After Newcastle won 5-1 in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, will Stoke City be able to extract revenge at the Fortress Britannia?(Watch live at 10:07 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).
This match is certainly the least vital of the Premier League matches scheduled for the weekend. When Stoke beat Hull City two weeks ago, they secured 40 points, securing another year in the top flight. Newcastle, for their part, have had a terrible second half of the season, having lost ten of their last fifteen games, but their ninth-place standing ensures they too are safe.
So with both relegation and Europe out of reach for both sides, what is it that could make the match compelling? Well, revenge. At St. James’ Park, Stoke had two men sent off before the first half was out, while Mark Hughes was sent to the stands as well. Newcastle ran wild, scoring five. Yet the Magpies have lost their last three with a combined 11-0 scoreline. With Loïc Rémy out injured, this seems the perfect time for the Potters to get their own back.
Newcastle have made four changes to the side that lost 4-0 to Manchester United last weekend. Starting goalkeeper Tim Krul is back from injury, while defenders Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett also step in, along with striker Shola Ameobi, replacing Remy up top.
Stoke, who also lost last weekend, are counting on Newcastle being much easier to handle than Chelsea. Hughes makes just one change, with Stephen Ireland, missing with illness last weekend, in for Wilson Palacios. Charlie Adam, who suffered a broken nose in training, does make the bench.
Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Ireland, Nzonzi, Whelan, Arnautovic; Odemwingie; Crouch
Subs: Sorensen; Muniesa, Palacios, Adam, Walters, Guidetti, Wilkinson
Newcastle United: Krul; S Taylor, Williamson, Coloccini; Anita, Gosling, Tiote, Gouffran, Dummett; Sh Ameobi, Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa, Bigirimana, Ben Arfa, de Jong, Armstrong