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Archive for category: Leon Best.

Who have been Newcastle United’s most lethal Premiership strikers? Here’s the answer…

June 27th, 2013 | 51 Comments |

Demba Ba - Newcastle United.
Demba Ba: Newcastle United’s hottest hitman in recent times.
Below is a table comparing the main statistics of all of Newcastle United’s main strikers who have played in the Hughton / Pardew years. There are six, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll, Leon Best, Demba Ba and most recently of course, Papiss Cisse.

Please note that this is for Premier League games only. Championship stats have been excluded as they would obviously give the players who played a full season in the lower division an unfair advantage. As well as that, cup games have also been escluded too to make as level a playing field as possible (if you’ll pardon the pun). I think you might find one or two surprises in there, which was partly the reason I did this post in the first place.

I suppose I could have included Kevin Nolan too, as his goalscoring and assist figures would also stand up with the names below after Chris Hughton moved him further forward into the “hole” as they say, however this one’s for strikers and Nolan has always been a midfielder, albeit a highly attacking one in recent seasons. (more…)


Can Newcastle cope without Ba and Cisse? – An alternative eleven.

September 3rd, 2012 | 24 Comments |

A potential Newcastle United 11 without Ba and Cisse.
A potential Newcastle United 11 without Ba and Cisse.
Following the departures of Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands Newcastle United have only three recognised strikers in our 12/13 squad – fact.

A much documented lack of transfer activity has left countless Geordies despondent with the size of our squad entering a hectic season, yearning for the signature of a new striker. The biggest worry is that whilst both Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are competing in the African Cup of Nations (or potentially injured) we will be left unable to cope without arguably our two most recognised strikers, where a lack of goals could become a defining factor in our Premier League campaign. It’s worth noting that Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse contributed a huge 53% of our goals total in the Premier League last year (29 of 55), highlighting their importance.

So, should we of signed another striker? Not necessarily. Can we cope without Ba and Cisse? I believe so. A conventional 4-4-2 formation is unachievable should only one recognised striker in Shola Ameobi be available, but alternatives can be utilised to apt effect. Of 38 Premier League fixtures last season a 4-4-2 formation was utilised 26 times (68.4%). What about our other fixtures? We were often tagged as operating in a 4-5-1, 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation with 1 conventional striker, 3 advanced mid-fielders and 2 central defensive mid-fielders in behind operating predominately defensively. Why could this not be used in the few games where both Cisse and Ba would not be available? Another alternative would be to play a 4-4-1-1 formation (often favoured by Alan Pardew’s predecessor Chris Hughton) with Ben Arfa operating in what is essentially a free role behind Shola Ameobi. (more…)


How was Newcastle United’s transfer window for you? Let us know!

September 2nd, 2012 | 47 Comments |

Vurnon Anita showing his new Newcastle shirt.
Little Vurn: NUFC's "marquee" signing in this window.
As you no doubt know only too well, the Summer transfer window ended at 11pm on Friday evening. But are you happy, or not, overall, with the comings and goings at the club?

Reviewing the ingoings and outgoings at Newcastle United during this particular window (see table below), nine players have left the club and four have come in. I have included Ryan Donaldson and Phil Airey in the nine outgoings as they both enjoyed at least one or two outings for the first team in the past, though I have omitted several other Academy players who were released by the club in the infamous “night of the long knives” at the Benton Academy, when at least seven young prospects were axed in one go, plus the slightly older Kadar.

Though the figures are approximate, the overall spend for the club seems to be a figure of around +£2.64 million to +£3.14 million. Looking at the individuals involved will always be something of a subjective thing, but having a bash at some kind of assesment, I would say that the club has lost three squad members who had been very handy for the club when the inevitable injuries occured, or when more regular choices were fulfilling international commitments in major competitions such as the Africa Cup of Nations. We also lost the all but redundant Alan Smith (and his huge wages), the talented but constantly on loan Fraser Forster, the once regarded as highly promising defender, Tamas Kadar, who never quite failed to live up to earlier expectations, as well the two bairns mentioned above. (more…)


Pardew – “I don’t envisage too many coming in”

July 11th, 2012 | 84 Comments |

Alan Pardew Press Conference.
Pardew: The silly season intrigue continues!
Newcastle United’s Silver Supremo, Alan Pardew, played down transfer fever at the club, saying that he doesn’t expect too many players to be coming in during this transfer window.

Speaking at his first press conference for the forthcoming pre-season programme, instead, Pardew preferred to put the emphasis on younger players such as Mehdi Abeid and Haris Vuckic breaking through for more first team action in the absence of departees such as Peter Lovenkrands, Danny Guthrie, Leon Best and several others. The Grey Gaffer said:

“I don’t envisage too many coming in.

“We have a lot of young players here who haven’t played much football.

“People like Mehdi Abeid and Haris Vuckic.

However, he was heartened that the club were still looking at players who could take the club forward, adding: (more…)


Pardew: Newcastle will be like Spain and Best’s a Blackburn player now

July 2nd, 2012 | 61 Comments |

Alan Pardew.
It's Pimms O'Clock for Pardew.
Well, Wimbledon born Alan Pardew loves a bit of tennis (or so he said), and often attends the Tennis championship his birthplace is famous for.

So, Radio 5’s Richard Bacon pulled him in for an interview during the station’s coverage of the latest Wimbledon tournament for a chat. In it he talked about tennis, the recent European football championships in Poland and the Ukraine, as well as some things which undoubtedly be of interest to Newcastle United fans about his tactical thinking for next season, as well as Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, and also Leon Best’s move to Blackburn Rovers. Here, I’m dropping in at the point where Bacon “grilled” Pardew (sorry for that) on what he can take from the Spanish national side’s performances for his work with Newcastle United.

Take it away, Richard!

Richard Bacon: “As a manager, do you look at Spain and think ‘Do you know what, let’s nick that, whatever they’re doing, I’m going to borrow that’?” (more…)