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News and Commentary On Newcastle United Football Club By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Four Players Who Have Made The Difference This Season

10:40 am, Monday, September 16th, 2013 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 11 Comments

If you look at out first five games of the season –  we have won three and lost one and drawn one in all competitions –  and you look at what the difference is from last season,  we can point to four  players who have made a big difference.

mapou yanga-mbiwa

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has made a good start to the season

The first one is obvious, and it’s Ben Arfa who had 85% of the vote in our pollas Newcastle’s best player on Saturday, and he’s been in awesome form,  and if we can keep this lad fit, which we couldn’t  do last season, we could do very well this season.

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Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa had been outstanding for Montpellier when they won the French League a year ago, and Newcastle had been after this player, who is still only 24 years old, for a while, and we thought he was a great signing in January.

But like all the five Frenchmen who joined us earlier this year, Mapou found the Premier League to be a much higher standard than in France.

But this season, he has played in every game for Newcastle, and is forming a great partnership with Colo in central defense, and both center-backs  read  the game well, with Mapou  now looking very solid in Newcastle colors.

This lad is a born leader, so we do expect him to captain the side in Colo’s absence this season,  and in two or three years time don’t be surprised if this player becomes the new Newcastle captain.

Vurnon Anita struggled last season, although he still made 35 appearances when we had 14 extra European games to negotiate, and while the Dutchman looked a good technical player, it was difficult for him to get to terms with the physical nature of the English league.

But this year he’s looked a good player for Newcastle, and plays the simple game that all good technical players play, and he very rarely gives the ball away, and he was again tidy and efficient for Newcastle at Villa Park.

On his showings so far this season,  he could become first choice over Cheick Tiote, and if you have nufcTV,  check out his interview after the game on Saturday – all he did was smile and talk about winning – all the time.

You would even think he used to play for Ajax. :D.

We know we had made a good signing when we got long-term target Moussa  Sissoko from Toulouse in January, but this lad has played very well so far this season, and he gives us drive, power and energy in the midfield.

And Moussa had another fine game on Saturday, but if this player continues to improve and look so dominant in midfield, we may have trouble keeping  him next summer, but we hope Ashley puts a ridiculous transfer fee on his head, so we can keep him, as he did with Cabaye this summer.

And we almost made id five players,  and added in Loic Remy, but it’s too soon to judge Loic, but his first two games in a Newcastle shirt tells you  why we  have been after this lad for over five years.

So Ben Arfa, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Vurnon Anita and Moussa Sissoko have made Newcastle look like a much better side so far this season.

And our two wins on the trot in the league suggest we could do very well this season.

What do you think?

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Tags: Hatem Ben Arfa · Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa · Moussa Sissoko · Newcastle News · Vurnon Anita



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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JackButler // Sep 16, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Mapou is starting to show his class, Debuchy make me less nervous with every game he plays and Sissoko is finally being played in the right way and along with Anita they are looking like an excellent pairing.

    Now if we can get Cabaye’s head back to where it was the season that he joined us and rebuild Cisse’s confidence we could have a very good season

  • 2 outsidethebox // Sep 16, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    pardew is correct when he says our top 11 is as good as any teams..problem is when injuries and suspensions take their toll,…..
    the 4-5-1 system was fine with changes to be made to midfield when needed….big but the same cannot be said for gk s …fbacks ..and striker …one injury and we are back to problems ….but until then lets hope we can points on the board and stay injury free

  • 3 Spreadthetoon // Sep 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Ed, we’ve played 4 games so far! Also, I think Gouffran deserves credit as well. He makes good runs and has scored a few goals for us this season.

  • 4 Jamiemac // Sep 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Anita has been alright.. Wouldn’t go as far as saying he’s made the difference. 10x better than Tiote mind. Totally agree with the other 3. Been so so impressed with Sissoko.

  • 5 Slank // Sep 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    All the Winter arrivals have now settled into the country, adjusted to the Premiership and been fully integrated into the team so it’s no surprise that they have all clicked. Also, the 4-3-3 formation suits their style of play. The game at Villa reminded me of the game against Stoke two seasons ago where the 4-3-3 system really clicked.

    I cannot see Pardew reverting back to another formation. I also don’t see Jonas, Tiote and Saylor getting back in ahead of those that played on Saturday. And to think that we have yet to see the best of Cabaye and Remy. Hull can’t come early enough.

  • 6 DevonMag // Sep 16, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I was at the game on Saturday and I have to say we looked absolutely first class. From the kick off we looked the more superior, composed team. Used the ball well whenever we had it, picked the right passes, made almost always the right decisions. Ben Arfa was unplayable. I was in the Holte end with the Villa fans and they were all well surprised at our quality. They all thought they were nailed on for three points before the match started! Such a pleasure to watch us take a game by the scruff of the neck like that and control it through possession and passing – we played so few long balls I don’t think it hit double figures, and the ones we did try were measured and accurate, not just punts. Villa on the other hand played more long balls than even we were last year! I couldn’t believe it. Their midfield was crowded out every time they had the ball by Sissoko (absolutely fantastic, such feet for a big man) and Cabaye (looked decent, nowt special yet, on the way back though), and they went back to Guzan (to Villa fans’ disgust) almost every time. He then hoofed it up to Benteke (who won everything) and then they lost it again.

    To anyone who saw the MOTD highlights, they were an utter disgrace and didn’t show a fair reflection of the game in the slightest. To those who missed it try and find a full link, it’s worth watching. Only low point was Cisse, who just looks a different player these days. He really needs another striker challenging him for CF. Other than that, we were mint. And Pardew is so much more likeable after we WIN games. Roll on Hull!

  • 7 MrMojoRisin76 // Sep 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    I have to give a mention to our away fans,different class,could hear them from the 1st minute to the last.

  • 8 HullMag6 // Sep 16, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Cisse needs to get his head sorted fast or look for competition/replacement no9 in January’s window. Cabs is getting there but the signs are good just hope it’s not a false dawn.

  • 9 cyprus // Sep 16, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Ed,
    You and we can do this singling out on a blog. Hope AP doesn’t do it. Others (like Goufy mentioned above) have stepped up as well. I can only think of two of the current first teamers who haven’t really stepped it up.

  • 10 HullMag6 // Sep 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Bbc editors always do it, used to it – results in the end never lie. Had we had say Ba up front in the three I’d bet on the winning margin increasing by at least 2 goals. Cisse’s heads gone

  • 11 Sav // Sep 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Bit early to start this sort of article. We were ‘relegation candidates’ before Saturday, weren’t we? Lets not get into a boom and bust mentality, Ed. But you may be right to finger our new fitness coach as perhaps our most significant summer signing. I still think we are a little short (literally) at the back and until that is rectified, Sissoko will have to mark MUCH better.
    I”m also going to upset some people by saying since the ridiculous appointment of Kinnear, and the various things to have happened (or not happened) since then, Pardew has played an absolute blinder. Talk about pressure! I can’t imagine any other manager in the league would have coped as well under these circumstances. The guy deserves some credit for it.




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