two wingers are all about attacking, so playing them on the same wing means they wouldn’t track each other back. That essentially makes it winger vs full back, a clash that may see Ben Arfa create chances for Newcastle.

The front two again pick themselves. Papiss Cisse hasn’t looked too bad lately providing he gets the service and de Jong needs a goal from somewhere to fill him with confidence. Ben Arfa and Cisse link up well together, so Cisse’s incluson may reap some rewards if the Frenchman can do something special.

It’s the wrong match for young Adam Armstrong to make his full debut. The 17-year-old is slim and lightweight and would likely be kicked out of the game by the likes of Ryan Shawcross. His first start must be at home with the St James’ Park crowd behind him.

 

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below and have your say!