One week to go before our season opens at Manchester City next Monday night, in a game that will be broadcast live around the world, and it’s a great opportunity for Newcastle to make a positive statement in the very first game of the season.
The three wise men on Saturday – Stone, Carver and Pardew
Of course on the negative side of things, it could also be a time to get fans worried if we suffer a defeat, especially a big defeat, and there appear to be a number of pundits a bit worried about Newcastle for next season.
But the facts are that our squad is better and bigger than it was last season, and we’ll have a lot fewer games, and no Thursday night games in Europe, which really killed us last season – so we are fairly hopeful we
can do well again, as we did the season before last.
If that happens then last season was just a blip, and due to us not being equipped to handle European competition – so we should be a lot wiser the next time around in Europe – maybe the season after next?
This is what Alan Pardew told the local press today:.
“The big players look in good nick and hopefully we can put a team out at Man City that represents the pre-season that we’ve had.” “They will be the ones that will carry us through the season.”
“Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Mapou, the two keepers, Cabaye looks like he’s got the bit between his teeth, and Hatem looks stronger every game.” “In the first half on Saturday we treated it like a friendly, but in the second half we didn’t.”
“And we were a lot more at it, more positive and more aggressive and that showed.” “That’s what we are going to have to be like at Man City if we are going to win the game.” “So I’m pleased that some of our big players done well.”
“I am satisfied in terms of where we are at. The Braga game showed that we are strong and fit. Everybody looks in good focus.” “Like all pre-season games it is difficult to assess the team because the opposition were a different type of team.”
One positive is that Newcastle have suffered very few injuries in pre-season, under the watchful eye of our new fitness consultant Faye Downey, although Jonas did limp off in the second half on Saturday, but we assume the lack of injuries is because of Faye’s knowledge and advice – and that bodes well for the future.
It was difficult to assess the team on Saturday, but there were some good things to take out of the game, especially in the second half, where the defense looked decent and Ben Arfa showed some good fitness and form, and the subs in the second half all performed well.
But what worried us was another penalty given away by Mathieu Debuchy and maybe opposing managers will tell their players to run at Debuchy and get into the box and hope Mathieu makes another one of those ill-timed tackles.
The first test comes a week today at the Etihad Stadium and Newcastle must be competitive in this game, and we have to do a lot better than we did in this fixture last season when we were taken to the cleaners, especially in the first half and lost 4-0.
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