If you were in Alan Pardew’s shoes on Boxing Day, who would you pick in your starting XI to take on Stoke City at St James’ Park? Does Hatem Ben Arfa come back into the mix? Who replaces the suspended Cheick Tiote? Leave a comment below and have your say!

Here’s what I’ve come up with:


Debuchy – Williamson – Coloccini – Santon

Sissoko – Anita – Cabaye – Gouffran

Ben Arfa


I’d make one change to the side that beat Crystal Palace comfortably, with Ben Arfa replacing Tiote in the side. That means a slight change in formation, with the Frenchman being given a free role behind Remy, and Sissoko keeping his place on the wing.

I would be tempted to play Shola Ameobi ahead of Remy to give the side more of a chance in the aerial duels, but with Newcastle’s less-direct approach this season, Remy could have success with his pace causing problems in behind the slow Stoke defence.

The system I’ve gone for also allows an easy change to a 4-3-3 if needed, with Gouffran, Remy and Ben Arfa forming a three-man front line if the former Marseilla winger isn’t getting much joy through the centre.

The back four stays the same, with Mike Williamson’s height key against the likes of Peter Crouch and Marko Arnautovic. Davide Santon’s physical capabilities will be put to the test against Jon Walters on the Stoke right, so it could be an opportunity in future for Massadio Haidara if the Italian fails to impress.

That’s my team, what do you think? Leave a comment below and have your say!