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Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Arsenal – 29/08/15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

A second early Saturday kick-off in a row, this time Newcastle face a so far sub-par Arsenal at St James’ Park.

Both sides earned hard-fought goalless draws in their last league outings; each of their keepers making an impressive eight saves. Although at the other end the parallels end, as Arsenal peppered the Liverpool goal with 19 shots and had a goal disallowed, meanwhile Newcastle barely managed seven and it was their opponents who were the ones with the written off goal.

History doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the home side, we’ve on a seven match losing streak against Arsenal, and haven’t defeated them at St James’ in a decade. The last time we earned a point against the Gunners was a certain 4-4 draw back in 2011, three players who played that day remain at the club; captain Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, and Cheick Tioté, and another two were unused subs; Tim Krul and Shane Ferguson (currently on loan to Millwall).

Perhaps that day is still fresh in Wenger’s mind, although going 4-0 up by half-time wasn’t quite enough on that occasion:

“We want to do well at Newcastle but it’s always very, very, very tight and very committed there because the crowd is always behind their team. They have just come out from a good result at Manchester United so it’s important that we prepare well and we give absolutely everything to win this game before the break.”
– Arsene Wenger

Steve McClaren will be doing his best to prevent Arsenal’s attempts to bombard the Newcastle goal, aiming to emulate the defensive performance from the Manchester United draw, but hopefully with more luck at the other end.

“We defended very well at Old Trafford. To beat any team, especially the top few teams, you have to defend well, defend as a team and be compact. We will need to repeat that against Arsenal but be better on the ball, especially as it’s a home game. At home you need to keep the ball. With a sell-out crowd behind us, hopefully we’ll make it difficult for Arsenal.”
– Steve McClaren

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tfimnuncl

TFI – Player Ratings vs Manchester Utd – 22 Aug 15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

Bouncing back from a disappointing defeat, McClaren’s Magpies earned a second encouraging draw of the season, this time keeping a clean sheet at Old Trafford, threatening to steal a win on occasion.

For the TFI, we ask our forum members to rate each player’s performance in the concerned game out of 10, which we then average out to get a rating representative of the fans’ views, we also collect a few user comments to summarise how the player did and show a few different viewpoints from the board. The top scoring player is man of the match; the lowest is mug of the match.

As you might expect in a game of this nature, the back five were given a lot of credit for their performances and role in keeping us in the game. Coloccini returned to his form of old, leading the way to a man of the match award with an 8.39. Taylor, who accompanied Coloccini at centre-back as Mbemba was shifted over to accommodate for Janmaat’s idiocy, also impressed, scoring 7.45. Krul made a number of good saves, although as always his distribution disappointed, to get a 7.48. The full-backs didn’t impress quite as much, but still earned respectable scores of 6.98 (Mbemba) and 6.57 (Haïdara).

At the other end of the scale we have the match’s two disappointments. Obertan (4.89) failed to find the usual spark that he displays twice a season against his former club, and was noted to have left his full-back vulnerable too often. Colback (4.84) was the poorer half of an overrun deep central midfield pairing, earning mug of the match in particular for losing the ball in dangerous situations a couple of times.

The team averaged an impressive 6.61, while McClaren’s ability to get the team to defend cohesively with occasional forays on the counter earned a 7.50, both ratings decent improvements on the opening day’s 6.25 and 7.21 respectively.

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lcnclnor

Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Northampton Town – 25/08/15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

Tuesday evening sees Steve McClaren’s Newcastle side make their first foray into cup competition under his supervision. This League Cup clash against League Two’s Northampton Town must be settled on the night, going to extra time and penalties as required.

Sandwiched between matches against Manchester United and Arsenal, it would be no surprise to see a weakened side on display for this one.

Daryl Janmaat is back from suspension for his idiotic double yellow against Swansea. Emmanuel Rivière is definitely are out of contention, while Paul Dummett and Moussa Sissoko are also expected to miss out.

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mnuncl

Preview: Manchester Utd vs Newcastle Utd – 22/08/15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by magonmersey

This coming Saturday Newcastle travel to Old Trafford for a 12:45 kick-off, showing live on BT Sport 1 with the impartial, lively and insightful analysis of Michael Owen.

The corresponding fixture last season was a 3-1 win to the home side, goals from Rooney (2) and Van Persie easily won the game before a late consolation penalty. Losses at Old Trafford are frequent for the Magpies, with the Newcastle’s December 2013 the first (and last) since 1972. Later in last season, a late Ashley Young goal snuck a away victory in a poor game.

Our opponents come into this game on the back of a winning three game steak this season. Hard fought, aesthetically challenging wins versus Villa and Spurs sandwich a comfortable 3-1 win in the Champions League. Questions remain about their relative paucity in the striking position, no new centre back and this transfer window’s tedious Real Madrid signing story. Their new signings in midfield seems to have slotted in well though.

As for Newcastle, an encouraging start against Southampton was mediated by conceding two poor goals. This was followed by a poor day in South Wales, with defeat looking likely before Janmaat’s sending off.

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tfiswancl

TFI – Player Ratings vs Swansea City – 15 Aug 15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

A disappointing and disheartening defeat which did plenty to dampen any optimism the opening day had generated. We conceded in the first ten minutes, and then as we were threatening to get back in it, a needless second yellow for Janmaat halted any forward momentum and put the team into damage control mode.

For the TFI, we ask our forum members to rate each player’s performance in the concerned game out of 10, which we then average out to get a rating representative of the fans’ views, we also collect a few user comments to summarise how the player did and show a few different viewpoints from the board. The top scoring player is man of the match; the lowest is mug of the match.

After our impressive opening day performance earned a 6.25 team average, this game swung the other way to a lowly 4.62. Only three players came out of the match with any semblance of credit; Moussa Sissoko (5.64), Vurnon Anita (5.71), and the man of the match, Chancel Mbemba, whose impressive defensive display, aside from one big mistake, earned him a fairly decent 5.93, especially for playing in a defence that conceded three.

Mug of the match goes to Daryl Janmaat, who could do pretty much nothing right in his 40 minutes on the pitch and earned a 2.29. The Dutchman was the one who played Bafetimbi Gomis onside for the opener, and was repeatedly and thoroughly beaten by the pace of Jefferson Montero, resulting in a number of reckless challenges and a couple of shirt tugs, leading to two yellow cards and an early bath before half-time.

Steve McClaren was rated a fairly average 5.43. While some fans criticised his decision to go strikerless and to park the bus for a good chunk of the second half, it was recognised that he was in an unwinnable position with ten men away against a strong Swansea side.

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