It’s an early start on Saturday as Newcastle come to White Hart Lane. All Magpies will be dissatisfied with the way the season has gone in general but several January visit to the local French Farmers’ market seems to have brought early dividends. I distracted a Geordie from his baguette and cheese long enough to try and get the low down on our opposition’s recent revival. Thanks to Marley from Newcastle Football News.
At the start of the season you chose an apple when asked to green gage Newcastle’s prospects for the season in terms of fruit sizes, presumably a Bramley or some other fairly large one after the 6th place finish last time out. I’d suggest in fact it’s been more of an undersized kumquat sort of campaign?
Yeah it’s been disappointing so far obviously because our performances haven’t been at the level we know we can reach. Much of that has been down to injuries and tactical naivety on Alan Pardew’s part, but now we have a fairly full-strength squad, the Premier League can start seeing the real Newcastle and quaking in their boots ahead of next season!
Has there been much in the way of anti-Pardew sentiment?
Pardew didn’t help himself at all when we were in a bad phase. His contract has given him almost an untouchable sense and he seems to know it. He’d give powder puff responses after shambolic performances and come out with things such as “the lads gave it their all” and it just wasn’t cutting it with the fans. It got to the point where some starting calling for his head but sense prevailed and he was given a loaded chequebook rather than a P45. If we hadn’t spent in January, he’d have found it tough with the fans from now until the end of the season. Ultimately, he’s been let off the hook with the signings because he should have spent in the summer and we would have been much higher in the table and pushing for European places had we had the players we do now.
I imagine Demba Ba packing his suitcase and heading down the A1 without much of a glance back hasn’t gone down well?
I’ve got mixed feelings with Demba Ba because he done great for us when we had him. He signed for free, scored 30+ goals and made us a genuinely threatening team up top. He also left early in January, allowing us to get a replacement (Gouffran) in the remainder of the month. Then there’s the realism, who wouldn’t want to move to a team capable (sort of) of challenging for silverware and who were willing to offer substantial wages? It makes sense for him. However, it’s still a bitter blow because he is a class player and we haven’t got a direct replacement and now must hope Cisse comes up trumps like he did last season. I didn’t boo last week when he turned out for Chelsea, although I did crack a wry smile when he got booted in the face by Coloccini.
A bit of cross channel shopping seems to have lifted the atmosphere though? More Gauloise than Geordie Generation?
We’re getting a lot of stick for exploiting the French market but the reality is, they’re all quality players. We spent less than £20m on six players including three members of the French national team. Imagine if we signed ANY three England players, it would cost us a lot more than £20m! Debuchy, Sissoko and Yanga-Mbiwa all strengthen our team no end and they’re cracking value, as they have proved so far!
Early days obviously but is Sissoko the best of the nouveau bunch?
When I heard we were interested in signing Moussa Sissoko, I almost wet myself with excitement. I’d seen him play for Toulouse and France and thought he was top notch, so to see him sign was amazing. You really can’t go wrong for £1.8m and he’s proving it straight away. Furthermore, we needed him to settle in straight away and he has! I tipped him to do just that because his style of play is perfect for the English league and you can see that with the way he’s running midfield with Cabaye at the minute. His burst past Ashley Cole last week was unbelievable and Assou-Ekotto must be fearful after watching that!
Gareth Bale’s been hitting the headlines, I imagine at some point he’ll be hoping to pass Debuchy on the left hand side. (Boom boom. One for the middle aged readers there). Will Pardew have a plan to stop our rampant Welshman do you think?
Bale is playing well but in recent weeks we’ve had a lot more structure to our team and it’s made us harder to score against. Only two stunners from Chelsea breached the defence so that’s good for us. Gouffran tracks back a lot, so Bale will have to beat a couple of players before he does anything of note for starters. We’ll also play a defensive midfielder and Debuchy too, who will be briefed on Bale’s incessant diving as well as his decent left peg!
And how about Spurs in general? A decent side do you think or getting away with it?
Decent side for sure. AVB is getting his philosophy across slowly but surely and Spurs are improving. They have too many attacking midfielders for me though, and Gylfi Sigurdsson is someone I don’t like seeing on the bench. I was hoping for a cheeky loan bid from Newcastle to give him the game time his talent deserves. Lewis Holtby is a quality player and will prove it sooner rather than later too. Defensively on the left you are still vulnerable so that’s an area for Newcastle to exploit if they can.
And finally, a few quick ones.
Ross Noble or Michael McIntyre?
The Bigg Market or ‘Up West’?
A bottle of Dog or a pint of London Pride?
Dog. Need you ask? Southern shandy drinkers.
And finally, a prediction for Saturday please.
Going with 2-2 on Saturday!
Many thanks, enjoy the game.
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