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Archive for category: International call ups.

The Africa Cup of Nations and Newcastle United – A Geordie’s guide.

December 24th, 2011 | 15 Comments |

Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote.
Ba and Mr.T: Out for Africa.
As most of you will no doubt be aware, the Africa Cup of Nations will be taking place next month.

This incredibly awkward competition is held bi-annually, unlike the European Championships which are held every four years. Also unlike the Euros, it is also usually held right in the middle of the bloody football season! This time the tournament will be jointly hosted by Gabon and Equitorial Guinea from January 21 to February 12 2012, but players will usually be called for duty by their national teams some time before that, even as early as the 8th of January for pre tournament training camps and warm up games.

Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba will definitely be there representing the Ivory Coast and Senegal respectively. Inspired by Manchester City, who also wish to hold back their talisman midfielder, Yaya Toure, from joining Tiote in the Ivory Coast team for as long as possible, Alan Pardew is now trying to delay Ba’s and Tiote’s departure until around the 15th January.

If Pardew and City manager Roberto Mancini fail in their quest to hold the players back until the middle of the month, the two Silver Supremos could be missing their important players for as many as six or seven games according to my calculation. Of course, this will almost certainly have a much greater effect on the Magpies than it will on moneybags Man City with their wealth of strength in depth. In Newcastle United’s case the potential games missed will be the following if Tiote and Ba depart on the 8th January: (more…)

Do Newcastle United have a better midfield this season?

October 10th, 2011 | 73 Comments |

Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye.
New look midfield: Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye in action
After the comings and goings of the ‘off season’, some of them obvious,, predictable, profitable and manufactured, it’s safe to say we now have a far more fluid midfield.

On top of the fluidity, we have also aquired a hell of a lot more pace. We seem very midfield focused at the moment, what with the possibilty of Yohan Cabaye being missing for the upcoming Spurs game. We also will lose the services of one Cheik Tiote when the African Cup of Nations swings around in January. No doubt losing his services a week or so before, as he meets up with his Cote d’Ivore team mates.

Both players will definitely be missed whenever they don’t play, whether by injury or suspension, but can we fill the sizeable gaps left? We have midfielders like Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylvain Marveaux, Dan Gosling, Haris Vučkić, Danny Guthrie to come in, not bad stand-ins, if you ask me. We also have versatile players like Ryan Taylor, James Perch and Shane Ferguson to come and ‘do a job’ if we get Davide Santon, Mike Williamson back into the defensive fold. So, as I was saying: We have a much more fluid arrangement from midfield to defence. (more…)

Pardew: “You lose Leon Best and you gain Hatem Ben Arfa.”

April 7th, 2011 | 7 Comments |

Pardew: “More than enough to see us through”
Pardew: “More than enough to see us through”
Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew has been speaking once again on the long awaited return of wonder wing man, Hatem Ben Arfa, along with the loss of in form striker, Leon Best, who will now be out for the rest of the season after being told he needed an ankle operation. Talking to The Shields Gazette, he also filled us in on the other injuries which have ravaged the squad recently.

Pardew, who previously said that he would like to say that he “would like to say we won’t need him before the end of the season”, then added that he may be looking to use him in the last three games, is now suggesting that the game against Liverpool (the fourth last game of the season) is when the French Tunisian will start to figure in his thoughts.

He started on the situation regarding Leon Best, saying:

“I had an inkling last week all was not well. It’s best to get him right and ready to rumble next season.” (more…)

Worrying time for Newcastle as Ameobi and Best receive international call ups.

January 25th, 2011 | 12 Comments |

Best: Carling Nations call up
Best: Carling Nations call up
As an injury depleted Newcastle United hobbles it’s way through the middle part of the season, news came through that Leon Best has received his eighth international call up for the Republic of Ireland team.

The 24 year old hitman has been called for the squad for the Republic’s upcoming game against Wales on February 8th. This will be the first game in the inaugural ‘Carling Nations Cup’ to be held in Ireland. This comes fairly soon after the news that fellow striker, Shola Ameobi, has been selected for the Nigeria squad for a friendly match against Guatemala on February 9.

With Andy Carroll’s delayed return from a thigh injury, and Newcastle facing matches against and in form Blackburn team on the 12th, and a resceduled clash with Birmingham on the 15th (or possibly the 19th or 20th), this could be a worry for the already injury ravaged squad should the players pick up any knocks. If the worst were to happen, and both players were injured in some way, Peter Lovenkrands and Xisco would be the only remaining first team strikers. Current injuries include Steven Taylor (hamstring), Dan Gosling (knee), Alan Smith and Ryan Taylor (ankle and foot), Hatem Ben Arfa (broken leg), as well as the aforementioned Carroll. (more…)

Shola in demand by Birmingham and Nigeria

January 25th, 2011 | 77 Comments |

Shola Ameobi gets £1.5m bid from Birmingham
Toon number 2 striker?
Birmingham City make a bid for Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi. Meanwhile, Alan Pardew has to consider letting the striker attend to his international duties.

According to The Daily Mail, Birmingham City have lodged a cheeky £1.5m bid to buy Shola from us which, The Mail speculates, we’ll ‘firmly rebut’.

Shola does – to put it kindly – elicit a ‘mixed response’ from fans and pundits alike and is often on the end of some fairly harsh criticism. Even so, £1.5m for our third highest scorer this season does seem a bit insulting (assuming The Mail’s report is true of course).

The 29 year old has 18 months left to run on his contract and is arguably our number 2 striker after Andy Carroll as he often gets the nod ahead of Best, Lovenkrands, Ranger and Xisco.

I can’t imagine Alan Pardew will be keen to let him go, particularly with Andy Carroll yet to come back from injury.

That’s a point that’s backed up by Pardew’s apparent reluctance to free up Shola for international duty for Nigeria’s friendly against Guatemala on February 9th. The game comes between our fixtures at home to Arsenal and away to Blackburn and it’s doubtful whether Shola would be available to play for us against Blackburn after a midweek international and the associated transatlantic travel. (more…)