Category Archives: Opinion Pieces

Has McClaren Got Full Control of the Dressing Room?

Originally a forum thread by Heisen

A number of issues have cropped up that has made me wonder this. Firstly, you look at our squad, we currently have three key players who have made it known recently their eyes are set elsewhere.

Moussa Sissoko – every interview the man gives, he spouts about wanting to be playing CL football, despite his performances by and large being closer to Championship standard than Champions League.

Papiss Cisse – I think it’s clear to all and sundry that he isn’t happy. Reports he’s been late for training, missed meetings with the management etc. His performances have been lethargic to say the least.

Fabricio Coloccini – signed a new deal in the summer but spent most of it being linked with Palace. Hasn’t looked settled here in almost three years yet has unbelievably retained the armband despite declining performances and a lack of leadership ability.

Yet they all seem undroppable. Coloccini understandably has to play given our lack of options at CB, yet Sissoko and Cisse somehow retained their places yesterday despite putting in appalling performances against West Ham. Continue reading

We’ve got a team of losers

Originally a forum thread by Goat

Literally speaking, but also metaphorically as well.

The more I think about our team, the more it seems that we have a team which has a deep rooted lack of fighting spirit and, to a degree, quality.

The mental side of the game is arguably the single greatest controlling factor on a player’s performance. You can have all of the skill in the world, but you’re shit if you don’t apply it. Just look at the countless smaller teams who have had surprise results against much better sides in the league and in cup runs. Simply wanting it more and turning the underdog status into a strength has a profound effect.

Perhaps we were foolish to think that a few good signings might turn things around. Even with the likes of Mbemba and Wijnaldum on board, we’ve still got a spine in the team which consists of players who crumbled last season and simply gave up.

Coloccini, Haidara, Colback, Anita, Sissoko, Cisse, Obertan, Gouffran. So on and so forth. They’re all still here, and merely a few months ago, they were all part of a team which had gave up hope and repeatedly collapsed under pressure. A new manager and new players don’t suddenly change the mindset and fighting spirit these players have. Continue reading

Newcastle’s Relegation Battle

Originally a forum thread by Cal

So I guess what most of us feared could happen is finally on the verge of becoming a reality.

The table as of 02 May 15:

14 Aston Villa 35 9 8 18 29 50 -21 35
15 Newcastle Utd 35 9 8 18 36 60 -24 35
16 Hull City 34 8 10 16 32 45 -13 34
17 Leicester 35 9 7 19 39 54 -15 34
18 Sunderland 34 6 15 13 28 50 -22 33
19 QPR 35 7 6 22 39 61 -22 27
20 Burnley 35 5 11 19 26 53 -27 26

We’re currently two points above the drop, and have the second worst goal difference, with only bottom of the the table Burnley having a greater deficit. Hull and Sunderland have games in hand over us; Hull vs Arsenal this Monday, and Arsenal vs Sunderland on Wednesday 20th May.

Let’s have a look at the run-ins… Continue reading

I think we need some perspective on the club’s situation

Originally a forum thread by Goat

I’ll probably get flamed to death for this, but here we go.

I think some folk are getting a little too paranoid about the club at the moment, which obviously will not be helped by the bad results.

If we take a step back, there’s nothing to indicate that Carver is keeping the job other than some Twitter rumours, which as we all know, can’t be trusted. His win percentage is abysmal, he’s nearly getting us relegated, and he’s a definite downgrade on Pardew, so it’s unlikely really.

As I’ve said before, Hughton was sacked for Pardew because the board wanted a better manager with a better track record to take us forward, so there’s an indication there that they do care about the quality of our manager.

It also makes business sense to hire someone who will take us further up the table and grab the extra £750,000 per position increase. The club would make far more money doing that than saving a few quid on a manager’s wages, and it would considerably help to avoid the catastrophic impact of relegation. Continue reading

A look at NUFC’s lack of attacking movement

Originally a forum thread by TommyToonAA

I’m going to preface this by saying that Pardew needed to go and I’m very glad he did. However, that change won’t mean anything unless the coaching staff are changed too in my opinion.

I went back and quickly re-watched elements of yesterday’s game, focusing mainly on the first half as I feel that will show how the coaching staff set us up to play. Subs and reactions to the opponents in the second half always break the flow of the game up and make it much harder to identify a gameplan.

We were so static as an attacking unit that it actually shocked me how many times the camera would zoom in, then pan back out and the players were within the same 3 yard area making it nice and easy to be marked.

I’ve picked out 3 snapshots that underline exactly what I think is wrong and why I think our coaches are out of their depth with this group of players, and why the formation of 4231 doesn’t seem to be working (although I actually think it’s perfectly suited to us if used correctly).

It’s all to do with lack of movement and lack of runners going past Pérez… It’s no coincidence that one of the few times in the game an attacking midfielder ran past him was when we scored. Continue reading