Pardew – Mapou Breathing Down Steven Taylor’s Neck

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It’s not a bad strategy by Alan Pardew to show all the new boys a video of what happened when we played at White Hart Lane last February – and we went there to attack Spurs – and we were torn apart and 2-0 down after six minutes and 4-0 down after only 34 minutes, and eventually lost that game 5-0.

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Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – pushing hard for starting position

It’s not a bad strategy to ensure the team is not over-confident as we probably were last season – and of course with two great wins in our last two games – we suppose there may be a fear that the lads are over-confident for tomorrow’s game.

But we don’t really think so, and too many of our new players – like Moussa Sissoko, Mathieu Debuchy and Yoan Gouffran – are too busy trying to fit into the Newcastle team and give the side a big lift – which is what they’ve done over the last couple of games.

The 5-0 loss at Tottenham is Alan’s worst defeat while at Newcastle, although we were hammered 7-3 recently at Arsenal and then 4-0 at Wigan (of all places) last April – and that came after the Tottenham defeat and that shock defeat against the Latics broke a six game winning streak in the league.

That’s the kind of winning streak we need to try to emulate right now.

Alan Pardew seems fairly confident of being able to get something out of the game tomorrow, but he knows it’s one of the toughest games left in the season, and he had this to say to the local Newcastle press today:

“We’re in a much healthier position – but still not out of trouble.” “We don’t want to be where we are in the league. It is about momentum and we need to keep it.” “We had three or four tricky days last year and Tottenham was one of them. We’ve had a few more this year.”

“There were a lot of things going on – such as Harry Redknapp being linked with England – that caught them on that day.” “This is a different scenario though and hopefully we’re on the up now.” “It’s difficult – it’s a tough game.” “I envisage it to be as tough a game as we’ve had all year.”

“You look at our run-in, and you’d have to say Man City is probably our toughest game, and this will be the second toughest, in my opinion.” “That’s where it sits in the games we’ve got left outside of Europe.” “It was a difficult call at the first game at Villa, because Mapou had just arrived and played games, and I knew he was fit.”

“Steven Taylor hadn’t played a game for four or five months, so that was a tough call for me, so I knew that worked in my favor as I’ve had two great performances with Mapou breathing down Tayls’ and Colo’s neck, which is how it should be at this football club.”

“You should have that level of competition.” “There’s Mike Williamson as well, of course.” “Steven has done terrifically, and he needs to take that into Spurs.” “It’s almost like having half a team new, if I’m honest.”

We cannot see Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa being out of the side for too long, because he’s just too good a player to sit on the bench, and he also has terrific leadership skills, and if you’ve listened to the interviews he’s given since he arrived on Tyneside you can see that.

But Mapou will play in the two upcoming Europa League games – probably alongside Mike Williamson – so then Alan Pardew will have a decision to make for the home game against Southampton two weeks on Sunday – on who partners Newcastle captain Coloccini in central defense.

And Newcastle are already seeing the tangible benefits of having big competition at the back – and our defense has played very solidly over the last couple of games.

If we are going to get anything out of the game tomorrow , the defense will again have to be in top form.

What do you think?

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