Preview: Southampton vs Newcastle Utd – 29/03/14

Match preview by Yacob, click here to go the our match discussion thread

Who needs Wembley? This weekend sees us travel down to the South Coast to play our ‘cup final’. However if we win, we won’t get a trophy or European qualification, we get the satisfaction of finishing in 8th place in the Premier League. In fact, we don’t even get that as Southampton could still overtake us during the remaining six matches, so this match really isn’t the ‘cup final’ that Alan Pardew and John Carver are suggesting.

We were awful on Tuesday night as we saw how far ahead Everton were in front of us, which is a worry considering we were streets ahead of them during the 2011/12 season. It’s incredible how far we have fallen in two years and most of the blame has to fall at the feet of Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew. The team should have received more investment over the past two windows, however the set of players at the club should be performing at a better, more consistent level, therefore Pardew also has to take some of the blame for our current woes on the pitch.

In reality, the poor performance on Tuesday should not be repeated this weekend, as the players will want to improve considerably, however the team have been shocking for the past three matches, so Saturday will probably be another frustrating day as a Newcastle fan.

Alan Pardew will be back in the stadium after serving his three game stadium ban, however he will now serve a four game touchline ban. This will mean his participation will still be limited as he can’t take his place on the touchline, but he can take pre-match, half time and post-match team talks. He will also have a better view of the game as he won’t be restricted to watching on television. Although people are talking about Pardew’s return to the stadium being a positive, I doubt it will have much of an impact.

We are currently one point above Southampton in 8th place, but they are far more consistent than we are, and we will have to improve massively to ensure we stay above them. They have a few injury concerns, however their side isn’t reliant on individuals like ours, so it will be a tough game regardless of the side they play. All of their players know their role in the team’s philosophy. The Saints have received a lot of praise for their style of play and academy this season, but they have a precarious summer now they are without Nicola Cortese. There are fears that the likes of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin will leave in the summer, as some people doubt Liebherr’s ambitions for the club.

Since their return to the Premier League, we have had mixed fortunes against Southampton. We have won one, drew one and lost one. In the corresponding fixture last season, Southampton came out on top winning the game 2-0 with goals from Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez. The home side were engaged in a relegation battle at the time and we will be facing a completely different team this weekend. In the previous meeting this season, we drew 1-1 with Yoan Gouffran opening the scoring, before Jay Rodriguez equalised. Continue reading

Southampton Fans’ Thoughts Ahead of the Match

Originally a forum post by Yacob, click to read/comment

There aren’t many good Southampton forums, so I headed back to not606 to ask the questions. The questions were:

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
2 – How has Southampton’s season gone so far? Happy?
3 – Who has been the biggest surprise this season for Southampton? Who has disappointed?
4 – Now Cortese has left, are you worried about the ambition of the club? Could a few leave in the summer?
5 – Which players do you see being key for both sides?
6 – Where do you think Southampton will finish now?
7 – Where do you think Newcastle will finish now?
8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
9 – Scoreline prediction?
10 – If your football club was a vegetable, what vegetable would it be?

Hermes Bingberg

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
If Schneiderlin is fit, put him in our previous lineup in place of Ward-Prowse and that’s probably it.

2 – How has Southampton’s season gone so far? Happy?
Great start, okay since. A top half finish was the best we could reasonably hope for at the beginning of the season.

3 – Who has been the biggest surprise this season for Southampton? Who has disappointed?
The centre backs Lovren and Fonte have been magnificent and I don’t think anyone expected Chambers to get up to this level so quickly. Osvaldo was disappointing, not on the pitch as much as off it.

4 – Now Cortese has left, are you worried about the ambition of the club? Could a few leave in the summer?
Katharina has surprised me with her ambition. While Cortese was here we didn’t even know who she was and didn’t expect her to care about what was her father’s hobby basically. Krueger seems smart and sensible and we appear to be proceeding with the same ambition as before. There will be interest in Shaw, Lallana, Schneiderlin and probably others, but we’ll hold on as tight as we can.

5 – Which players do you see being key for both sides?
Lallana for us and whoever is tasked with dealing with him for you.

6 – Where do you think Southampton will finish now?
8th.

7 – Where do you think Newcastle will finish now?
9th.

8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
Top six as it is. Fulham, Cardiff and West Brom go down.

9 – Scoreline prediction?
2-0.

10 – If your football club was a vegetable, what vegetable would it be?
Parsnip. I dunno why.

Continue reading

Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Everton – 25/03/14

Match preview by Cal, click here to go the our match discussion thread

Tuesday evening sees the previously postponed arrival of Everton at St James’ Park in what will be the third and final match of Pardew’s stadium ban, with four matches in the stands following that. In his absence, John Carver faces the sternest test yet of his 100% record in charge of Newcastle United at St James’ Park over the last nine and a half years (P2, W2).

The visitors currently sit sixth in the table, two games in hand over, and two points short of, Spurs in fifth. For most of 2014 the Toffees have maintained a five to eight point lead (currently the latter, with a game in hand) over the Magpies as they continue to be the best of the rest and look set to qualify for the Europa League, and could perhaps even push for a Champions League place should Arsenal continue to falter.

Both clubs’ recent form is fairly similar in terms of results, with Newcastle winning three and losing three from their last six, while Everton notched up an extra win from the same number of games. Both teams lost to those above them in the table, with Newcastle’s loss to Fulham the only exception to beating opponents below them.

In their respective games on Saturday each team was victorious, although in differing manners. Newcastle dominated possession and created chance after chance against a Palace side insistent on parking the bus, finally breaking the deadlock with yet another injury time special from Papiss Cissé. This was the striker’s first goal from open play in nearly a year, the previous being his goal against Fulham, which coincidentally was also a 94th minute winner. Meanwhile Everton ceded control of the game to their visitors, Swansea City, who gifted the hosts the game courtesy of some poor decisions by Chico Flores. Continue reading

Everton Fans’ Thoughts Ahead of the Match

Originally a forum post by Yacob, click to read/comment

This week I headed over to the GrandOldTeam forum to ask the questions and we received a lot of responses. Anyway here are the questions I asked them:

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
2 – How has Everton’s season gone so far? Happy?
3 – Who has been the biggest surprise this season for Everton? Who has disappointed?
4 – How good is Ross Barkley? Should he go to Brazil? And start?
5 – Which players do you see being key for both sides?
6 – Where do you think Everton will finish now?
7 – Where do you think Newcastle will finish now?
8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
9 – Scoreline prediction?
10 – If your football club was a vegetable, what vegetable would it be?

MartSlinger

1 – How do you think you’ll line up?
Howard; Coleman Jagielka Distin Baines; McCarthy Barry; McGeady Barkley Mirallas; Lukaku

2 – How has Everton’s season gone so far? Happy?
Very. If you told me that European Football was a very high possibility whilst playing a completely different style of football at the beginning of the season i would have laughed tbh. With 5th seemingly in our control you cant even say its a bad season, whoever does is an idiot.

3 – Who has been the biggest surprise this season for Everton? Who has disappointed?
The surprise for is John Stones. Whilst i knew he was good, i didn’t think he’d be THIS good if you get me. Only going to get better as well. The disappointment has to be Mirallas. At the beginning of the season i expected him to flourish under Roberto, hasn’t happened. Despite having 9 assists and 5 goals, i haven’t been overly impressed with him.

4 – How good is Ross Barkley? Should he go to Brazil? And start?
Very good. Very, very good. Frightening how good he is for a 20yr old. Should he go to Brazil? Yes, he’s outperformed most of the other midfielders such as; Wilshere, Cleverley, Carrick etc. But i dont think he should start. IMO, i dont even trust Roy to use him the way he should be used.

5 – Which players do you see being key for both sides?
Everton: Baines/Coleman, Lukaku, Barkley and Barry
Newcastle: Your CB’s, especially after what Lukaku did to them at Goodison.

6 – Where do you think Everton will finish now?
5th.

7 – Where do you think Newcastle will finish now?
9th.

8 – Who will finish in the top six? Who will go down?
Top 6: Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, United.
Relegation: Fulham, Cardiff, West Brom.

9 – Scoreline prediction?
Newcastle 1 – 2 Everton.

10 – If your football club was a vegetable, what vegetable would it be?
No idea hahaha!

Continue reading

Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Crystal Palace – 22/03/14

Match preview by Kingo, click here to go the our match discussion thread

Welcome, this Saturday 22nd March 2014 sees Crystal Palace make a long journey north to face Newcastle United for a 15:00 KO at St James’ Park.

Newcastle surely go into this match as favourites with them being 15 points ahead of Palace in the league and, despite a loss to Fulham last weekend, the Toon are in relatively good form. As for Palace, with no wins in their last 4 games their fans surely have to be worried about the drop with the team only hovering out of the relegation zone by 3 points.

Newcastle once again rely on John Carver for the touchline tactics as well as the team talks as Alan Pardew sits out on the second of his 3 match stadium ban. Carver will be hoping for a better performance than the one his players put out against Fulham last weekend when none of them stood out and all came under criticism.

Players who will definitely are missing the fixture for Newcastle are top scorer Loïc Rémy (calf) and Davide Santon (tonsillitis). However the enigma that is Hatem Ben Arfa returns, as does Sammy Ameobi.

The return of Ben Arfa will be of importance to the fans (including myself) who believe he will be able to add the creativity sorely lack with Remy missing and obviously having not replaced our former playmaker, Cabaye. I believe he will be able to provide greater support to the striker(s) and provide great link up play between the midfield and the forward line, though in true Pardew fashion he hasn’t been guaranteed a start and I for one don’t expect him to be given one.

The next dilemma Newcastle face is what tactics they will be using upfront; will be a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 with two wingers and a striker as we tended to play earlier in the season, or a standard 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 as we’ve primarily played since de Jong joined the club? I expect it to be latter with Cissé and de Jong up top, but I would like to see a Gouffran and de Jong partnership given a chance should we go with this set-up.

Overall I think this match will be a tough one for Newcastle if they don’t impose themselves early on in the match, we know that Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis will set his side up to be physical and aggressive, and if we let them grow into the match I believe we will face serious problems. The match in general won’t be one for the neutrals it will be scrappy with not a lot of great passing and penetration but I have hope in Newcastle and will predict a 3-1 home win for Newcastle. Continue reading