Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Stoke City – 31/10/15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

A traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off sees Stoke City seek to spook St James’, a ground that has historically haunted the Potters; they’ve only been treated to a single win in their last ten visits.

Newcastle come into this on the back of a horror show of a derby in which antagonist Robert Madley cruelly culled any hopes of victory, granting Sunderland a Tyne-Wear derby record six-in-a-row, and preventing escape from the depths of the relegation zone, for that week at least.

“You must always recover. We beat Norwich 6-2 and now we want to win against Stoke City. We’ve trained hard and worked hard.

“We have lost the derby, that’s the situation. We have to deal with it now.”
– Steve McClaren

We currently languish in 19th, two goal difference behind our rivals from Wearside, and two points adrift of the hallowed turf of 17th, currently occupied by Bournemouth. A win could take us as high as 16th, at least until Sunday when the three teams around us all play in separate fixtures.

Stoke endured two hours of defensive duties against Chelsea on Tuesday, eventually emerging victorious after the game went to penalties. Three days before they dominated possession, but not the scoreline against Watford, losing 0-2. Owing to a four match winning streak before this, they currently sit in the lofty heights of the lower mid-table in 14th.

“I thought they were the better team at Sunderland before the sending off. They will think they were hard done by and will want to put that right.

“Prior to that game, their last one at St James’ Park, they had a big win [6-2 over Norwich City] and they will still be buoyed by that victory.”
– Mark Hughes

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TFI – Player Ratings vs Sunderland – 25 Oct 15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

A derby dominated by the losing side, who were only outperformed by a referee apparently so incompetent that he might as well have been wearing red and white. On the stroke of half-time Coloccini touched shoulders with Fletcher in the box, resulting in a penalty and a red card, which has since been rescinded to undo a tiny bit of the damage caused by the erroneous decision. The second half was played 10 vs 12, and although we again controlled the game we could not convert that into goals, however the hosts would get a goal from a well worked corner, and then a third on the counter as we committed to chasing the game.

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.

Man of the match goes to Sissoko, who continued his run of form by repeatedly and effectively taking the ball and running at the opposition to keep pressure up and create chances, earning a 6.50. Mug of the match surprisingly does not go to Coloccini (3.44), who came in for a lot of criticism for his decision to attempt a challenge of that nature in that situation, even though he has since been vindicated. Instead not-quite-so-super sub Thauvin takes the honour thanks to his inability to conjure up anything worthwhile in his time on the pitch this time out earning him a 3.06.

Owing to the strength of our performance, even in the face of these uncontrollable factors, McClaren takes the top rating of the day with a 7.06. The tactics and line-up continue to please the fans, but more importantly we didn’t try to minimise damages once a win started to look less likely, even at two goals and a man down we continued to go for the points, actually putting up a fight in the derby. It’s just a shame that the first half ended how it did.
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Preview: Sunderland vs Newcastle Utd – 25/10/15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

Sunday’s noon kick-off sees McClaren lead his rejuvenated side to the Stadium of Light for his first Tyne-Wear derby, in what is perhaps the most important north-east derby in a long time.

Both teams are currently in the relegation zone after nine games; Sunderland prop up the table with just three points, Newcastle are slightly better off in 18th with six. We can escape the relegation zone with a win, taking us above Bournemouth (who play Spurs immediately after) and onto equal points with Norwich, but above them on goal difference.

From the 18 games played between the two sides, they have a combined record of one win, six draws, and eleven losses. That single win, and nearly a third of the goals scored, came in last week’s trouncing of Norwich, as Newcastle finally decided to get their season under way… Hopefully. Continue reading

TFI – Player Ratings vs Norwich City – 18 Oct 15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

An initially nervy, back and forth game that ran out of control in the second half as our wingers combined to score at will and to seal a vital three points, while negating some of the goal difference deficit left from the drubbing against Man City.

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.

Unsurprisingly, man of the match goes to the man with four goals and a goal line clearance. Georginio Wijnaldum earns a 9.67 for his incredible performance, the only blemish being a lack of tracking back for the second Norwich goal.

Cheick Tioté acquires the mug of the match on his apparently premature return to the starting eleven, his lack of fitness somewhat hindering his ability the dominate the middle and earning him our only sub-baseline rating with a 4.97, along with a silly yellow early on.

The team, of course, reached it’s season so far record average rating in this one, all in earning a 6.63, dragged down slightly by the back four and the central midfielders. Steve McClaren also hit a high in this one, his 7.88 beating out the 7.67 from the Northampton game in the League Cup. Criticism was aimed at our defensive frailty and playing Tioté over Anita.

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Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Norwich City – 18/10/15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by TJR

Today we welcome another relegation rival to Gallowgate. Watford’s visit to St James’ Park last month was the last time we had a ‘must win’ game. We lost that day. Hopefully we’ll do better this time out though I must say I’m expecting the worst.

Having lost 6-1 last time out we head into this game thinking “can it possibly get any worse?” With this squad it probably can. Any sort of defeat today would be worse. Hopefully though it’ll be ninth time lucky and we’ll get our first win of the season.

The Premier League table isn’t pleasant viewing. We are rooted firmly to the bottom and even a win today would see us remain in the bottom three. That’s how far adrift we are already.

Before the season started Norwich were one of the favourites for relegation however they’ve had a fairly good start and are one of the teams pulling away from us, the mackems and Villa. We are five points behind Bournemouth who are 17th, and six points behind today’s opponents Norwich in 15th. Even at this early stage in the season this game is shaping up to be a relegation six-pointer. It’s vital we win, especially since we are at home. Hopefully we can shake off the losing culture that seems to be instilled in the club and actually win a game of football.

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