In four days of last month – Tuesday, January 22nd though Friday, January 25th – could be four days Newcastle fans will want to remember, because that’s when Newcastle amazingly brought in four top Frenchmen – Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haidara and Moussa Sissoko – and already the middle two of those four French players are giving Newcastle a new look – a great new look.
Moussa Sissoko - maybe the pick of the bunch in January?
Yoan Gouffran has skill and speed and seems to fit perfectly into the now free-flowing Newcastle side, who pass the ball about nicely, and gone is that high ball lofted into the penalty box.
Indeed Yohan Gouffran plays very well with Papiss Cisse, who is again Newcastle’s main man, and he is getting chances from the creative play of players like Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko, and he scored a nice goal at Aston Vila, and could have had more in the first half against Chelsea on Saturday.
Before these last two league games, Newcastle had gone 13 league games with 10 losses and one draw – and we had to put up with the ignominy of losing to Reading for the first time ever at St,. James’ Park – after seven previous wins.
That r of 13 league games must be one of the worst runs in Newcastle’s Premier League history.
But suddenly things have been turned around, and there’s even some hope that the five players brought in last month – French International right back Mathieu Debuchy was the other player brought in early in January – have transformed Newcastle into a very good side.
Of course it’s only two wins, and we still have 13 cup finals to go and cannot get too carried away, and we must still ensure we are a Premier League side next season.
But when you consider that we now have players like Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux, Dan Gosling, Gabby Obertan and Shola Ameobi who cannot make the starting eleven at Newcastle, then it seems at last we have some strength in depth.
And we also have Cheick Tiote on his way back from South Africa and Ben Arfa a couple of weeks away from returning from his hamstring strain.
And the way Newcastle have played these last two games, we’ve looked a different side from the previous three months, a much better side, and we’ve looked as good as we were last season – at our best.
So there is definitely hope that we have the makings of a very good side – and as long as we can keep our best players on Tyneside over the summer months, we should be able to make a challenge for a top six or even top four place next season
We still need another top class striker, and maybe one or two more players to fill out the squad – like Siem de Jong, the Ajax captain, and perhaps we can clear out some of the fringe players who are not going to make it at Newcastle in the summer.
one through the door
two through the door
three through the door
four through the door
five through the door
And the name (the brand) of Newcastle United has taken a beating in the last three months or so – but now the lads have a chance to climb that table and maybe have a great finish to the Premier League season – and as Alan Pardew says – maybe we can replicate what Everton did last season.
In Everton’s last 15 league games they got 27 points and finished 7th top on 56 points. In our first 23 games we had 21 points, so if we replicate what Everton did last year we’ll end up with 48 points – which would have got us into 10th place last season.
But we’ve already got 6 points from our first two games of the last 15 – so maybe we can even do better than Everton did last season – but in any case it seems the top ten should now be the target (at least) this season
And after all the points we have given up in the first 23 games – win and more wins are what we need – and maybe we can shock some people (including ourselves) through the end of the season.
And I never even mentioned the Europa League – and we must stand a decent chance of advancing further in that competition, although the Premier League is by far the highest priority.
But there’s some optimism in the Newcastle camp these days – and it seems well founded – and thanks to everybody involved in getting the players onto Tyneside last month – Mike Ashley, Derek LLambias, Alan Pardew, Lee Charnley and of course, our number one talent spotter – the incomparable Graham Carr.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org