Well, 1732 of you voted at the time of writing, and for the second time in a row NUFC Blog’s player of the season is (drumroll):
He beat off Tim Krul into second for the second time in a row too, with Davide Santon replacing Yohan Cabaye on the bottom siep of the podium. However, a poor season for the team seemed to make it much harder for all of you who voted to pick a decisive winner. Last year Captain Colo recieved received a mighty 34% of the entire vote, or 525 votes out if 1522. This year however it was only 17%, or 287 votes out of the aforementioned 1732.
You can see the full results in the poll at the bottom of this piece.
Though not a perfect defender, many are better in the air including central defensive teammates such as Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor, his abilty with the ball on the floor and the way he can build play from the back have marked him out in Newcastle United’s heart of defence. Unfortunately though, this quality has hardly been a feature of Newcastle United’s play in general under the old fashioned “kick and rush” style of Alan Pardew. (more…)
Below you can see two Newcastle United “teams of the season,” which I have assembled based on player statistics from whoscored.com, OPTA and transfermarkt.co.uk.
The first (and most important) is based on performances in the Premier League, with the second based on performances in the Europa League. The figures below the player’s names are their ratings from whoscored.com, which are based on a range of performance metrics based on OPTA stats. To put these into some kind of perspective, whoscored’s most highly rated Premier League goalkeeper last season was Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet with an average of 7.0. In defence it was Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen with 7.6 and in midfield the honours were shared between Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, both with 7.9. Finally, up front, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez narrowly pipped Manchester United’s Robin van Persie (7.8) with his 7.9 rating.
Getting back to Newcastle United though, although the goalkeepers, defenders and strikers were pretty straightforward overall, things became more complicated when it came to midfielders who had been played in several different positions during the season, gaining different ratings in different positions. However, after some work, I have finally managed to sort it out. (more…)
In his latest defence of his French players, this time against alleged criticism in the media, Alan Pardew’s continued with his latest “inexperience” offensive, which seems to have replaced injuries and Europa League fixtures as his main explaination for Newcastle United’s poor form, which now has the club in a relegation dogfight.
Seemingly relishing the chance to shift the the cold finger of blame from himself to the players in the guise of defending them, the silver one reacted to Luke Edwards’ Observer story which alleged a rift in the dressing room and earned the former Journal hack a ban from Press access to the club. On this he began:
“Some of the criticism of the French group has been so unfair on them.”
He then went on to explain that the latest reason for the club’s recent hammerings has been the Premier League inexperience of his January signings (Debuchy, Gouffran, Sissoko and Haidara), along with Cheick Tiote’s “overmotivation” apparently. On this, Pardew continued: (more…)
It seems a lifetime since signings like Michael Owen and Mark Viduka wore the black and white. Declining, injury prone and nearly always overpriced; these marquee players from the Shepherd era were one of the main reasons we were relegated at the beginning of Ashley’s reign.
On massive wages and having already achieved something notable in their careers, they didn’t seem like they were hungry enough to care about the current club’s situation enough to save us from the drop. Going down to the championship a few years ago turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to the club in years as we found out who was there for the team and who was just there for the money and prestige.
The new policy of signing hungry players with lower reputations and wage demands started with the signings of players such as Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez, who were the first of many similar players to come through the door with similar ambitions and experience. These were followed in subsequent seasons by the likes of Cheick Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye, plus the five recent additions to the squad last month, making this transfer policy clearly the most important reason for our fledgling success in the last three / four seasons. (more…)
Many thanks to “ToonBano” from the Toon blog www.toonbano.com for his fourth guest blog here – wt.
As we managed to fall over the line to a 1-0 ‘win’ over QPR its got to be said that was one of the worst games of football I have ever seen in my whole life. Which was caused by mainly two things a) QPR being one of the worst teams that have ever shown up at St James’ Park and b) Our defensive starting line up. Those two miserable things cancelled each other out into an insufferable bore fest that would kill anyone’s Christmas spirit no matter how jolly they were feeling prior to kick off.
But this kind of performance from us on our own patch against a completely inferior side is no surprise whatsoever to all of us, or it shouldn’t be. It’s a typical Alan Pardew performance which we have come to expect in his 2 years here as manager. We didn’t exactly ‘win’ that game on Saturday afternoon but just managed to get the ball into their net on that bare minimal occasion, as the opposition had no chance of doing the same to us. QPR were hopeless. We were not much better. (more…)
Many thanks to “ToonBano” from the Toon blog www.toonbano.com for his second guest blog here – wt.
Today is the two year anniversary of Alan Pardew’s very first game as NUFC manager, when we defeated Liverpool 3-1 thanks to goals from Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Andy Carroll. Just looking at the goal scorers that evening and the impressive overall performance, compared to who we have in our team now after another defeat at the hands of Fulham Monday Night, it’s safe to say things have changed a lot over that period of time.
Most people were confused and concerned as to why Alan Pardew was even in the dugout that night two years ago as Chris Hughton was doing a sterling job in our first season back in the Premier League after the ultimate humiliation of relegation. Which of course was thanks to him for rescuing this club from certain doom by getting us promoted at the first time of asking, even though he had no previous managerial experience at that point of his life. Most fans thought he was unfairly sacked and I was one of them. (more…)
62 players from 37 clubs around the world have called on UEFA chief Michel Platini to strip Israel of their right to host the UEFA Under-21 European Championship in solidarity with the people of Gaza after the recent killings by Israel of over 100 Palestinians in the Gaza strip.
Of the 62, five Newcastle United players, as well as one ex-Newcastle United player (Leon Best), have been signatories to the statement condemning the slaughter. This is the second highest contingent of players on the list after French club, Olympique de Marseille (though there was no Joey Barton on the list). The Newcastle United signatories to the statement are Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cissé, Sylvain Marveaux and finally, Cheikh Tioté. Strangely though, there is no Hatem Ben Arfa there.
The full statement, along with the list of 62 signatories and their clubs is below:
“We, as European football players, express our solidarity with the people of Gaza who are living under siege and denied basic human dignity and freedom. The latest Israeli bombardment of Gaza, resulting in the death of over a hundred civilians, was yet another stain on the world’s conscience.(more…)
Venue: Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges. Date: Thursday, 8th November. Kick off: 6:00pm Referee: L. Banti. UK TV: ESPN.
Well, alot has happened in the world of Club Brugge since since our 1-0 victory against them at St James’ Park two weeks ago.
Back in those dim and distant days, their manager was Georges “Mack the Knife” Leekens (that’s his nickname, honest!) and they were top of the league, having just suffered their first league defeat of the season (1-4 against Zulte-Waregem). Since then however, they have suffered a further three defeats (not counting the one at St James’ Park), and Mack the Knife has been given the order of the boot!
So, will all of this Belgian bedlam be a good thing for our quest to preceed to the next stage of the Europa League ASAP? Or will this make the planning for this game more complex for Alan Pardew? Leekens was sacked following their last game (another defeat to Zulte-Waregem), so our Silver Supremo will be facing a team which will be far more of an unknown quantity under caretaker, Philippe Clement, who is the club’s reserve team coach. Will it be a case of “business as usual” for the team under Clement, or will he strike out with his own tactical ideas to try and arrest the team’s slump in both the Belgian Jupiler League and the Europa League? Of course, there is always the old cliche about the “wounded animal.” Altogether, this will add a bit unpredictabilty to preceedings this evening, both for Pardew and myself in preparing this humble preview. I did as much homework as I could on Brugge in my previous preview, but who knows now?
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle. Date: Thursday, 25th Oct. Kick off: 8:05pm Referee: Martin Hansson. UK TV: ESPN.
Hello, good evening and welcome to our “match banter” feature for this evening’s Europa League game at St James’ Park with Belgian table toppers, Club Brugge.
For some in depth information on the visitors, as well as all the usual team news and words from Alan Pardew about the kind of team he’ll be putting out and so on, you can consult our extensive match preview. As well as that, I will also be posting the teamsheets for the game when they become available. Though thanks to Alan Pardew, we can say that Cheick Tiote, Sammy Ameobi and Shane Ferguson will definitely be playing a role, with the Silver Supremo also saying that he will be fielding a “younger” team this evening. Here’s what he said:
“The team will be younger. I’m looking forward to seeing it. It’ll have a lot of energy, and we hope that’ll cause problems. It will be very similar to the one selected to play Bordeaux. That’s the best clue I can give you.”
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle. Date: Thursday, 25th Oct. Kick off: 8:05pm Referee: Martin Hansson. UK TV: ESPN.
Brugge come to St James’ Park this evening as leaders of the Belgian Pro League, though on the back of a fairly heavy 4-1 defeat against Oud-Heverlee Leuven (the home of “Stella Artois” beer).
However, this was their first league defeat of the season, with their record before that being D,D,W,D,W,W,W,D,W,W. Their only other defeat this season was their 4-0 Europa League hammering by Bordeaux. Of course, we beat Bordeaux convincingly in our last Europa game, 3-0 at our place, though if you think that makes the Belgians a pushover it’s not as simple as that. Brugge went on to do better than us in their next Europa League game, a 2-0 defeat of Maritimo where we could only manage a 0-0 draw.
This will be our first game against Brugge in European competition. Their last matches against English opposition in this competition were two legs at the same group stage last season against Chris Hughton’s Birmingham City. In those games they were beaten 1-2 at home by Birmingham, drawing 2-2 in their away leg at St Andrew’s.