After a frustrating draw against United and a disappointing result against Everton previously, Newcastle will provide a challenge on a similar level. We have to be looking at picking up points each week if we are to stay in the hunt for fourth and after not having his strongest performance recently, I'd like to see Jermain starting instead of Crouch up top with Rafa slotting in behind. We only got 15 minutes or so with this partnership at Villa and it would be good to see how or even if it would work.
Newcastle at St James' are never an easy side to beat. Expect them to keep the ball well and to create a variety of chances. Thankfully, Carroll is expected to be missing. I can't see us picking up three points. If Newcastle play as well as they have in some fixtures this season and we lack the concentration we have for some goals this year then we could be in danger of losing this 2-1. If the back four perform as well as they did against United then this won't happen.
I'd stick my money on 1-1.
Your predictions are welcome.