Newcastle’s away form this season has been great, and apart from the initial 3-0 loss to Manchester United, which could have been a lot worse, the Magpies have been competitive in all of their other games on the road.
Chris Hughton – deserves a break on Sunday against Sunderland
A 1-1 draw at Wolves was followed by a great 1-0 win at Goodison Park, and the 2-1 reverse at Manchester City, when we lost Hatem Ben Arfa to a double leg fracture, was followed by an inspired 2-1 win against bottom of the table West Ham – who stayed in that position.
We’ll not even mention the great wins on the road by the second eleven against Accrington Stanley and Chelsea in the Carling Cup, but if we did that would be an away record of 4 wins in 7 away games and only 2 defeats – not too bad at all.
It’s at home that Newcastle manager Chris Hughton and the lads have come in for some criticism, and since winning the first game by 6-0 against Aston Villa, one of the best Premier League results in Newcastle’s history we may add, we lost to Blackpool (when we should have won), and then to Stoke, and only narrowly fought to a draw against Wigan Athletic, and then our second eleven lost 4-0 to Arsenal last night in the Carling Cup. While the game was hardly 4-0, it was still another loss at home for Newcastle.
So home form needs to be improved, we all know that, and we have no wins in the last four home games, and certainly in the last two league games against Stoke and Wigan at home, Newcastle have looked woeful.
But surely it is inconceivable that our players will be off form for the vital game against Sunderland on Sunday.
And there were some very good individual performances from the Newcastle side last night and big Haris Vuckic was the pick of the bunch, as the 18 year-old got better and better as the game progressed, and he deserves a place on the bench for the Sunderland game because of his performance last night.
The Slovenian seems to be made to measure for the Premier League, and hopefully it will not be long before this powerful young player is making headlines on the field for Newcastle.
Nile Ranger again showed he will be quite a handful in a year or two, and Tamas Kadar had a decent game at left back, although he’s better in central defense, and a star of the future too at Newcastle – the lad just needs more first team games.
So not one of our first team players should feel comfortable that they will be automatic starters for Newcastle, and since Chris Hughton has been loyal to the lot of them over the past 16 months, we have to hope they will dedicate this game to their manager, step up to the plate and win it for him – and the great Newcastle fans.
Even the measured statement last night from the Newcastle Board that Chris is the Newcastle manager and the intent is to renegotiate his contract in December, has been widely interpreted by the gossip press in a negative fashion (what – again), to say that he’s on trial until the end of the year.
Well, be that as it may, the goal on Sunday is to win the game, and whoever has the privilege of playing against Sunderland in those famous black and white stripes, should play as though their lives depended on winning the game.
A good win at home is all the club needs to further stabilize its position in the Premier League and 14 points from the first 10 games, will be a very decent start to our first season back with the big boys, and we’ll even be above Sunderland too.
Our advice to the Newcastle players – do it for the boss on Sunday.