Did Toon Punch Above Their Weight Last Season?
Was last season pure and simple 'luck' ... or were we really that good? Alan Pardew picked up the major awards, so someone thought we were not punching above our weight.
However, were we expecting to surpass last year’s remarkable campaign.
Pardew’s side finished above Chelsea and Liverpool in fifth place, and although he says you have to end each season higher and higher - how often does it happen?
Last season's points tally are no more - they were taken away in May - we all start with NOWT!
Last season means nothing now. It's what we do on these Saturdays and Sundays that count ... and for some reason ... it hasn't been very good.
Are the summer signings better than those who? Have we progressed?
Major Ins Romain Amalfitano (free) Vurnon Anita (undisc.) Gael Bigirimana (undisc.) Curtis Good (undisc.)
Major Outs Leon Best (undisc.) Paul Dummett (loan) Fraser Forster (undisc.) Danny Guthrie (free) Alan Smith (released)
Smith didn't feature, and Best was always going to be a squad player trying to squeeze past the more capable Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse - but he was always handy to have in the wings (just in case).
Guthrie is struggling at lowly Reading (which says a lot), and Forster was down the pecking order - although we may regret his sale, because he is suddenly making waves on the international scene.
Is he better than Tim Krul? I doubt it, but he is certainly better than Steve Harper.
We haven't seen of Amalfitano to say "good or bad", and Anita admits he is struggling to come to terms with the "tough Premiership".
To date, young Bigirimana seems the pick of the bunch, but he's only a kid and needs at least another season or two to look Premiership quality.
Personally I don't think the squad is any better than last season, and at least with Best and Guthrie, they KNEW the Premiership.
So let's look at what COULD be better:-
1) Cheick Tiote needs to spend more time on the pitch. Tiote’s sending off in the derby draw at Sunderland cost Newcastle victory at the Stadium of Shite.
It has also cost the Magpies their star midfield for three Premiership games, AND now he faces a European ban.
Suspensions are mounting, and referees are starting to target the man. He's brilliant on his day - but we need more of those days.
James Perch or “Perchinio” has proved a far better midfield anchor man than defender, but a six-week lay-off has coincided with Tiote’s latest suspension. 2) Fabricio Coloccini has been an inspirational leader, but unfortunately he too has been injured for most of the season, and now suspended for three games so will be missed.
3) The Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse partnership has been 'interesting' to say the least!
International team-mates, and Ba was influential in bringing Cisse to the club, but can they play together? It's so much like the Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard debate. Great apart, but can they do it as a partnership?
Ba hates playing wide and Pardew promised him at the start of the season "you will play in the centre for 90% of the games". That hasn't happend, and rumours persist that Ba will leave for Liverpool in January.
4) The Europa League has been a test of Newcastle's squad of kids. The results have been good, we cannot complain about that, but the league form has suffered after each European adventure.
But, if Newcastle are to make it into the Top Four in the Premiership, more games is something they must expect and be capable of handling.
He made nine changes from the side which drew in Belgium last week, so no player can say they are suffering from burn-out. Far from it!
5) Newcastle supporters expected the club to buy big in the summer to build on the European qualification but the numbers didn’t add up.
Not enough money spent, not enough players signed. Maybe they are paying the price for Mike Ashley pulling out of the two major deals that seemed cast iron in August.
There’s no doubt the foundations have been built - even before Pardew came - because Chris Hughton put together a tidy squad on a shoestring.
We have some class players - Tiote, Coloccini, Krul, Ba, Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez and Yohan Cabaye.
But we seriously need Ashley to do the right thing - and back the dreams of the 52,000 that fill his stadium.NEWCASTLE UNITED FC 2012/13 Newcastle United Fixtures Saturday November 17 15:00Premier League Newcastle United v Swansea City Thursday November 22 20:05Europa League - Group D Newcastle United v Maritimo Sunday November 25 15:00Premier League Southampton v Newcastle United Wednesday November 28 19:45Premier League Stoke City v Newcastle United PREMIERSHIP NEWCASTLE 0 WEST HAM 1Krul, Simpson (79' Obertan), Steven Taylor, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Gutierrez (24' Anita), Ferguson, Cisse (45+5' Shola Ameobi), Ba Subs:Elliot, Amalfitano, Bigirimana, Marveaux. LIVERPOOL 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (Cabaye)Krul, Anita, S Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Perch (26' Simpson), Cabaye (68' Ferguson), Gutierrez, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Ba (49' Sammy Ameobi).Subs: Harper, Williamson, Shola Ameobi, Obertan. NEWCASTLE 2 WEST BROM 1 (Ba, Cisse)Krul, Simpson (61 Cisse), Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Perch, Gutierrez, Ba (72 Sammy Ameobi), Shola Ameobi (61 Obertan). Subs: Harper, Anita, Steven Taylor, Ferguson. SUNDERLAND 1 NEWCASTLE UTD 1 (Cabaye)Krul,Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini (79' S Taylor) Santon, Gutierrez, Cabaye, Tiote, Ben Arfa (83' Obertan), Ba, Shola Ameobi (38' Perch).Subs: Harper, Anita, Cisse, Ferguson NEWCASTLE UTD 0 MAN UTD 3Harper, Santon, Perch, Williamson, Ferguson (63' Anita), Ben Arfa, Tiote (80' Bigirimana), Cabaye, Gutierrez, Cisse (63' Shola Ameobi), Ba Subs: Alnwick, Simpson, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi READING 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ba 2)Harper, Perch, Williamson, Steven Taylor (Tavernier 56), Santon, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Bigirimana (Ferguson 70), Gutierrez, Cisse (Shola Ameobi 69), Ba.Subs not used: Elliot, Anita, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi. NEWCASTLE 1 NORWICH 0 (Ba)Harper, Perch, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Santon, Ben Arfa (Shola 85mins), Anita (Tiote 76 mins), Cabaye, Jonas, Cisse (Obertan 70 mins), BaSubs unused: Elliot, Tavernier, Bigirimana, Sammy Ameobi EVERTON 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ba 2)Harper; Perch, Williamson, Taylor, Santon; Anita, Cabaye (Bigirimana 93), Gutierrez; Marveaux (Ba 46), Ben Arfa; Cissé (Shola Ameobi 80). Substitutes not used Elliot (g), Gosling, Obertan, Tavernier. NEWCASTLE 1 ASTON VILLA 1 (Ben Arfa)Krul, Simpson (Bigirimana 38), Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Anita, Gutierrez (Marveaux 86), Ba (Obertan 86), CisseSubs not used: Harper, Williamson, Gosling, Amalfitano CHELSEA 2 NEWCASTLE 0Krul, Simpson (Ryan Taylor 64), Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Santon (Marveaux 74), Ben Arfa, Anita, Cabaye (Perch 77), Gutierrez, Ba, CisseSubs not used: Harper, Williamson, Gosling, Obertan NEWCASTLE 2 SPURS 1 (Ba, Ben Arfa pen)Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Perch, Santon; Ben Arfa, Cabaye (Anita, 71), Tiote, Gutierrez; Cisse, Ba (Obertan, 85). Subs not used: Harper; R Taylor, Williamson, Gosling, Amalfitano EUROPA LEAGUE CLUB BRUGGE 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Anita, Shola Ameobi)Krul, Anita, Williamson (58' Steven Taylor), Coloccini, Tavernier, Tiote, Sammy Ameobi (83' Amalfitano), Marveaux, Bigirimana (72' Cabaye), Obertan, Shola Ameobi Sub: Elliot, Santon, Cisse, Shane Ferguson NEWCASTLE 1 CLUB BRUGGE 0 (Obertan)Harper, Perch, Santon, Steven Taylor, Ferguson 80 (Cabaye), Obertan, Tiote, Bigirimana, Anita 46' (Shola Ameobi), Sammy Ameobi 73' (Coloccini), CisseSubs: Krul, Ben Arfa, Ba, Campbell NEWCASTLE 3 BORDEAUX 0 (Shola Ameobi, Henrique og), Cisse)Elliot (Harper, 46 ); Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Ferguson; Anita, Tiote (Gosling, 71), Cabaye (Bigirimana, 61); Cisse, Ameobi, Obertan. MARITIMO 0 NEWCASTLE 0Elliot, Santon, Williamson, Perch, S Taylor, Gosling, Amalfitano (Ferguson 76), Bigirimana, Obertan (Marveaux 80), Vuckic (Sami Ameobi 53), Shola Ameobi. Subs (not used): Harper (gk), Tavernier, Abeid, Campbell NEWCASTLE 1 ATROMITOS 0 (Vuckic)Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Ryan Taylor (11 Vuckic), Obertan, Bigirimana, Perch (59 Tavernier), Marveaux (91 Amalfitano), Gosling, Ba. Subs: Harper, Cabaye, Cisse, Campbell. ATROMITOS 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (R Taylor)Harper; Tavernier, Williamson, Perch, R Taylor; Bigirimana, Anita; Obertan, Gosling (Amalfitano, 64), Marveaux (Gutierrez, 71); Cisse (Campbell, 77). Subs not used: Krul, Santon, Cabaye, S Taylor. LEAGUE CUP MAN UTD 2 NEWCASTLE 1 (Cisse)Elliot, Coloccini (Ferguson 61), Williamson, Perch, Tavernier, Gosling, Marveaux, Tioté (Bigirimana 71), Obertan, Vuckic (Cisse 81), Shola Ameobi. Subs not used: Harper, Anita, Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi. PRE-SEASON CARDIFF CITY 4 NEWCASTLE 1 (Shola Ameobi pen)Krul, Simpson, Coloccini (Williamson 46), Steven Taylor (Gosling 63), Santon, Obertan (Campbell 83), Tiote (Amalfitano 71) , Gutiérrez, Marveaux (Vuckic 46), R Taylor (Perch 28), Shola Ameobi. HARTLEPOOL 1 NEWCASTLE 5 (Shola Ameobi, Marveaux 2, Obertan, Vuckic)Harper (Alnwick 82), Simpson (Good 72), Tavernier, Williamson, S.Taylor (Vuckic 46), Perch (R.Taylor 72), Gosling, Amalfitano (Santon 80), Marveaux (Obertan 78), Sh.Ameobi (Ben Arfa 46), Bigirimana (Abeid 59). DEN HAAG 0 NEWCASTLE 0Krul; S Taylor (Gosling 65), R Taylor (Perch 71), Coloccini, Santon (Simpson 80); Obertan (Bigirimana 71), Tiote (Ameobi 71), Vuckic (Williamson 65), Gutierrez; Ba (Amalfitano 82), Cisse BRAGA 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ba, R Taylor)Harper; Simpson, Tavernier, Coloccini, R.Taylor; Sammy Ameobi (Obertan 88), Tiote (Cabaye 70), Gutierrez, Marveaux; Cisse, Ba (Vuckic 85). OLYMPIACOS 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (S Taylor)Krul, Perch, Williamson, S.Taylor (Dummett 46), Santon, Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 72), Bigirimana, Gosling (Abeid 36), Amalfitano, Vuckic, Shola Ameobi (Cisse 72). FENERBAHCE 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (Abeid)Elliot, Simpson (Santon 68), Tavernier, Coloccini, R Taylor, Tiote (Bigirimana 59), Gosling (Abeid 73), Obertan (Shola Ameobi 75), Marveuax (Gutierrez 59), Vuckic (Sammy Ameobi 46), Ba (Cisse 68). MONACO 0 NEWCASTLE 1 (Ba)Harper, Santon (Ryan Taylor 57), Simpson, Williamson (Perch 46), Gutierrez, Amalfitano (Obertan 62), Abeid (Tavernier 46), Bigirimana (Tiote 62), Sammy Ameobi (Vuckic 46), Shola Ameobi (Gosling 62), Ba (Marveaux 78) CHEMNITZER 1 NEWCASTLE 0Elliot; Tavernier (Simpson, 70), Williamson, Perch, R Taylor (Santon, 70); Obertan (Gutierrez, 77), Abeid (Bigirimana, 70), Gosling, Amalfitano; Vuckic (Shola Ameobi, 70), Sammy Ameobi (Ba, 77). Sub not used: Harper.
Source: Newcastle United Mad
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