MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Preston North End, St James’ Park, 25/Oct/16, KO:7:45

by • October 24, 2016 • Match previewsComments (9)1995

I wonder if the Sunderland fans who used to read these previews still do. I’d often see them crop up on social media or I’d Phoenixlogohave comments aimed at me directly with ‘laughing emoji’ alongside ‘deluded’ etc. If you’ve read the previews for a while you’ll know that I, like you, was absolutely convinced in Rafa Benitez and his ability to win this division. I don’t think many Sunderland fans laugh about much these days. David Moyes is an utter catastrophe for that football club in much the same way Rafa is miracle for ours.

With this in mind I found myself discussing the game against Preston this week in the League Cup (or EFL Cup in new goufrannrafamoney) with friends after the win on Saturday and we’re talking allocations, loyalty points etc for the following rounds. I’m not getting ahead of myself. The team and particularly the manager will not be getting ahead of themselves. Any opponent is to be respected and taken seriously never mind one of the country’s inform sides who visit SJP this Tuesday.

Yet it’s hard not get excited. That’s what you’re supposed to do as a fan. Think about the ‘what ifs’ and how far we can go. The draw has been incredibly kind to us and it’s NEVER kind to us. Three home ties so far, all against teams below us in the football league. We’re one game away from a quarter final. We’ve reached that stage twice since 2002, mostly recently in 2014 when thousands witnessed a horror night in North London. We’re two games away from a two legged semi – when I wouldn’t care who we got. Rafa does Cup football. It’s what he’s best at. That’s why he’s won the Champions League, the Europa League, the FA Cup, the Coppa Italia. He can win any cup tie, and that’s exciting.

I think there’ll be over 40,000 excited people at SJP on Tuesday. £10 a ticket, £3 for kids. Get yourself along if you can. If gallowgate-corner-adwe get through on Tuesday I’ll be as excited for the draw on Wednesday as I’ve ever been for any cup draw. Left in the completion will be some excellent sides but also two of Leeds, Norwich, Bristol City, Hull. I wouldn’t care who we got as long as it was at home.

I am getting ahead of myself here though. A really tough game awaits United with Preston passing their toughest test of the season on Saturday by coming away from Carrow Road with three massive (and appreciated by us) points. A clean sheet away from home at Norwich suggests we’ll do incredibly well to break them down. Since losing by five at Brentford in September Preston are seven games unbeaten which includes five wins. They’ve won at Bournemouth and Norwich as well as picking up points and division high flyers Brighton and Birmingham. This is a munched tougher assignment than when the draw was made.

There will be changes for United, there always is. I expect almost a fresh eleven to play bar perhaps Shelvey and possibly one of the fullbacks. Ritchie may start. We could however see the ‘first team’ put out for this game and then wholesale changes made for the weekend. I’m only convinced Matt Sels gets a start. Presuming the changes are for this games the likes of Diame, Mitrovic and Mbemba will need to ensure they put in very strong performances to get their places back. All three would have expected to play this season and all three have found themselves out of the team.

I’d rather win this than win on Saturday, considering the small cushion we’ve achieved at the top of the league. Hopefully it’s a night that ends with us being three games from Wembley.

Prediction 2-0 United.


ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892 

The nights are drawing in, the clocks go back soon and its definitely getting nippier across the doors. This is the ideal time to fire up the tablet, i-pad or whatever, bump the heating up and dive right into issue 127 of Newcastle United’s favourite ever fanzine, true faith. The latest issue has over 90 pages of the best quality fanzine writing you can shake a stick at, though why you’d do that is a bit of a mystery. Since 1999 true faith has been providing the alternative view on life at Newcastle United and the world around it. As lovers of football we have experiences away from the Newcastle United bubble which some of you will enjoy too. After creating one of the best hard-copy fanzines in the UK we transferred to a digital format a few years ago and since then our readership has gone through the roof. true faith is a very modern fanzine with all the bells and whistles of the digital age but we very much carry a torch for the traditional fanzine movement. So there’s no click-bait crap, no cut and paste plagiarism and kidding on we are a news-line or some such. true faith is a Newcastle United fanzine and we’re happy that way. Please enjoy the latest issue. Just click on the image below to get full, instant and FREE access. 

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9 Responses to MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Preston North End, St James’ Park, 25/Oct/16, KO:7:45

  1. Colin McCabe says:

    Good Review as ever Alex, thanks.

    You would have to think Rafa will make wholesale changes with, as you say, probably only 2 staying in the starting 11 from the weekend in Shelvey and Ritchie. The thing is however I’m not really bothered as I think the margins between our supposed best 11 and alternative 11 are actually quite small. Is there really too much difference in quality between a Jamal/Clarke & Mbemba/Hanley partnership? I would imagine plenty would argue for each combination made from Gayle, Mitro, Perez & Diame (Sorry Daryl!) And the same can be said for the other areas too.
    After years of no competition in pretty much every area its great to see and I think its obvious in the clear feel-good factor around the team and the work rate and desire shown on the pitch that its working out well.

    It will be another tough game tomorrow night but I’d have every faith in whoever comes in to put in a proper shift and give a good account, if this isn’t enough then so be it.

  2. Pat Hughes says:

    I’ve got used to the rotation policy now and I like it. Less chance of the opposition reading us in advance, our lads get used to playing with x y z, no panic attacks if x and y are out injured or banned, lots of proficient fresh legs which must produce happy, contented players in the long term. Love it and love Rafa. Love cup games now and gone are the secret yearnings for an early exit to concentrate on the league – thanks to the complete clowns we’ve had in recent years. Don’t particularly care who plays really so close are we to having the complete squad package. Chuffed to be able to sit in my own seat tomorrow – bring it on, can’t wait. I am happy

  3. Sam Wilson says:

    Always enjoy reading the previews, podcasts and I thoroughly enjoy reading the fanzine too. I’m proud to be a contributor too. Howay the lads.

  4. Rob says:

    Preston are flying at the moment and absolutely no pressure on them so it is going to be a very tough game, I hope we don’t make too many changes. I’m not a huge fan of rotation in central defence where an understanding of your partners game is hugely important. Could be coincidence but our 3 losses have come with Lascelles + Mbemba/Hanley whereas we are unbeaten with Lascelles + Clark. Mind you not sure Hanley is still up to full sharpness at the minute. This is further than we have ever got before in the League cup while playing in this division so already a record breaking season.

  5. Peter Shearer says:

    We are 22-1 to win it, and at half those odds to be in the final. Just saying! Or you can back Sunderland at 40-1. It would be great to be at Wembley again. There cannot be many who would go that have ever seen us win there!

  6. markus says:

    If Rafa was boss in 1973 and 1976 we would have won one of those trophies. Im absolutely convinced.

  7. Peter Shearer says:

    Not sure about that Markus. Rafa would only have been 13 in 1973! Even he is not that good! (I get your point though!) Just watched the highlights of the 1976 final on Youtube. Supermac has to be the most exciting player we ever had and fair play to Tueart it-was a nice goal.