Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Saturday evening saw Newcastle start the premiership campaign with a home win over fellow top 4 rivals Spurs. For me any win against a top club is huge and the level of performance almost becomes irrelevant  - this was definalty the case on Saturday as we came out victors in a closely contested game. 

Missing our captain Fabricio Collocini we struggled to get going early in the game and Spurs started bright with their high energy and dangerous counter attacking style led by Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. We survived numerous first half scares when Bale and Defoe rattled the post and Bar while Newcastle struggled to create and goal scoring opportunities. 

For me it was a tactical battle that was won by the new Spurs boss AVB with his fluid 4-3-3 formation out smarting the flat 4-4-2 line up Pardew selected. We were over run in midfield and our creative player were shackled meaning Cisse and Ba had very little service in the first half. Credit must be given to Pardew and his staff as we made the changes at half time which was us revert to the 4-3-3 foramtion which served us well toward the end of last season. Cisse played through the middle with Haten Ben Arfa and Demba Ba taking up the wide roles. 

Ba scored a cracking goal to give us the lead with a beautifully curled shot which really came out of nothing. After this we looked very comfortable and seemed to have grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck - until we switched off at the back with Danny Simpson giving Aaron Lennon too much time and space and he was able to pick out Defoe at the abck post who bundled the ball into the net at the second time of asking.  At 1-1 the mood and changed and both side felt they could have taken the 3 points. At that point up stepped the best player on the pitch Hatem Ben Arfa who singled handly won and scored a penalty which secured the 3 points for the home team. 

Summing up this game I would say it was a close battle fought by 2 good teams who will both push hard for a top 5 finish - Luckily for us Newcastle fans it was won by a moment of skill and the coolest of finishes from Haten Ben Arfa. 
Season Preview 

So as we stand on the eve of another Premier league season I wanted to take a minute to share my thoughts on the coming season and also give my thoughts on our summer transfer business. 

As of now we have brought in 4 players and out of them I only believe Vurnon Anita will push for a regular first team start. I like the look of the younger lads brought in and they will certainly add something to the squad and give us options from the bench while also having a chance to shine in the earlier rounds of both the Europa league and domestic cup competitions. We can also add Marveaux to that list as after over coming his injuries last season he will add so much to the squad - I fully expect him to push hard to make the starting 11. 

I also think this is a big season for our young home grown lads - I think of Sammy, Shane Ferguson, Tav,and Harris Vuckic. They are now a the age where they need to be progressing into solid premiership players - for me Vuckic needs to have a big year and fulfill that promise and potential we have all talked about for years. 

I have heard Pardew and many pundits saying that the most important thing this summer was keeping hold of all our big names and without tempting fate we have managed to do just that. All the rumours of Ba and Tiote especially leaving have come to nothing and we will see the benefit of these lads growing together and developing into an even better side. With a  spine of Krul, Colo, Tiote and Cisse we look great and when you add the quality of Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Stevie Taylor and Ba to that we have a very strong side. 

Looking ahead to this coming season I feel that we can achieve another top 6 finish. I also feel we can go far in the Europa league if we pay the competition the respect it deserves and also a good cup run in either of the domestic competition. A lot will depend on how Pardew juggles the squad with the added European games. We will also need a little bit of luck with injuries if we are to maintain a solid push on all 4 fronts. 

Of course are still a few weeks to run in the transfer window and personally I would like to see a forward join the club. With Cisse and Ba we look great, however beneath them we only have Shola and then youngsters. Personally I would still love to see Big Andy Carroll return in whatever kind of deal best suits NUFC. No doubt his move to Liverpool has not worked out for whatever reason, however the lad does not become a bad player over night - think back to the good times he had at NUFC and every  fan would like to see him back in the Black n White. If we are priced out of a move for Carroll them maybe a moved for Loic Remy is a good option - my thought however are that we have one of the best partnerships in the league with the two Demba's so realistically we are not going to be signing anyone better than either of these guys. I personally would look for a top young up and coming striker who will compete with Shola for the striking sub position. Someone like Jordan Rhodes would be great - or I am sure Graham Carr has found plenty of options on the continent.