Opposition view: Newcastle United

By Ric Turner, Thu 15 August 2013 14:11

Opposition view: Newcastle UnitedThe lowdown on the opposition, courtesy of Ed from www.nufcblog.com

What are your expectations for the rest of this season?

We did great the season before last to finish 5th, but last season we struggled with relegation after we were simply not equipped for the Europa League.

If we finish in the top seven this season we'll be happy enough.

Are you happy with the manager?

We are, although a number of Newcastle fans would like Alan Pardew replaced - but we don't think the manager was given a big enough squad to play those 14 games in Europe last season, when we reached the last eight of the Europa League.

We should do a lot better in the coming season, with a bigger squad and a lot less games.

Who are your key players?

Yohan Cabaye and Fabricio Coloccini are two of Newcastle's best and key players. Fabricio is the captain and we missed him big time last season when he was out injured for a couple of months. Yohan Cabaye is also key to us in central midfield, and when the French International play-maker is on song, Newcastle play well.

Were you happy with the business conducted during the January transfer window?

No - we are still short of strikers, after we lost Demba Ba in January to Chelsea, and we have only brought in one striker so far in Loic Remy on a season long loan deal.

We need two more strikers brought in - but the rest of the squad looks strong enough.

Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?

Local lads Sammy Ameobi, Paul Dummett and Slovenian International Haris Vuckic are three youngsters who could make a break-through this season, Sammy is the younger brother of Shola, and plays for the England U21 side, and you should see him at some point next Monday night.

Your Achilles heel?

Our defence has been a weakness these last three seasons and last season we conceded 68 goals - the most goals we have ever concedes in the Premier League.

Newcastle brought in three French defenders in January and persuaded Fabricio Coloccini to stay at Newcastle, since he has wanted to return to San Lorenzo in January.

So we'd see how we do - but we'd still like another top center-back to be brought in.

If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?

Edin Džeko - because Newcastle are so short of strikers.

What is your perception of City as a club?

The best team money can buy. Along with Chelsea, QPR (to an extent), PSG, Monaco and a few Russian clubs - City are an example of Billionaire owners coming in and spending hundreds of millions of pounds on players, with seemingly no restrictions at all - there seems something wrong with that. Hopefully the UEFA Financial Fair Play Rules will put a stop to that kind of outlandish spending - but I'm not convinced it will.

Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?

Debuchy Coloccini (c) Yanga-Mbiwa (or Steven Taylor) Santon
Ben Arfa Sissoko Cabaye Tiote Marveaux

We'd take a 1-1 draw .........and hope to do better than last season when we were hammered 4-0.