We had a relegation 6 pointer against Reading last time out, and after dominating the game in the first half at home, when we should have been more than just the one goal up at half time, we managed to collapse again in the last 20 minutes, and that allowed Reading to win a game at St. James’ Park for the first time ever – after seven previous defeats – and it was also their first away win of the season.
The mood of Newcastle fans after that game was doom and gloom to say the least.
But Newcastle have since brought in four French players in four days – in one of the most hectic transfer weeks in Newcastle’s long and glorious history, and the mood on Tyneside is now decidedly upbeat, and credit goes to Mike Ashley for personally getting involved with the transfers, after the disastrous home defeat against Reading.
But we must start picking up some points, and if we play well in the first half tonight – we don’t want to watch a different Newcastle side in the second half – which has happened far too much this season, and we have to hope the new French players will have buoyed the dressing room and given the Newcastle players a big lift mentally.
There has been criticism in outside quarters about Newcastle signing French players – but most of it is utter tripe – and we don’t care where our players come from as long as they are fully committed to the Newcastle cause – and anyway I love French food.
And judging from the comments that have been made by our new French recruits – they are just simply delighted and proud to be at Newcastle United Football Club, and that’s good enough for us.
And tonight’s game is huge game for the club – make no mistake about that – and his is what the Newcastle manager Alan pardew had to say today:
‘This is a big occasion, make no bones about that. A win is imperative for us both and we’ll both be pushing for it.” ‘The importance of the fixture is hard for the new players to comprehend and what happened at Aston Villa four years ago is a message that will be difficult to portray, but one or two will remember it.”
With the new recruits that have been brought in and players like Yohan Cabaye, Steven Taylor ( and soon Ben Arfa) returning to the fray from injury - the mood for the final 15 games of the season is decidedly upbeat, and Alan Pardew has that even his secretary was very pleased yesterday:
“My secretary was very, very pleased to type up the list of players who are travelling. She said it was the first time she had not had to put any young reserve players in there, so it cheered her up, if nothing else.” “It is very important because we have had to play good young players before their time and it’s been unfair on them too.”
Pardew has already revealed that former Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko will make his starting debut for the club, but it’s difficult to know what starting eleven Alan may choose - but here’s our shot at it:
Debuchy Coloccini (c) Taylor(S) Santon
Marveaux Cabaye Sissoko Obertan
Subs: Harper Yanga-Mbiwa Williamson Anita Perch Ameobi (Sh) Gutierrez
Notice there are no youngsters on the bench – and it seems harsh to have Vurnon Anita out of the side – and he may start in place of Obertan, but competition for places in now huge with the four new players brought in last week, and the manager will have lots of different options on the bench for substitutions – depending on how the game goes tonight.
That’s something Alan hasn’t has for the last three months.
Newcastle have to start picking up some wins, and we’ve only two wins since early November – so a win is certainly due – and we think the new French players will be fighting hard to get the side a win tonight in their very first game in the Newcastle squad, but Newcastle also have to end their terrible ability to give away sloppy goals.
It looks like around 80% of readers think we’ll win the game tonight — so we hope it’s not another terrible let-down – like the Reading result.
Let us know how you think the game will go tonight.
And let us know what team you would start tonight – it’s a tricky one.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org