All posts by Yacob

Mid-Season(ish) Report

Originally a forum thread by Yacob

We are 22 matches into the Premier League season (the Watford TFI results are not in as of writing) and there still a lot of unknowns surrounding us as a club. Is Steve McClaren the right man for the long term? Will Aleksandar Mitrović be a success? And will Rolando Aarons ever stay fit longer than two weeks?

It’s been a disappointing start to the season, but there have definitely been positives and if we look at this coaching set up as a long term strategy, we could accept a relegation fight this season for future successes. Although that is a huge if, given that McClaren hasn’t delivered stability since his days at Middlesbrough.

How have we fared?

We have been a lot worse than last season in the league, when we had 27 points at this stage, compared to the 21 we have now. We were safely positioned in mid table last season, while we are in the relegation zone currently. Although we are only six points behind last year’s tally, there are a lot fewer teams down the bottom of the table. At this time last year, six points separated 12th to 20th, compared to this year, when the gap is much larger, meaning that realistically only six teams are in the relegation battle.

In the cups, we have once again disappointed, despite the club stating that we would be targeting the competitions for success. A really disappointing defeat in the Capital One Cup to Sheffield Wednesday should have been avoided had we played a stronger side, while we had a narrow defeat to Watford in the FA Cup, which leaves the club extending their run without a trophy. Steve McClaren said that we will be better in the cups under him, and although it’s early days, the first impressions are not great.

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Preview: Watford vs Newcastle Utd – 23/01/16

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Yacob

We are facing Watford for the third time this season and we are yet to avoid defeat against the newly promoted side. They beat us 2-1 at St James’ Park thanks to a brace from Odion Ighalo, while a Troy Deeney strike was enough to knock us out of the FA Cup. It is a winnable fixture for us and we were arguably the better side in the FA Cup, but the lack of quality in front of goal (what else?) was to blame for our cup exit. If we play similarly this weekend, we will have a great chance of victory as Watford have looked poor lately, with Swansea easily beating them on Monday night. There is an outside chance that Watford could be dragged into the relegation fight, especially if we take the three points this weekend.

This week, we have failed to make any new signings, which the club was expecting. This leaves us with the same squad of players we had last week, but the injuries to Paul Dummett and Jack Colback leave us slightly short defensively. Left back has been a problematic position for the club this season, and with Haïdara, Dummett, Mbabu, Anita and Colback all unavailable, we will have to field a makeshift left back, with Janmaat, Lascelles, Aarons and Sterry all possible options for Steve McClaren. It would be a risk to move Janmaat across, considering he has been one of our best players at right back and he should probably continue there this weekend.

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Preview: Bournemouth vs Newcastle Utd – 07/11/15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Yacob

This weekend sees Newcastle travel to Premier League boys Bournemouth on the South Coast for what is an early six pointer. The gap between mid table and the bottom five is growing rapidly and neither side can afford to be cut adrift at this stage. Newcastle could get out of the relegation zone with a victory over the side that is directly above them and that could kickstart our season. 2015 has been a write off for Steve McClaren’s side, but a strong finish to the year could give us impetus to ensure next year is much much better.

Performances have been improved recently and we probably should have taken more points from the last five matches, but it’s starting to get past the point where playing well is enough. We need to start getting points on the board and this weekend is a great opportunity for that. Our opponents have only taken one point from the last five matches and have very little confidence, whereas ours is growing week by week.

“We have a tough away game. We have put ourselves in the position where this is an opportunity.”
– Steve McClaren

As usual, McClaren isn’t trying to build expectations too much ahead of this game, but he will know that he is running out of time and needs results to take a turn for the better. There is only so many times the board and the fans will accept that the team needs time to adjust. It’s clear that we are playing better than we have for a long time, but football is a results business and we desperately need points on the board.

Bournemouth are in 17th and we are in 18th position, which makes this a real opportunity for both to get points. I expect both sides to play within themselves for the majority of the game with defeat for either being a huge blow, even in November.

The home side are a new opposition for us, with the last time the clubs were in the same league being in the 1989/90 season and that was in division two. On that occasion, the sides had a victory apiece over the season, with both winning their home matches. Continue reading

Preview: Newcastle Utd vs West Brom – 09/05/15

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Yacob

After a week of frank dialogue and open letters, Newcastle continue their fight against relegation this weekend against West Brom. Although it’s difficult to call it a fight when almost nobody in the dressing room cares what division Newcastle will be playing in next season, but only how they can get out of the club which has once again become the joke of English football. There is only another 270 minutes of football left to endure this season, and they could be the most important in a long time as we are closer to relegation than we have ever been since 2009. We may have finished 16th in 2013, but I don’t think it ever got this bad in that season.

John Carver remains in charge, despite having a very… well, interesting week. After accusing Mike Williamson of getting sent off on purpose and agreeing with supporters that the performance at Leicester was spineless, there were rumours that the head coach had lost his job, but he has remained, despite the club contacting Steve McClaren, who turned the post down. It shows how bad that the situation has got when a manager who failed to take one of the Championship’s best squads to a play off place doesn’t want to touch us.

Moreover Carver suggested that he was the best coach in the league, which may have been an attempt to show that he still has faith in his own ability, but it was a very poorly advised comment to make considering he is on his way to becoming one of the worst managers in Premier League history. Continue reading

Leicester Fans’ Thoughts on the Match

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Yacob

I went over to the Foxes Talk forum to ask the questions, which were this week:

1 – Do you think that you will stay up this season? What about Newcastle?
2 – Nigel Pearson is a controversial character at times, do you like him? And has he done a good job this year?
3 – Will Pearson still be in charge next season regardless of whether you survive or not?
4 – If you could choose three teams to go down, who would it be?
5 – If you could have one football player, past or present, live in your spare room who would it be and why?
6 – Have you enjoyed your first season back in the top flight? Or is the Championship more entertaining?
7 – If your club was a fruit, what fruit would it be? And why would it be that fruit?
8 – If you do stay up, what do you need to do in the summer to ensure you aren’t involved in another relegation battle?
9 – What are your thoughts on Newcastle this season?
10 – Scoreline prediction?

MattP

1 – Do you think that you will stay up this season? What about Newcastle?
Yes think we’ll both stay up. Both have kind run ins, I’d fear for Newcastle if they were on 30 rather than 35 points though.

2 – Nigel Pearson is a controversial character at times, do you like him? And has he done a good job this year?
I love him and he’s done a tremendous job this season, we look like we’ll be the only one of the promoted sides to stay up and the way he’s kept the belief in the squad despite everything going against us has been incredible, they never gave up even when being three wins off 19th.

3 – Will Pearson still be in charge next season regardless of whether you survive or not?
Yes.

4 – If you could choose three teams to go down, who would it be?
QPR, Burnley, Sunderland.

5 – If you could have one football player, past or present, live in your spare room who would it be and why?
Alan Smith

6 – Have you enjoyed your first season back in the top flight? Or is the Championship more entertaining?
Yes, it has good and bad points. We’ve had some great moments.

7 – If your club was a fruit, what fruit would it be? And why would it be that fruit?
Tomato, we start to grow in the Spring.

8 – If you do stay up, what do you need to do in the summer to ensure you aren’t involved in another relegation battle?
Similar tactics to the last month or so, a couple more additions obviously.

9 – What are your thoughts on Newcastle this season?
Fans were overly harsh on Pardew and are stil underly harsh on Ashley, all the problems in that club are down to him and his attitude.

10 – Scoreline prediction?
2-0 Leicester

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