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Sky Sports Pundit Admits Newcastle Now More Open And Entertaining

Paul Merson watched the Newcastle vs. Huddersfield game on Saturday when we won that game easily even though the Terriers were down to 10 men after only 20 minutes.

But with the arrival of Miguel Almiron and Hayden and Longstaff dominating central midfield we looked a decent attacking side even against the bottom of the club.

It’s a more difficult test coming up against in-form Burnley, but the Sky Sports pundit still thinks we can win this game 2-1.

Rafa will want to keep a clean sheet of course – we have 8 so far this season.

And Merson admits Newcastle are a bit more open and entertaining – praise indeed from Merson – kind of.

Paul Merson – Newcastle a bit more open and entertaining
He must be feeling a little under the weather

This is what Paul has said on Sky Sports:

“Burnley have picked up, and Newcastle looked really lively against Huddersfield.”

“I’m going to tip Newcastle to steal it; Longstaff looked decent and the front three look energetic.”

“When you often see Rafa Benitez’s side set up, they’re out to not lose before they win.”

“But now he has these three up front – Rondon, Perez and Almiron.”

“He has players who can make things happen. Those three are definitely as good as anyone in the bottom half.”

“He can relax now, they’re a bit more open and entertaining.”

Prediction: 2-1

OK, must make sure we pass that one on to Rafa – that he can relax now.


Just over six in ten fans think we can meet Paul’s prediction tomorrow night.

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Comments welcome.

85 comments so far

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:09 PM

    Comment #1
  • ronaldo aarons

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:13 PM

    Comment #2

    Sorensen has returned and playing tonight for u23

  • ronaldo aarons

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:14 PM

    Comment #3

    #NUFC Under-23 team to face
    : Huuhtanen; Sterry, Gibson, Watts, Cass, McEntee, Allan, M. Longstaff, Touré, Sørensen, Sangare.

    Substitutes: Barrett, Harker, Juanito, Young, Bartlett.

    Is that sterry back too?

  • ronaldo aarons

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:15 PM

    Comment #4

    NUFC 360
    Luis Garcia on Ayoze Perez being touted for a Spain call up:

    “Perez is doing a great job and he definitely deserves a try because he has been amazing.
    And, to be honest, everytime he gets on the pitch, he delivers something. He’s a very technical player and he knows how to move.”

  • geordietom

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:17 PM

    Comment #5

    just a thought if your a Multiple do you have to take Viagra and if so what strength is best to give you Multible’s???…

  • ronaldo aarons

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:28 PM

    Comment #6

    Lee Ryder
    Elias Sorensen remains on loan with Blackpool but provision of his deal sees him get match fitness with the U23s tonight due to lack of match practice. He will return to Blackpool tomorrow. #nufc

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:29 PM

    Comment #7

    Must have dragged Sterry back from Crewe
    he’s supposed to be there until May

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:29 PM

    Comment #8

    Must be the same with Jamie Sterry

  • Ozzy

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:37 PM

    Comment #9

    I don’t see how Perez can get ahead of Morata, Paco Alcacer, Iago Aspas, Pedro, Isco and maybe some other less known talented spanish attacking players.

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 6:41 PM

    Comment #10

    Ayoze has had two U21 caps for Spain
    in friendlies when he was 20.
    I would guess playing for Spain doesn’t
    occupy his thoughts too much

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #11

    Avatar of Shearer’s classic salute
    User name Ozzy (at least it’s not Oz)
    Perhaps a Wearysider looking for a bite ?

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 7:37 PM

    Comment #12

    Jib, I think I agree with Ozzy – Perez being called up by Spain is less likely than me putting on a wig and calling myself RobertaLeenio.

    Mind, I’d be delighted for the lad if it happened and it’s great for him, Rafa and the club that he’s getting that recognition.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 7:40 PM

    Comment #13

    Ronaldo, you’re the fount of all things interesting and novel this evening, thanks for sharing all these snippets. It’s great to see Sterry and Sorensen back, even if for a limited time.

    Sorensen, Toure and Sangare is a decent forward line up in any league. Leeds’ U23 defence will know they’ve been in a game tonight.

  • jane

    Feb 25, 2019 at 7:43 PM

    Comment #14

    “26′ – GOAL – Leeds United Under-23s 1 Newcastle United Under-23s 1 (Jamie Sterry)

    The Magpies are quickly back on level terms as Elias Sørensen plays a delicate pass into the path of the right-back before the captain turns inside the penalty area to fire home!”


  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 7:49 PM

    Comment #15

    Jib, interesting that article in the Leicester Mercury that Rafa didn’t put himself out of the running. Of course he would be foolish to do that just now, he’ll want to keep his options open.

    I don’t see him running off to negotiate a contract with Leicester when he won’t discuss one with NUFC. They’ll have to wait or, if they want an immediate solution, appoint someone else. I would think he’ll give NUFC first refusal over his services and only speak to Leicester once all options with NUFC are exhausted, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 7:53 PM

    Comment #16

    Anyone else think Elias Sorensen has the worst haircut in football since Carlos Valderama?

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #17

    Interesting that the goal was scored by one returning loanee and assisted by another.

    I thought Sterry would be the next to break into our first team and I still think he could make it. He’s another one perhaps better suited to wing-back play than out-and-out right back at senior level.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Feb 25, 2019 at 8:09 PM

    Comment #18


    I think injuries really stunted Sterry’s career which is a shame as he has qualities!

    Defensively he does seem a bit all over the place at the top level but then regular game time could sort that

  • lochinvar

    Feb 25, 2019 at 8:11 PM

    Comment #19

    Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association for his behaviour at the end of the 2-1 defeat at Burnley
    The Argentine angrily confronted referee Mike Dean and also argued with the fourth official during the match.

    Rafa was fined £60,000 for an honest assessment.

    Lets see what the FA hand out to Ponchettino. ( holds breath in anticipation)

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 8:21 PM

    Comment #20

    LCBP you may be right about the impact of injuries on his career so far, you’re also right about his quality.

    He and Longstaff have always linked up well when I’ve seen them play together – it could be that Longstaff’s integration into the 1st 11 could help Sterry next time he gets a chance.

    I thought Crewe was a step down for Sterry. If he’s not even getting a game there, he must be gutted.

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 8:29 PM

    Comment #21

    Stiffs getting stiffed. 3-1 Leeds….

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 8:57 PM

    Comment #22

    I’m watching Derby’s derby
    I’d forgotten how shite Champo
    officials are !

  • Chancel My MBembaship

    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:01 PM

    Comment #23

    Mike Dean was going to be the fourth official in Spurs’ next game. They’ve very wisely decided to switch his duties to another game that night. That would have been very awkward!

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:03 PM

    Comment #24

    This “quarterback” role for Shelvey was created by Rafa as a way to break down 10 behind the ball defences when we had the Shelvey Gayle show in the Championship. Shelvey would play deep and we’d probe with about 70% plus possession, and Gayle would run the channels and look to get in behind.

    Shelvey can play deep on his own, or alongside a central mid, a little more advanced than a sitting holding central mid. He’ll play to instruction. In a 3421, conventional wisdom says 2 holding mids, but we’ve seen Rafa play Hayden a little further forward than Longstaff to good effect in recent weeks, which would suit Shelvey fine.

    Also, Rafa likes him a lot and with good reason, brilliant range of passing, reads the game super and runs around. He’ll be worked back into the side somehow at some stage. Too good not to feature, unless a big offer comes in.

  • jane

    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:27 PM

    Comment #25

    “Stiffs getting stiffed. 3-1 Leeds….”

    if this was the Champions League or World Cup the team that needed to win usually beats the team that doesn’t.

    why is it called stiffs?

  • Chancel My MBembaship

    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:36 PM

    Comment #26

    Nicky – personally I’d move Shelvey on next season. He can hit some sweet balls but I think there’s still some question marks over his temperament, despite his efforts off-field to work on that. With VAR coming in he won’t get away with his sly little fouls that he’s prone to sometimes. He can be having a stormer and then loses his head and does something daft.

    If we lose Hayden (wanting away) and Diame (Ashley not renewing his contract) then I’d keep Shelvey, but I wouldn’t want him as a regular starter. Just my opinion of course, others will obviously disagree 🙂

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:45 PM

    Comment #27

    “…….now he has these three up front – Rondon, Perez and Almiron.”

    “He has players who can make things happen. Those three are definitely as good as anyone in the bottom half.”

    Rafa’ll be tempted to get a bit more passing into his central midfield to play those three in, meaning opening it up a little more again. With 3 centre backs and wing backs you can potentially sacrifice a little solidity in the middle of the park, for a little more on the ball. It is an interesting dilemma for him.

    I imagine he’ll stick with Longstaff and Hayden while it continues to bear fruit or until injury opens the door for either Ki or Shelvey.

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:47 PM

    Comment #28

    Yeah, I’m in the pro Shelvey camp, so I’m just sticking up for him on here. 🙂

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:53 PM

    Comment #29

    jane, you’re right there – I think the imperative for tonight seems to have been more around giving the squad a run out than getting a result. I’m not going to complain, Ben Dawson’s been brilliant this season.

    Not sure why the reserves are the ‘stiffs’, they just always have been. Not just NUFC.

  • Mindshaft

    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:58 PM

    Comment #30

    I like shelvey and he has been our best player in previous seasons , in the current formation I don’t think it will work – Longstaff and Hayden do a lot more running than Shelvey

  • Bladey

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:03 PM

    Comment #31

    All you ever do is pander to other bloggers
    Yes jib nice one jib three bags full jib
    Grow up man and stop crawling your nauseous

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:04 PM

    Comment #32

    Stiffs as in run of the mill. Most of the players in the reserves at any club aren’t gonna break through, and if you’re a former first team player you don’t want to be dropped to the reserves, no way, that’s the beginning of the end. At Newcastle, Sterry is a stiff, Aarons is a stiff etc. Anyone who is down there for a prolonged period is a stiff. I speak from experience. 🙂

  • RobLeenio

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:11 PM

    Comment #33

    Hi Bladey, good to hear from you, always constructive.

  • Bladey

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:18 PM

    Comment #34

    Cheers robo
    I mean to please

  • Bladey

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:19 PM

    Comment #35

    Here’s something constructive
    NUFC 3 burnley 1

  • sing in the corner

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:32 PM

    Comment #36

    Stop obsessing on Elias’ hairdo man.
    He’s just got a popular cross between a skin fade and a short back n slap.

  • Jib

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:34 PM

    Comment #37

    NUFC had scouts for the 4th time in February ,
    this evening watching Sporting Lisbon.
    They have 2 shit hot strikers in Bas Dost and
    Bruno Fernandes – one has a buyout clause
    of €60m the other €100.A few days ago we were
    linked with Hoffenheim’s Joelinton (€60m).
    What on earth is happening ?

    Do we have rich buyers hovering in the backgound ?

  • sing in the corner

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:35 PM

    Comment #38

    Knaas where the goal is though!

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:44 PM

    Comment #39

    Nicky, are u nicking my comments re shelvey? 🙂 shelveying ur bets 🙂

  • Mister Tuff

    Feb 25, 2019 at 10:45 PM

    Comment #40

    Rich buyers – Ken Lin of Newcastle Ventures Ltd.

    Don’t think the furniture van has been spotted between Leeds and SJP though.


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