The Newcastle United Blog

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

The Newcastle United Blog header image 2
Banner created by Reilly - one of our readers
Howay The Lads!!

Our Hats Are Off To This Courageous Player This Season

2:39 pm, Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 35 Comments

Yoan Gouffran was hardly used last season when he appeared only 8 times with 3 starts and 5 sub appearances.

Yoan had no goals and no assists in those 8 appearances.

Contrast that after two months of this season when Yoan has already appeared 9 times (more than last season) with 8 starts and he’s scored 3 goals and has two assists.

What a transformation!

yoan gouffran

Yoan Gouffran in action for Newcastle

And the stats are only part of the story, because Yoan he has scored a couple of fabulous goals – one of them direct from a corner against Derby County, so it’s not like his goals are tap-ins either.

And of course he headed in the equalizer against Norwich after 95 minutes last Wednesday night.

It’s the story of the season so far and as well as having good stats, Yoan always works his socks off for the side and Rafa Benitez obviously is very comfortable with him in the side.

Call Yoan the comeback kid who is in the final year of his four and a half year deal, since he signed on for us back in January, 2013 when Moussa Sissoko also signed for the club.

Gouffran’s fine form this season is first of all a testament to his strong character that he could come back after two years out of the limelight – especially after last season – which was an utter disaster for the club and completely self-inflicted.

Credit also has to go to manager Rafa Benitez for helping Yoan get some of his confidence back.

It started last season when Yoan appeared on the bench for Rafa because the manager liked his attitude in training and the fact that he gave 100%.

This could still be Yoan’s last season at the club, but the way he will be remembered by fans will be a lot different than it would have been had he left Newcastle last summer.

Yoan has a chance to get his name down in the annals of Newcastle’s history  by being in the side and even being one of the stars of what we hope is a promotion season for the club.

If he does that then Yoan will be fondly remembered for his gutsy comeback that was helped by the astute man-management and terrific coaching of Rafa Benitez.

These days positive stuff is hard to come by,  but hey – this could become a great story for the Frenchman and for Newcastle too.

Here’s hoping.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Other News · Yoan Gouffran

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 2:46 PM

    The Gouff is a striker playing out of position. I’d love to see him playing just behind the main striker instead of Diame. If Atsu develops into the player we know he can be, then with him on one wing and Ritchie in the other, The Gouff would be ideal in the second striker role. His finishing this season has been well above average and he deserves the chance to show what he can do further forward.

  • 2 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    Tuff last thread

    Bradley is a big gamble when Swansea need more of an experienced hand but that seems to be their way of late. Most managers (apart from Martinez and Rodgers ) I think have been axed within a year and a bit. Such is the pressure of staying in PL (when 3 have to go regardless) or even getting there as in Villa’s case.

    So glad we have Rafa and everything is looking rosy – Yeah I know this is Newcastle but surely sooner or later …..

  • 3 NUFCPaul // Oct 4, 2016 at 2:51 PM

    Wonder if he’ll be offered a new contract, and if so, if he’ll accept it? Could be the classic ‘putting yourself in the shop window’ attitude that’s producing these good performances. Or just having a point to prove. Either way, he could score himself a pretty sweet deal moving on a free if he can keep it up and have a stellar season.

  • 4 NUFCPaul // Oct 4, 2016 at 2:53 PM

    Bobby – I agree, he needs to be played more centrally to really show what he can do. If Lazaar is deployed as more of a winger when he comes into the team, or Yedlin as a winger, then maybe Gouf won’t be needed as much out wide.

  • 5 cyprus // Oct 4, 2016 at 2:54 PM

    Always felt this guy was pardewed, if there still exists such a word. Palace seem to be doing alright these days, so hats off. – So don’t jump, Pardew fans 🙂

  • 6 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 2:54 PM


    Good call but so much depends on Rafa finding a player who works on the left as much as Gouf does in current set up. Not sure yet whether Atsu is the answer and of cours who is the main striker?

    We also currently only have Gayle playing regularly and he won’t play him with Gouf unless no option – would he?

  • 7 cyprus // Oct 4, 2016 at 2:59 PM

    Good arguments re Bradley. It’s a gamble, but he did organise his US team well, and did well. American soccer may be ‘naive’ but they introduce elements from their football: organization, set plays, power, tactics.

    He’ll do ok I think, although that project is in disarray in any case. Favored to go down, with the Mackenzie, and… Burnley?

  • 8 cyprus // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    Mackenzie? Lol

  • 9 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:03 PM


    He may well have ideas about Lazaar in front of Dummet but he seems to prefer round pegs in round holes so far. I did think he might have tried Yedlin in front of Anita but he has also resisted that at least as a starter.

    Has Lazaar been used elsewhere as wingback/ LW – can’t recall?

    I have also thought Gayle might do a job out there but again Rafa seems to only see him as a striker in a 4231.

    I think whilst promotion remains on course but not in the bag by any means, he won’t be as experimental as us fans are and can be 🙂

  • 10 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:03 PM

    Magscar, I don’t know and second guessing Rafa is a pointless exercise. 🙂 It was just an idea I’ve been mulling over for quite a while. If Atsu can continue in the form he showed at Rotherham then it’s an idea worth looking at imo. The Gouff isn’t shy at taking on volleys, or just hitting it first time. His accuracy is quite impressive as well. He can also offer something in the air when required, so he could fit in with any of our current strikers.

  • 11 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:08 PM

    Cyprus, spell check? 🙂 Bloody things! I take it you meant mackems anyway. When relegation is the issue and you type in M,A.C, surely every spellcheck in the world should immediately spell out mackems. Makes complete sense to me. 🙂

  • 12 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:10 PM


    early days yet but I think Swansea may still be caught in relegation fight along with Mackems Boro Burnley, Hull.

    Stoke are a surprise but Hughes can probably pull them clear and WHU will as well or jettison Bilic.

    Can Mackems keep on doing a Wigan? Depends on whether theyare still in with a shout come January as Moyes has a big rebuilding job on and still has to clear out some.

    Nice to have other worries 🙂

  • 13 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:17 PM


    Can’t disagree about second guessing Rafa ( isn’t it greatr to have a generally better balanced squad for task in hand).

    Gave Jail’s Bingo a half hearted go for first game and then gave up as without points for say a near miss – a 10 or even a 9 it isn’t feasible. Not suggesting Jail ( don’t panic) alters his game as it is for fun and he hasn’t the time to do the various calculations 🙂

  • 14 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:20 PM

    Mags, I think this will be the season their luck runs out. No points from us after all. Those points have kept them alive for far too long now and it would be merciful for them to go down and have some respite from losing. I know we shouldn’t mock the afflicted and it can’t be easy supporting a team who’s season is over after the third round of the fa cup. That’s being generous, because the reality is their season ends in October and it’s catchup from there on in. 🙂 And we all know what happened to Wigan after all!

  • 15 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:26 PM


    On Gouf I could see him being offered a shorter contract but not on same money as now.

    He may well be looking for a last transfer payoff and can’t see him getting it in France but could see a good Championship or lower level PLclub offering him 2-3 year deal after his good performances have upped his profile.

    He has had offers but presumably not as lucrative as his last year here so stayed especially once he got back in side in August and Rafa was rating him.Honest player.

  • 16 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:28 PM

    There’s definitely something in the air. I see Cardiff have also sacked their manager today. Another chance for McClaren? Er, maybe not. Mind you, I’ve heard he does a very good Welsh accent, so you never know really. 🙂

  • 17 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:30 PM


    Yeah sooner or later but I have been thinking that for last 4-5 years and they pull the same old change manager before Christmas trick – have they gone too early this year after FA forced their hand? Lets hope so

    At least Boro haven’t replaced us as their 5 – 6 NE points 🙂

  • 18 g.s.tooner // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    Touch wood but has anyone noticed how improved the injury situation has been this season.

    This is our injury position for 2015/2016 season as of January 15th.

    Days Missed: 1042
    Injuries: 33
    Players Injured :18

    This year other than a couple of concussions to Gayle and Mitro and Aarons broken foot I can’t think of any injuries we’ve had, certainly not on the scale of previous years.

    This has to go down to Rafa changing to the 3G indoor pitch. I can’t believe that we were training on ordinary astro. Anyone who has ever played on both can tell you about the difference it makes to impact on your joints. Shocking it was left for this long!

    Big up Rafa!

  • 19 nut meg // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:38 PM

    Magscar @9
    Lazaar has played left midfield 55 times in his career and 54 times at left back according to transfermarket.

  • 20 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:39 PM

    Mags, I think they’ve pretty much emulated what their heroes had done before them – Wigan I mean – so maybe they want to go one better. 🙂 One better would suit me s well – Wigan got relegated twice, maybe the mackems can manage three? If Darlington carry on rising, whilst Sunlun carry on bombing, that could be their big derby game in two or three seasons! 🙂

  • 21 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:40 PM


    Tan is another of those quick on the draw Owners like Cellini but as Villa have found ( and Mackems) a new manger at a club with deep rooted problems is simply a recipe for another new manager sooner rather than later.

    Staying in (and getting to) Promised Land has really upped the ante in last couple of years for managers and won’t slacken. Some clubs like Burnley and Norwich have been holding their nerve and are yo-yo yet stable clubs because of their inability to match (or reluctance) the profligate spending of competitors.

  • 22 Jib // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:42 PM

    On Swansea
    How their owners can pick a guy who has coached four MLS sides , the USA , and Egypt – also in the Eliteserien in Norway and the French Ligue 2 – over some of the proven managers out of work at the moment defies belief.

    Watch him take the PL by storm and prove us all wrong.

  • 23 Jib // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:43 PM

    Huw Jenkins was said to favour Ryan Giggs but was over ruled by Kaplan and his mate !

  • 24 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:44 PM


    Thanks for that – NUFPaul may be on the mark then. Rafa certainly seems happy enough with Dummet at LB but we will see.

  • 25 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:45 PM

    GST, it also has to do with the rotation, it’s not entirely down to the change of training pitch – although that has been a massive contributing factor. I agree it should have been sorted out long before this, but we didn’t have a world class manager before now. 🙂 Nice innit?

  • 26 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:48 PM

    Mags, once a team is promoted, if they fail to invest the writings on the wall. For smaller clubs maybe the way forward is to gamble on being a yo yo club and make a nestegg that way, but it’s a huge gamble to take.

  • 27 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:51 PM


    We all know that one thing Bradley won’t have is time and he will have to hit ground running. PL is a graveyard for untried managers sooner or later.

    Wonder who Welshie would have prefered from viable candidates?

    Yes an odd choice with so many out of work managers around – cost conscious move with one eye on “what if we still go down”?

  • 28 Ian Toon // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:53 PM

    gs- possibly but too simplistic and not the full explanation. It also could be having the benefit of a larger squad. Thereby under rotation less individual physical output and more recovery time.

    Also at another club, for example, a player like Aguero had to do less defensive running. The whole City team had to work harder to allow Aguero to score goals. Is this changing under Pep. Also Benitez monitors players stats far more than previous incumbents. The data features very highly in Benitez’s player welfare control and I am sure influences team selection.

  • 29 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:57 PM


    I think clubs like Burnley have to take a pragmatic approach and hope to consolidate in a couple of seasons.

    Over the years clubs like Wimbledon, Watford Bournemouth Fulham Wigan etc have adopted similar stance and it has given them some longevity in PL but it can catch up.

    On the other hand the Championship is littered with previously supposedly big clubs like Leeds, Sheff Wed and Utd, Wolves and established side like Derby and Forest who have not been able to get balance right.

  • 30 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 3:57 PM

    I’m sat here watching a re run of the Brghton game. Keith Stroud is undoubtedly one of the best Championship referees, but he certainly forgot that fo this game. Hopefully next time we get him he’ll be back to what he does best. Everybody’s allowed the odd stinker I suppose. 🙂

  • 31 Bobbybee // Oct 4, 2016 at 4:04 PM

    Must be tough being a Leeds fan. (Snigger). They continuously harp on about what a huge club they are, when the reality is, they’re not even a big club in the Championship any more when you look around. 8k at their last cup game compared to our almost 35k?
    What a wonderful header from Lascelles in the Brighton game. 🙂 Nice to relive these games in the International fortnight.

  • 32 emperor // Oct 4, 2016 at 4:09 PM

    yedlin mbemba lascelles lazaar
    shelvey hayden
    atsu perez ritchie
    4231 i want to see this team

  • 33 magscar // Oct 4, 2016 at 4:10 PM


    The information on fitness etc has been around since Alladyce at least ( think he had a large backroom staff) and Souness was trying to pin point reasons for so many non contact injuries.

    Think as you say there is lot more to problem and Rafa seems to have benefits his predecessors lacked – more inclined to and able to rotate , better balanced squad, more astute, better training facilities and staff and so on.

    Also think injuries are part of a downward spiral ( especially when losing) but can be opposite when you are winning

  • 34 Big Archie // Oct 4, 2016 at 5:01 PM

    I cannot believe this constant harping on that Gouffran has suddenly become a brilliant player thanks to Rafa’s management.

    Gouffran like Shola before, and probably Carroll too is currently at a level at which he can play comfortably.

    He’s not suddenly a brilliant player. He’suddenly a Championship player.

    Big difference!

  • 35 lesh // Oct 4, 2016 at 5:43 PM


    As you know, Pardew has more control over player recruitment at Palace than he had at SJP where he had none or next to none.

    As it was, he was forced to play with what he had and was given – or sold. It goes without saying that if players don’t fit with a manager’s model, then the player’s either put out to grass, loaned out or forced to change his game or in other words, Pardewed.

    I’m no apologist for Pardew in fact think he’s not a likeable man, but in fairness to him, his hands were tied whilst he was with us.

    But, on the upside, had Pardew not been sickened and walked, there’s be no Rafa.

previous post: Defender On Newcastle’s Squad Being Big And Competitive

next post: Newcastle Working Hard On Transfers