Will Leon Best get the nod ahead of Shola Ameobi?

Posted on March 2nd, 2011 | 33 Comments |

Newcastle's Leon Best in a face mask
Leon Best doing a Shola Ameobi impersonation?
Shola Ameobi may be able to return to Newcastle United’s starting XI this weekend after being fitted with a face mask, but how does he compare to Leon Best now?

Leon Best has made the most of his opportunity to lead the forward line, having put in 5 goals in 8 league games since his first full start in the 5-0 victory over West Ham.

Opinion seems to be mixed as to whether he has the ability to figure as a first choice striker in the long term, but most would agree that he has improved recently, which is understandable because players need more than occasional games or substitute appearances to find their form.

The bemasked Shola is allegedly in contention for the Everton game this weekend, but will he get the nod over Best?

Well, Alan Pardew clearly rates Best and recently said:

Leon Best had his best game for us so far against Bolton.

He didn’t score, but he was terrific.

His movement was great and that made him better in my eyes than he was against West Ham when he got three.

If he keeps playing like that then it bodes well for him.

He got the chances, but more importantly he created some of them himself. I was very pleased with him.

In reality, in terms of this weekend’s game against Everton, I think Best will retain his starting position if for no other reason than Pardew will probably want to ease Shola back into things gently, most likely starting with a substitute appearance or two.

But what about for the rest of this season?

In the long-term – from the summer and beyond – it could be a moot point because Newcastle may be in the market for a striker or two anyway, but if Best continues to improve he could present the sort of selection headache that Pardew would probably like to have.

Of course there’s no reason why Pardew couldn’t play Ameobi and Best together, dropping Lovenkrands, but what do you think in terms of a direct comparison between Shola Ameobi and Leon Best?

Should Best get the nod over Shola?

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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33 Responses

  1. if he (best) is on form scoring goals then leave him in the team shola really is better coming on for last half hour or so

  2. would also like to see ranger actually start a game in the last couple of games in this season fully deserves it

  3. Plenty of room to improve for Best but I confident he’s on the right way now. Keep going on lads ! HWTL !

  4. i dont know why but i really like best , he isnt the best striker in the world but he seems 2 b getting better and better 4 us and from what i seen on sat against bolton hes putting 110% in. i wud never play ameobi again the lad is 2 injury prone, scores a goal every 10 games and thats just not gud enough!!

  5. i really dont understand why we arent playing ranger????? he came on against bolton last sat and was a real handfull , hes really strong and has loads of pace! ranger and best wud b my preferd strike force until the end of the season HWTL

  6. pardew doesnt doubt ranger, hes just very young and doesnt need to be started. once he scores from a sub position i reckon ranger will start immediately the next game… hopefully this weekend he will hit the net

  7. I would play best and lovva, both scored against birmingham, Ranger cant score, granted he is a threat and a keeper of the ball in the box just no goals and its too late in the season to hope he scores goals to win us games at this stage. Ease shola in but I would take experience up front. Lovva is a better striker than people give him credit.

  8. I think Best and Ranger could form a decent partnership if they get to play together for a few games.

    I think when we play Best and Lovenkrands together we lose a bit of what Best can do, he is seen as the target man that will nod the ball onto the pacey striker.
    With Ranger playing they can share the target man role as they are both strong. Best can then benefit from being more of a poacher as he has got good feet and likes to play of the last defender when he can.
    While Ranger also has pace to burn so if he can just get a bit of luck and score his first goal I think there could be a few more before long.

  9. Shola needs tome yet as his break won’t have healed propely yet and his confidence to head the ball will still be affected.

    I’d be inclined to stick with best and hope he maintains his current run.

    Off thread, but listening to Ferguson bleating about week referees and injustice at the Chelsea game, I wonder whether he’d witnessed karma following the Rooney elbow non-decision? Could it be the inevitability that what goes around etc….

  10. @ joppadoni

    The only way ranger will score goals is if its on a PS or xbox lol. The Nil ranger misses again.

  11. I’d rather Best and Ranger start instead of Loverman or Shola. At present form Best is above Shola anyway in the pecking order. And Ranger i believe will not score unless given the time and games to play. Like how He who shall not be named got when we were in the Championship. It’s difficult for Pardew though to start him. If he starts and we dont win people will jump at why he didnt start the more experienced and proven strikers and only put Ranger in when the points are secured. It’s a headache that Pardew is being PAID to have though and up to him to prove he’s worthy of making big decisions when it matter.

    As for Shola….i’m probably one of his few supporters on this blog i think. But until he’s fully fit I’d rather he come off the bench if he’s needed. Don’t displace Best who’s being doing a good job so far.

  12. I guarentee that if Shola is available then it will be Shola and Best starting upfront. That is Pardew’s favoured strike partnership with the strikers he has. Ranger is very raw at present and has the ability to affect the game more in the last 20/30 min’s right now when defenders begin to tire with his pace and direct style of play. He is not ready yet to start games and i would imagine he may go out on loan next season dependant upon whom we bring in. A season in the champioship would do wonders for him; look what it did for Carroll last year!

    I’m telling you all now; if shola is fit it will be him and best. Put money on that and you will most certainly make a profit.

  13. Shola sucks. The only reason he is with us is he has failed his medical every time he has gone to another club.

  14. ranger might be raw but he has the skill to create for others chest down to nolan the other week spings to mind as for the question of the blog best is a more rounded player then shola. shola is always running offside and falling over not prem striker had his chance time and time again king kev wanted to flog his should have ……

  15. Yeah, let’s have Ranger instead of Shola. Based on their respective goal scoring records this season, I’d say Ranger’s earned a starting place. Oh, wait. What? Ranger hasn’t scored and Ameobi’s been getting goals?

    Ranger is 19 and a good impact sub for now. He needs to find his feet and be a little calmer on the ball. At present, there’s no way I’d be starting him ahead of Shola.

    I think, when he’s all healed up, Pardew will play Shola up front with Best. I doubt we’ll see Ranger getting starts until next season. Think next season Ranger and Ben Arfa will see a lot of action together. I hope so, anyway.

  16. Guys I’m really torn.
    I am firmly in the camp that it wasnt Ashleys fault that Carroll left, it was the hairy tw*ts doing for handing in a transfer request.

    But I’ve just read that he may make his debut on Sunday and I’m excited, like thinking about it now I bloody want him to do well!!

    Like a few people have said, its pretty difficult for a 22yr old to turn down 80grand a week.

    So do people want Andy to crash and burn or succeed?

  17. I’d hate to see him do well outside of Newcastle….but….deep down he’s still a Geordie. I hope he does stick a few past Manure. More so since i hate Manure and rather see the Arse get the title.

  18. I hope ranger full fills our expectations, however I am doubtful. We are now hoping that ranger will shine like AC did for us from our academy. If AC was still with us Ranger would be less likely to play, why is that? because he is not good enough. He will not be another gem like AC was for us, the kid is tallented but something is missing. He is like shola a bit lazy and inconsistent AP said that about him enough. He knew him from SOTO too.

    AC played well for us as he was a Geordie, Ranger is not so there is no extra motivation to impress in front of your home fans. Ranger will be a Jenus, we all say he has the potential and skills but he will never quite make it, Jenus is still that type of player at totham. We called him Genius when he was at toon. He isnt, and Ranger will be nil ranger for a long while yet, so dont get your hopes up. Why else are we looking to buy strikers at end of season?

  19. What has impressed me more than the goals Best has scored is his ability in the air and his first touch.
    Obviously he will ultimately be judged on his goal scoring but his over all contribution has been very good.

  20. Best and McLoven up front all the way – when the little man’s run himself into the ground, bring on Ranger as scary impact ‘what’s-he-gunna-do-next’ sub.

    It works.

    As for A-force, unless this new mask he has came from the set of a Jim Carey movie, i cant see him being anything other than a little less sharp than he already was.

  21. Just a thought for toady but on another tack.
    Much as I loved KK as a player and (first time) manager for us , I’m a bit p***ed off with him sticking his oar in and I can also still feel the disappointment of both walk-outs.
    Had we stuck with Keegan’s “vision”, we might never have had an Andy Carroll to sell! Or Steven Taylor, Nile Ranger, Shane Ferguson etc. Because there would have been no reserve team for them to develop in. So we still wouldn’t have had that £35 million to spend or not to spend!

  22. Sorry – the thought was for today but happy for it to be for toady as well, whoever he is!

  23. Nowaday it’s rare to find 18-20 yrs old with professional attitude so I don’t surprise at all about Ranger. A lot of them waste their talent for this but for Ranger, he has many professional experience players around to guide him, he has good staff coach to teach him, he has the best supporter to sheer him up and he is in one of the best club in England. It will be shame if he cannot fufil his talent.

    It’s time for him to choose, to be successful fooballer, to become one of the best forward in PRM. He has to work hard. Or be forever hot prospect and to be forgotten in nearly future. Hopefully he can do it. HWTL !

  24. Ranger will come good; he’s improving steadily and has deserved to get a goal. But until we’re resigned to a mid-table finish I think AP is right to keep him as an impact sub.

    Best continues to impress, but he and Lover – and just about everyone else – need to know a barn door when they see one. They stats for on-target shots for Saturday were just awful – less than one in four going inside the posts. That’s cow’s arse and banjo territory and not good enough in this league.

    As for Shola – it’s the usual unjustified bashing. “Scores one in ten games” and “only still here because he keeps failing medicals”. Just plain incorrect, and totally unfair.

    Like it or not, he’s got a better record than anyone else in the squad. When fit (ha, I know..) his ratio is fantastic and while it may be frustrating to watch him a lot of the time (animated bagpipes, etc.) he gets the goals when it matters.

    If he needs letting in gently, I think start Best and Lover again, then bring him on for half an hour, along with Ranger if the game is needing his pace and hold-up play.

    Here’s a thought: with no RW player available (no news on Joey, so I think that’s the case) should we put Lover on the right and effectively go 4-3-3? Or perhaps Jonas RW, Ferguson LW?

  25. Ranger is a real talent, but he has yet to learn all the tricks he will need against the savvy veteran defenders. Since he is only 19, I like him coming off the bench with fresh legs against tired defenders that he can take advantage of. If it were time for a sub against an experienced back line, I’d bring on Shola who knows the little moves that can make a difference.

  26. Hell play em both, twin towers up front, Shola & Best!
    Either that or Lovenkrands and Best, then give a not quite game fit Shola fifteen or twenty minutes.

  27. it’ll be best and loven up front again is my guess. they’ve made the starting spots theirs and (best especially) have been working hard to hold on to it. i don’t think any player walks right back into the squad. everyones gotta earn it. keeps everyone performing at the top of their game.
    I can see shola and ranger coming in late for them as loven always seems to run out of gas late on and if best puts in another monster shift, he’ll come off wiht about 20 min to go.