Stoke – Newcastle Combined XI
Posted by Kia Kazemi-Nia | Published on February 25, 2016
Newcastle United’s eighteen day break from Premier League football is slowly approaching its end. The Magpies face Stoke City in their next Premier League contest, and here I look at the best combined XI of players from both squads.
Goalkeeper – Jack Butland
Although Rob Elliot has been nothing short of magnificent ever since stepping in between the sticks for injured Tim Krul, Butland edges this one. A future England No. 1 and at the age of 22, the Stoke City man certainly has a bright future. In the two sides’ earlier clash this season, Butland made several fine saves to frustrate the hosts as the match ended in a 0-0 draw. The England international is certainly the real deal.
Right Back – Daryl Janmaat
Janmaat’s explosive forward runs and tireless work ethic make him one of the Premier League’s elite right backs. Although Glen Johnson has started to show why he was an England regular this season, Janmaat comes out on top in this battle.
Center Back – Ryan Shawcross
The man has not been picked for England since 2012, which is quite unfair on him as Shawcross has been one of the Premier League’s most consistent center backs for several years now. A true leader and oustanding defender, the Englishman is one of the league’s most underrated defenders.
Center Back – Chancel Mbemba
In a disappointing overall campaign to date for the St. James’ Park outfit, Mbemba’s performances have been a rare positive. The Congolese international hasn’t taken very long to adapt to the up-tempo Premier League. The summer signing from Anderlecht looks to have been a shrewd piece of business by the Magpies.
Left Back – Erik Pieters
The tough tackling Dutch left back has been a pleasant surprise for Stoke fans this season. His solid displays on the left side of defense have been a reflection of Stoke’s season thus far. He is everything Dummett aspires to be and more.
Defensive Midfield – Giannelli Imbula
The record signing from Porto hasn’t taken very long to make an impact at the club, scoring in his second appearance in a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth. A box-to-box midfielder who can do a job on both sides of the ball, the Frenchman will hope to realise his massive potential at the Brittania.
Defensive Midfield – Jonjo Shelvey
The England international has become an instant fan favorite with his leadership and apparent commitment to the cause. An outstanding debut vs West Ham, followed by two shaky performances vs Watford and Everton, followed by another great performance vs West Brom, followed by an indifferent display against Chelsea. The young man from Romford will hope to display his best self from now to the end of the season to have a chance of making Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad.
Right Midfield – Xherdan Shaqiri
The Swiss international has shown why he was such a highly-rated talent at Bayern Munich. Many questioned his move to Stoke in the summer, but he has thrived in Mark Hughes’ system in the new ‘Stokelona’ side. The tricky winger will hope to replicate his form to date for the Potters for the rest of the season and beyond.
Attacking Midfield – Georginio Wijnaldum
The Dutch Player of the Year has certainly been Newcastle’s most prominent player going forward. With already 9 goals and 3 assists to his name, he will certainly be looking to improve his away form, with all 9 of his goals coming at St. James’ Park. If the Dutchman can replicate his home form away from home, Newcastle could see their embarrassing away record change for the better.
Left Midfield – Marko Arnautovic
The fiery-tempered Austrian has had his best season in the Stoke shirt, scoring 7 goals and 4 assists in 22 Premier League appearances, as well as one goal against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup. The direct winger has put his talent on display for all to see, and he will hope to carry his great form into this fixture and beyond.
Striker – Bojan Krkic
The tricky Spaniard can play as both a striker or attacking midfielder, as he has the finishing and vision required to play both positions. Bojan wouldn’t be able to play as a lone striker for many Premier League sides, as he isn’t the biggest, but Stoke’s attractive play style has allowed him to operate effectively in the role. The little guy is truly a joy to watch. After starting his Stoke career so brightly, he unfortunately suffered a major injury which sidelined him for several months. He has come back, though, and is looking better than ever. You can see why he played for Barcelona.
Manager – Mark Hughes
Was this really ever in question? Hughes has done a fantastic job transforming Stoke from what they were in the Pulis era. They are a fun team to watch and play football how it’s supposed to be played, they’ve even earned the nickname ‘Stokelona’. The Welshman will hope his Stoke side can build on this season in years to come. It’s not as if McClaren gave him much competition, to be fair.
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