Opposition view: Newcastle United
By Ric Turner, Wed 16 November 2011 14:55
Ahead of Saturday's encounter with Newcastle United, Bluemoon caught up with Ed from www.nufcblog.com to get the lowdown on the opposition:
1. Who are Newcastle's key players?
The Newcastle defence has been excellent this season and have only conceded 8 goals in the 11 league games so far. They are goalkeeper Krul, Danny Simpson, Fab Collocini, Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor.
French international Yohan Cabaye was signed from Lille in the summer and he has played really well and is putting a good partnership together with Cheick Tiote in central midfield.
Demba Ba up front has been scoring the goals, and so far has 8 goals in 12
appearances, and Argentine Jonas Gutierrez on the left wing has also been
in top form.
2. Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
Not at the time, because Newcastle failed to bring in a top striker to replace the departed Andy Carroll on the last day of the summer transfer window. Two or three deals fell through on that last day and Newcastle spent no net money on transfers in the summer and therefore none of the £35M received for Andy from Liverpool.
But Newcastle brought in 7 players and let Jose Enrique, Joey Barton, Wayne Routledge and Kevin Nolan go, and we have a much better side this season, so most fans are very pleased now, with the summer transfers - it could be the best transfer window for a long tiome for the Magpies.
3. What are your expectations for this season?
The official target issued by Managing Director Derek LLambis is to finish in the top ten, and we'd be happy with that. But with the unexpected strong start made to the season, coupled with some very good form shown so far, the team can maybe do a bit better than that. A stretch target would be to somehow qualify for the Europa Cup for next season.
4. Are you happy with the manager?
Very happy, Alan Pardew has done a terrific job since he replaced Chris
Hughton last December. In a poll we conducted the day before he arrived, he got a mere 6% of the vote - of a number of managers who could have potentially come in.
My point was that he had never managed at a club as big as Newcastle so what in his record qualified him to be the new Newcastle manager. We thought that was solid logic, but he's proved us completely wrong, and good for him.
Alan is very straight, a workaholic and has worked with the Newcastle defence to make them very good this season. He's also very good with the players and pays lot of attention to the many good youngsters at the club at the moment.
5. Are there any rising starts in the squad that we might not have heard of?
Sammy Ameobi is a local lad who has come through big time since May, and he is usually brought on as an impact sub, and he does very well in that role. Sammy played in both the England U21 games recently, after he was called up early last week, and it was a huge surprise to the 19 year-old, who is Shola Ameobi's younger brother. Sammy stands 6'3" and he has a gangly way of running down the left wing, and he should get on in the second half on Saturday.
6. If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
I would choose Yaya Toure because he seems to be the all round midfielder, who can also score goals. But of course you have some top players in Dzeko, Aguero and David Silva to name just three.
7. What is your perception of City as a club?
Money bags. Indeed it's good contrast with Newcastle because our owner Mike Ashley refuses to spend big money on players, as Newcastle used to do in the past. And he's concentrated on bringing top youngsters to the club, and getting bargain buys like Demba Ba as a free agent in the summer. The view of many is that Man City have simply bought umpteen world class players for however much money, much like Chelsea did a few years back. But Roberto Mancini has done well to mould them into a team, and control
the huge egos in the squad.
8. Likely Newcastle starting XI for Saturday, and score prediction?
Simspon Coloccini Taylor (S) Taylor (R)
Guthrie Cabaye Tiote Gutierrez
We'd be very happy with a point - how about 2-2.