Friday, October 31, 2014

Does Pardew know our strongest 11?

Usually when a manage is accused of not knowing his strongest 11 it is meant as an insult, as a challenge to his management skills. However even though I would suggest that AP right now does not know the strongest 11 players at NUFC, but I do not see this as a bad thing at all. 

The signing of Cabella, the re-emergence of Obertan, the development of Aarons, and Sammy has really given AP options in the wide midfield areas. Last season we were lacking that cutting edge with Gouffran and Sissoko playing wide, however the influx of pace and creativity has given us a sharper edge, plus we look at better side with Sissoko playing in the middle.

There are plenty of options for AP - something it could be argued he has never had during his time at St James. These options are somewhat surprising to many fans and even to our management staff i'm sure. If someone had suggested Obertan could be looking like out best attacking option they would be laughed at. Likewise with Sammy who has always lacked consistency, and the surprise package that Rolando Aarons has been.

The spine of our team remains consistent - when fit we will always start with Krul, Coloccini, Tiote, Sissoko, and Cisse - rightly so as these lads are our most talented and experienced players. 

For me they would be joined by the following to create our current strongest 11.





I'd love to see us start this team against Liverpool and really take the game to them using the pace and power we have in our forward options.

Nothing stays the same

Its been a busy for week few and I have been unable to posting an blog updates. So to catch up on everything here are my thoughts on everything NUFC.

- Pardew was a dead man walking 3 weeks ago, but after 3 good results he is starting to turn things around. Like almost every other NUFc fan I was slating Pardew, but I've always been fair and I am loving seeing AP turn the corner - I've said all along that nothing would please me more than for AP to be a successful. A successful AP means a successful NUFC

- A key factor in the turn around of form for NUFC has been the re-emergence of Obertan and the form of Sammy, and Rolando Aarons.. Pardew take alot of stick for the loss of form of players, the termed 'Pardewed' is something I hate. So it can only be fair to praise him when a player like Obertan comes back in from the wilderness and wins us games.

- Two big wins since Taylor replaced the injured Williamson - coincidence? Maybe. For me Williamson is not the level of player we need, Taylor is not fantastic either but is the best option to partner Coloccini. Taylors is faster, strong, and has the passion of a local lad.

- After out terrible start to the season how many fans would have expected us to pick up 4 points from away games at Swansea and Spurs? Not many. Sandwiching 3 points at home against Leicester and we can say we've had a quality run. Hopefully we can continue this tomorrow against Liverpool.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Its nothing personal Alan...

Putting all the personal feeling towards Pardew aside I have listed a number of damming facts about NUFC under Pardews reign.

Newcastle's 2014 Premier League record under A.Pardew: Played 25, Won 5, Drawn 4, Lost 16, Goal Difference -28.

5 wins from 26 games.

In 26 games we have scored only 19 goals. Of those 26 games we have lost 17.

9 points out of 81 since Boxing day in Premier league.

Lost 9 out of last 14 home games.

7 without a win worst Premier league record since our relegation season.

After 6 games in 2008/9 we had 4 points and were relegated. We have 3 from 6 so far this season. 

The last time NUFC won when losing at half time in the Premier League was Dec 2006.

Emmanuel Riviere has no goals and just one shot on target in 455 minutes of Premier league football this season. 

NUFC have scored just 1 PL goal in their last 11 hours & 15 minutes of action away from home - a Skrtel own goal 

Premier League record in 2014: LLWDLLLWWLWLLLLLLWLLDDLD.

It is nothing personal Alan - you are just not up to managing NUFC. We are not fickle fans, we do not have unrealistic expectations - the true facts show it is time for you to leave our club.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Stoke away

How many times have we heard the saying - 'The true test of foreign players coming to the Premiership is a midweek away game at Stoke in the winter?' Well tonight will provide this kind of challenge for this new look NUFC.

This is another test for NUFC and we will really find out how good these players, this team is. How will Cabella or Riviere fancy it tonight against the likes of Shawcross? How will Janmaat hold up against Crouch?

Tonight's trip to the Britannia is a game NUFC traditionally lose - usually as a result of being bullied out of the game. Although Mark Hughes is aiming to shed Stoke of this reputation they remain a physically imposing team who first and foremost are hard to beat.

Pardew knows his neck is still on the chopping block so he needs a performance and a positive result. We all saw the comments made by Mike Ashley this week regarding AP's position and while a denial was issued I personally believe there was some truth to his comments. I feel Ashley was using this 'on the spot' interview to shift some of the fans hatred off him and onto Pardew by indirectly letting the fans know he understand our frustrations and is running out of patience with AP.

Either way this will heap more pressure on AP and elevated the importance of a positive result tonight. To achieve this I feel AP must send out a positive team who can take the game to Stoke. Use our pace and passing ability to hit Stoke on the counter attack. IF we play the long ball game and try to make this a physical battle then we might as well turn the team bus around now as Stoke will eat us alive.

Lets set up with a fluid 4-4-2. With the midfield 4 interchangeable. Tiote sits, Colback, Cabella and Sissoko carrying the attacking threat behind Cisse and Rivierre. Playing the 2 forwards together will bring the best out of both of them. 

Unfortunately I see us losing 2-0 tonight..

Friday, September 26, 2014

Alan Pardew – Not The Manager But Is He A Coach?

By Stephen Burn
Tony Pulis has always seemed to me as one of the most unsuited managers to Newcastle United.
It conjures up images of cheap tracksuits, club shop baseball caps, and old man runs to the dressing room for half time rants.  Tony is prickly in his dealing with the press, uncharismatic on the touchline and generally a dinosaur that plays a brand of football that Allardyce was sacked for.  He’s just not our type of coach, or is he?
Whether it is wrong or right, my anger and frustration has moved away from Mike Ashley and has solely settled on his mouthpiece, Alan Pardew.
This frustration has fermented since January and the sale of Cabaye when we were in a great position in the league.  In these early stages I could point the finger at our disinterested owner, and yet the incompetence that I have witnessed on the pitch since my return to the area (I was an exiled season ticket holder in America for 15 years) has now overwhelmed my fury with Ashley.  It’s not that I don’t blame Ashley, I really do, it’s just Pardew has made it even worse!
If it’s true that Alan is not able to pick who he’d like the club to sign, then I feel for him.  This is why I’ve switched from using the term ‘manager’ to the term ‘coach’.  Alan Pardew is essentially the head coach of Newcastle United, and this comes to the root of my anger…….we look tactically inept on game days.
I reflect on the difference Tony Pulis made at Crystal Palace, what he did at Selhurst Park was little short of a miracle.  Tony came in there and coached that team to what was success for Palace.  I can’t really remember being overly critical of their style of football, yes they were probably more direct than those teams in the Champions League spots, however it was exciting and dynamic and more importantly he won games.
The players knew their purpose and roles, they knew when X or Y happened they should do Z, and they did it.  He made players like Jason Puncheon and Maroune Chamakh contribute in a big way; he designed a formation that was difficult to play against and effective in the final third.
In a Tony Pulis team, Jack Colback is drilled to know that when that ball drops to him in the box like it did on Saturday for Hull’s first goal,  he’s to clear it into a channel to our forward to run down.  Yes, we all loved the Keegan days of Ginola on our by-line nutmegging Neil Cox, but we weren’t bottom of the league at that point.
And this is the crux of my frustration; I see no coaching in Alan Pardew’s team.  When I watch us from my perch in the Sir John Hall stand, I can’t place one thing during a game that I think, ‘wow they must have drilled that this week, that was deliberate and consistent’. 
What are they doing in training?  When I say this to people around me I often receive the response of ‘right, our set pieces are terrible’, which they always are, but our training goes way past that.  Decide who is going to set our tempo, and if that’s Cabella then get him the ball as quickly as possible, if we want a patient build up then own that and fill the spaces with passing options.
Don’t just keep the ball until we run out of options and Williamson has to hoof it to the opposition centre-back.  Cisse saved Pardew’s bacon on Saturday; it was a roll of the dice that worked, knowing Newcastle that could easily have ended up with him out until the spring with an aggravated injury.
I realise that I am sidestepping multiple issues, which can be addressed in due course.  I still feel that Pardew is not the man who is going to pull us out of this hole.  I purely use Pulis as an example of a coach who has recently got the best out of a poor team.  After walking away from Crystal Palace for what looks like a frustration with a lack of control, even Tony Pulis would probably refuse us.

Alan Pardew loves to talk about how he enjoys making a difference during games, whether that is with an inspirational half-time team talk, a shrewd change of tactics, or a brilliant substitution.  The recent statistic that stuck with me, was how Pardew has never won in the league after being down at half-time, that’s six points from a possible one hundred and twenty-six!
I love my club and didn’t feel comfortable focusing on Pardew on Saturday; I’d rather support my team.
The atmosphere has steadily improved at home this season; I was shocked at the silence in our last six games of the season but we’ve endured too much.
Pardew once again uttered those fateful words, “judge us after ten games.”
At the half way point Alan, be careful what you wish for,we’ll see if you can dodge the firing squad and make it through the next five.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

We're on a Cup run

Who would have thought it - NUFC have won a cup game!

True to my word I am writing blog entry while digging into a large piece of Humble pie -  Humble pie that has never tasted so sweet.

Cup football  is all about winning & moving onto the next round so credit to Alan Pardew and his team. This must be a real confidence booster for our squad and Manu Riviere in particular who grabbed a brace - goals he really needed.

Pardew rotated his squad and was rewarded with impressive performances from from Mehdi Abeid, Obertan, and Adam Armstrong who can all look towards making a impact in the first team. He needed a win and he got it. Job done

Pardew knows however he is still under big pressure, he knows a cup win against a weakened Palace team will not right all the wrongs - yet it is a step in the right direction. Nothing would make me happier than Pardew turning things around and having a successful season. Yet the next few weeks and a return to Premier league football will really show the resolve of Pardew and his team.

We're on a cup run - bring on Man City!

Manu converts a pen, his 2nd goal.