Preview – Fulham FC vs Newcastle Utd – 05/08/2016

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Colback’s Orange Tufts

Hello and welcome all to the first preview of the new season, and what a season it promises to be. After such a bad time in every aspect last year, the arrival of Rafa Benitez has brought unfamiliar optimism. Utilizing his reputation and strong character, not to forget Newcastle’s desperation, Rafa has pulled apart a failed business model of tight purse strings, low aspiration and speculative investments in unproven, young players. In its place a more singular, focused and inspiring pattern is emerging. Whilst it would be human nature may be tempting to look at our 09/10 total of 102 point and say we’ll beat it, if any club can fail from a position of such strength, it would be NUFC.

We kick the season off on Friday with a trip to Craven Cottage, the site of five consecutive losses in the league for Newcastle. Our last game in 2014 saw a struggling Fulham gain a vital 1-0 win for their ultimately fruitless survival bid, whilst Alan Pardew served the first of a three game ban for headbutting David Meyler. The last Newcastle win at the Cottage came in 2007, a poor quality match with a last minute Joey Barton penalty temporarily easing the pressure on Sam Allardyce.

The players are working very hard and they are ready. We know the Championship is very difficult but we have the hope and belief that we can do well. We have a lot of respect for Fulham. They beat Crystal Palace 3-1 and have a good manager. It will not be an easy game.
Rafa Benitez

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Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Tottenham Hotspur – 15/05/16

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cisse’s Overheating Torso

This Sunday sees Newcastle’s last game in the Premier League for at least a season, if not longer and an opportunity to make an updated version of this montage:

We face a Spurs side second in the table, needing a draw to all but seal second place and finishing above rivals Arsenal for the first time since 1995. Spurs have had a great league season, improving from 5th last year and with the best defence. The club and the squad give the impression of everyone working together well, the polar opposite of the ongoing calamities at SJP.

Our home record against Spurs is not stellar, having won one and lost two of the last five. Seemingly, we do our best work at White Heart Lane, with our third win on the bounce only one of 2 away wins this season (why are we going down again?).

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Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Sunderland – 20/03/16

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Cal

Perhaps the most important Tyne-Wear derby of all-time takes place at St James’ this Sunday; a relegation battle six-pointer between the sides in 18th and 19th as we enter the final stretch of the season.

Following an encouraging performance against league leaders Leicester days after taking over, Rafa Benítez will be hoping to take part in the recent trend of newly appointed managers getting a Tyne-Wear derby win in their second game. We’ve not been victorious in a derby since August 2011, and Sunderland have won the last six.

“I am sure that we can win this game and that will give the players belief going forward into the next games. Every game is different and a derby is a derby, so anything can happen. The players know this but they also know how important it is that we win.

“The main thing now is that they stick together. They are committed and working very hard to try and understand our ideas of what we want to do. They are trying their best and that is the main reason why I’m so positive.”
– Rafa Benítez

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Preview: Newcastle Utd vs Bournemouth – 05/03/16

Click here to go to the discussion thread by TJR

A traditional 3pm Saturday kick off sees Newcastle United playing host to Bournemouth in the latest instalment of the 15/16 Premier League season. This is the second meeting of the two sides this season, the previous being a 1-0 win for the then visitors at the Vitality Stadium down on the South Coast back in November. Ayoze Perez got the goal that day, though it is probably fair to say Bournemouth were unlucky not to have got anything from that game, largely down to some fantastic goalkeeping from Rob Elliot.

The 1-0 win at Bournemouth in November was the Magpies’ first victory on the road this campaign. Fast forward to March and we’re now up to two away wins, in fact Newcastle have played 14 away games so far this season, winning two, drawing one and losing 11. Seven points from a possible 42, scoring just seven goals and conceding 32 in the process. As shocking as those statistics are Steve McClaren will be thankful that this fixture is at St James’ Park and not away from home.

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TFI – Player Ratings vs Watford – 23 Jan 16

Click here to go to the discussion thread by Beatski

Watford were on a woeful ruin of form leading up to this match, so in classic Newcastle style we helped them out by being rubbish and playing in an unfamiliar style, with McClaren opting to play some sort of 3-4-3; three at the back being a strategy that has never paid dividends for us. The team looked disjointed and unsure of their roles for a lot of the match.

The first half was a scrappy affair, with neither team really taking a hold of the game and playing decent football, and there were few clear cut chances as a result, the best of which fell to Mitrović, who probably should have scored but instead drew a good save from Gomes. Almost instantly after the break, Ighalo was put through one on one with the keeper and calmly rounded Elliot to put the hosts in front, replays showed that he was offside but that’s the kind of call we just haven’t been getting this season. 12 minutes later, after giving away a needless foul on the edge of the box, failure to clear our lines resulted in the ball falling kindly at the feet of Cathcart, who couldn’t miss from six yards out.

Lascelles halved the deficit on 21 minutes with a powerful header from Shelvey’s corner to put us back in the game. As we chased a point, Ayoze, followed by Gouffran and then Rivière, all had clear headed chances to salvage something for us, but every attempt was put massively wide of the goal.

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.

Jamaal Lascelles picks up his first Man of the Match award for us with a score of 5.80, not a particularly high score and no-one thought he had a particularly good game either, but when the rest of the team doesn’t actually do anything much it seems a goal is going to put you above the rest. Despite getting MotM in his first PL start, I doubt many fans will be clamoring to see more of him in the starting lineup in the near future. Rolando Aarons (3.70) picked up our Mug of the Match award, but its hard to blame him when he was played out of position in a formation our entire team was unfamiliar with, the side as a whole averaged 4.81.

Our perhaps you could consider our manager the real mug of the match, as fans rated him a lowly 2.70. Fans hanging a lot of the blame on him as he changed to playing three at the back, due to our squad not having a fit left back. Of course not having a player accustomed to playing left wing back either never crossed his mind, so instead of playing a one player out of position in a back four we had half the team in unfamiliar roles. That its the second time we’ve played a back three against Watford and lost makes it all the more inexplicable.

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