Alan Pardew has said today that it’s only in the last couple of games that Newcastle have approached their top form.
Cheick Tiote – top player again for Newcastle
Alan”s right about that, and it really started in the second half at Villa Park two weeks ago, when Newcastle came back from one goal down and almost won the game towards the end, when Yohan Cabaye almost scored three times.
And with some top players now available for Newcastle like Ben Arfa, Davide Santon and Sylvain Marveaux and pressing for a first team start, you have to think there’s a decent chance Newcastle can be at or near their best tomorrow afternoon at Molineaux.
“I had a period with West Ham towards the end where we looked pretty strong on paper.” “We didn’t actually get it right on the pitch.” “But this side at the moment has a lot of really good attributes.” “And at the moment they are producing it on the pitch.”
“It has only been a couple of games really, so we still have a long way to go until we hit our top form.” “When the team is winning it is difficult. What has been difficult is who will travel, we are leaving two or three really good players behind.”
“That really bodes well because we definitely weren’t like that last year – I was having to nick a player out of the youth team just to make up the numbers.” “We are in a different situation and we have a team that are playing well.”
“You could ask that about Santon, you could ask it about Danny Guthrie, Peter Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi, Sylvain Marveaux or Danny Gosling.” “We have players who are desperate to play.” “I can only pick 11. “
“We’ve said it many times before, it is about who will come in and improve the team.” “Last year we were talking about who can make up the bench.” “We are in a healthy situation and we’re lucky with injuries – hopefully it can continue.”
“I have options and I have to use those options.” “We have some big-hitting teams coming up and I might have to sacrifice some of our style to make sure we have the best possible chance of winning.”
“All of those decisions will depend on the form of the team and where we are at.” “For this particular game there is not much to change.”
One thing that will be obvious tomorrow is that the Newcastle bench will be very strong indeed, and if we had to hazard a guess we’d say that Newcastle will start the same team that did so very well last Saturday against Blackburn Rovers, when they could have won by a lot more than just the 3-1 scoreline.
Here’s our guess at the team for tomorrow, and also what the subs bench could be.
Simpson Coloccini (c) Taylor (S) Taylor (R)
Obertan Cabaye Tiote Gutierrez
Subs: Elliot Santon Guthrie Marveaux Ameobi (S) Ben Arfa Lovenkrands
That’s a strong bench and no place on it for Dan Gosling and Alan Smith and Shola Ameobi is not there because he is still injured.
And Alan Pardew has said this week he will rotate Steve Harper and Rob Elliot on the bench as back-up to Dutch International goalkeeper Tim Krul.
The very good thing about the strong bench is that if Newcastle need to come forward in the second half to win the game, they have players available like Ben Arfa, Marveaux and young Sammy Ameobi, who can help the side do just that.
Newcastle’s bench strength has become very good this season, and it points to a rather successful summer transfer window in the summer, even though it ended in a disappointing way, as the Board famously failed to bring in the expected top striker we seemed to need.
The summer transfer window is looking a lot better these days, that’s for sure, with players like Yohan Cabaye, Mehdi Abeid, Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan and Davide Santon all looking good buys.
What’s your team for tomorrow afternoon?