Newcastle v Stoke: Ben Arfa Starts
Written by Newcastle Utd
Newcastle United FC
Hatem Ben Arfa will make his first start since October in Newcastle's Boxing Day clash against Stoke City
By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor
At St. James' Park
Hatem Ben Arfa's reward for an eye-catching cameo at Crystal Palace on Saturday is a first start since October against Stoke.
The Frenchman scored a penalty at Selhurst Park and looked keen to impress Alan Pardew after coming from the bench, and it would appear that he did just that.
Cheick Tiote is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season and so Ben Arfa comes in for the only change. He hasn't started since the derby defeat to Sunderland almost two months ago.
Unsurprisingly, United's defence - which has conceded just one goal in the last three matches - remains unchanged.
However Steven Taylor is on the bench after playing for the under-21s against Norwich last week.
Stoke City (4-5-1): Thomas Sorensen; Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross (c), Marc Wilson, Eric Pieters; Jonathan Walters, Steven N'Zonzi, Glenn Whelan, Charlie Adam, Oussama Assaidi; Peter Crouch
Substitutes: Jack Butland, Marc Muniesa, Wilson Palacios, Kenwyne Jones, Marko Arnautovic, Andy Wilkinson, Stephen Ireland
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)