Preview: Stoke City vs. Newcastle United

Sports Mole looks ahead to Monday night's Premier League clash between Stoke and bottom-of-the-table Newcastle at the Britannia Stadium.

The pressure continues to build on Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew, and another poor result against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Monday night will do nothing to appease his naysayers.

The Magpies find themselves propping up the Premier League table as one of just three teams yet to pick up a victory this season despite a promising summer in the transfer market.

Including their terrible end to the 2013-14 campaign, Newcastle have now won only one of their last 13 outings in the league, and no matter how long Pardew has left on his contract, that form will not be ignored by the club's hierarchy.

There could be brighter times on the horizon, however, with striker Papiss Cisse nearing a return to full fitness and scoring twice to rescue a draw against Hull City last weekend.

The fourth round of the League Cup also awaits after they overcame a late setback to beat Crystal Palace in extra time, with Emmanuel Riviere opening his account for the club with a brace in that match.

If those key players begin firing then the Magpies should have enough to haul themselves away from danger, but Pardew will also be keen to tighten up a defence that has leaked 11 goals already this season.

Newcastle have only won three of their last 17 visits to Stoke and have picked up just one point from a possible 21 in their last seven away games in the league - scoring just a solitary goal in the process.

Cisse, however, has four goals in his last five games against Stoke, and Pardew will be hoping the the Senegalese striker, alongside Tim Krul and Yoan Gouffran, recover from the stomach bug that forced them to miss the cup win in midweek.

He will definitely be without Siem de Jong, Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor and Rolando Aarons through injury, however.

Stoke are just two points better off than their Monday night opponents, with Mark Hughes's side struggling to find any sort of consistency so far this season.

A shock victory away to champions Manchester City remains their only maximum points haul of the campaign, while dropped points to the likes of Aston Villa, Hull City, Leicester City and Queens Park Rangers are decidedly average results.

Perhaps the biggest concern for Hughes - and something he will be desperate to rectify this Monday - is the fact that his side are yet to pick up a single home point in the current campaign.

Considering the reputation the Britannia has as Stoke's stronghold, the Potters will need to prove that home defeats to Villa and Leicester were blips rather than a sign of things to come.

They do, however, come into this match on the back of an impressive League Cup victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, with Marc Muniesa netting both goals in a 2-1 win.

The defender may have done enough to keep his place in the side, but Marko Arnautovic is a doubt having limped off towards the end of that match.

Jonathan Walters, who has scored four goals in his last seven appearances against the Magpies, could play some part, while Victor Moses should also start once again.

Recent form


Newcastle: WDLDWD

Possible starting lineups

Stoke: Begovic; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Muniesa; Whelan, N'Zonzi, Diouf, Adam, Moses; Crouch

Newcastle: Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Cabella, Colback, Tiote, Gouffran, Sissoko; Riviere

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Who will win Monday's match between Stoke and Newcastle at the Britannia?

Alan Pardew, manager of Newcastle United gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St James' Park on August 30, 2014
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