A confident sounding Newcastle come to WHL on Saturday for the early kick-off. Having had a pretty miserable and injury-hit first half to the season things hit a nadir when Chelsea pulled the trigger on goal machine Demba Ba. Some (apparently) shrewd panic buying ensued with the result that Tyneside has turned into a mecca for French Foreign Legion type jokes. The Geordies now have almost a teamful of France natives on their books, well if you’re going to have a clique you might as well have people in it who can say the word properly.
We underwent less of a metamorphosis of course with the debate about the lack of purchase of another striker still raging. Another striker is coming though; Emmanuel Badebayor is back from the ACoN. He’s had a stop-start but mostly stop season so far, his league goal tally is currently only one ahead of his sending off total. He seems a pretty philosophical chap in general if a tad financially oriented so he’ll be disappointed with what he’s offered tangibly to the team so far, or he should be. Perhaps it needs to be explained to him in value for money terms.
Anyway we’re all wondering how he’ll fit in with Holtby and will be hoping that they bring the best out of each other. If they do then the rest of the season will be a lot of fun. How soon AVB will try out that combo is unknown at present as Gareth Bale’s current form playing down the centre might make him hard to shift.
With Defoe out Holtby will almost certainly start the game; I suspect that Dempsey will also be there at the beginning with the ‘totally exhausted’ Adebayor ready on the bench. At the back Villas-Boas seems to have decided on Walker and Benny as his full-backs but I’m not sure he’s quite so certain about the centre of the defence. It would not surprise me to see Gallas get a run out alongside Vertonghen given that the threat from Newcastle is more ground than air based.
Almost exactly a year ago, Harry’s prison break plus the John Terry/Fabio Capello farce meant that last season’s equivalent fixture turned into a memorable one. Adebayor played possibly his best ever game for us as we ended up winning by five having been four up at half time. Given our inability to turn possession into goals a repeat is unlikely, a win of any sorts would do though given that we play before everyone else.
Fatty Dowd is the referee. COYS.
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