In my look forward during the International Break, I called the game against Wigan a must win game. Well we didn't win, but the fashion in which we were able to fight back for a draw still gives me great hope for the season. The Toon come into this game with West Ham forcing me to ask the question: Which team will show up? I hate having to ask that question of a team I support. It is one of the most frustrating parts of being a fan. But, here we are.
So, if I ask myself that question, I answer like this. I think that we saw glimpses of that team that we all prefer last week. If we can grow the amount of time that team shows up on the pitch we'll be in good shape. Since we're facing West Ham, there is also a little room for that other team. Of course I don't want to see them, but the thing about exorcising demons is that the demons have to be present.
I see this game as a chance against one of the weaker teams in the league to do some pruning, so to speak. Pruning out the bad habits, pruning out the melancholic attitude that has shown up in spurts, pruning out the sense of deserving that my partner illustrated days ago.
I expect the lineup to look something like this:
Simpson, Colo, Willo, Jose
Guthrie, Barton, Tiote, Jonas
Bench: Soderberg, Raylor, Routledge, Carroll, Perch, Campbell, Smith, Lovenkrands
Perch gets the bench after a very poor game last week, and, let's face it, Ameobi is the only striker is starting form. But, CH loves the 4-4-1-1 format so I think that's what we'll see.
A tough game on the road today, but if the right team shows up the Toon can get 3 points here. If last week was a must win that ended in a draw, that makes this week all the more must win.
Prediction: NUFC 2-0 WHUFC