Did you ever have that situation where you were complaining on something even though it wasn't really that bad, and then the very next day something occurred that was an even worse version of the same situation? Well-- Wednesday, I'm sorry. The Thursday news is really basically non-existent. That's fine, though. The Chelsea preview is up, Keep Your Enemies Closer is coming, and there are a number of other entertainments that will doubtlessly find their way across the site between here and there. So, here is the "excuse me" version of links for today.
So Now The Media Wants Everyone To Quote On Newcastle
So Joey Barton opened his mouth on the Newcastle regime... and doubtlessly this non-story is born of that. I don't include it because there is any substance to the story at all... but because one of the other versions of the story that I found yesterday was titled "Nolan - I Don't Miss The Toon" or something similar. Even though Nolan never says that. I was all prepared to charge over here and drop a quick indignant "You Keep Our Name Out Of Your Mouth" post before I read the story to determine that Nolan really didn't say that. I know that's the danger of the tabloids and it won't change... but really?
Newcastle Is Awesome, Loves Football
"It’s not just the history of the game but the iconic nature of the people who have played football in this city. "I have seen Olympic engagement at a local level. I’ve seen extraordinary engagement in a number of ways. Look at local schools, local businesses that have won contracts off the back of the games." When asked if he was confident they could fill St James’ Park, Lord Coe said: "Yes, I’m confident, given the contribution this city has made to domestic and international football. "Virtually every young person I spoke to this morning, many come to St James’ Park week-in-week-out. Many have seen European games here. One girl was telling me she’d been coming to the stadium since she was three.
Lord Coe is a big fan of football culture in Newcastle, the history of football in Newcastle and St. James' Park. Why wouldn't he be?
Newcastle On Chelsea
"It was important to play higher up the pitch and I think we did well. Against Chelsea, we have to play like we did at Old Trafford. "We have to believe in ourselves, it's important to win the game. "We've got to play like the winning team. We will be at home so we have to play like a top-of-the-league team to win this match."
It is not really surprising that there would be a call to play "higher up the pitch" on defense this weekend. Personally I would rather ride the line between playing higher and pressuring the ball the way we did early in Manchester last weekend. As Robert pointed out in his player ratings:
Coloccini was once again all over the place and was even able to rip off a hard shot straight at David De Gea. His Achilles' Heel has always been the ball over the top, and whenever Alan Pardew employs a high line like he did this week, opponents are going to try to exploit that. Javier Hernandez was able to get behind the defense a number of times, but Colo was quick to recover on most occasions.
We were playing with fire with those balls over the top last weekend, and although it seems Chelsea are a little less likely to take that direct a route, we're still going to have to tread carefully. The blueprint is out there.
"If we win (against Chelsea), then people start raising eyebrows, but we just continue taking each game as it comes," said Guthrie. "As I say, we’re there on merit. We’ve been brilliant this season, losing one league game, and our defensive record speaks four itself. That’s the basis of what we’re doing, so long may it continue."
The defense has been solid... but eventually we're going to run into a match that hustle to recover is not going to be enough to keep the opposition out of the net if we don't tighten a couple of things up. Our defensive style certainly contributes to it some, but generally speaking, other teams have been a bit wasteful from the chances they do create.
"Alan wasn't everyone's first choice and Chris Hughton was very popular. I felt really sorry for him when he lost his job. "I wondered what they were doing and thought it was a really strange decision. "Then it was 'Why Alan?'. But to be fair, from the first he day he came in he talked well and said what he wanted to do. Now he has won everyone over."
I suppose that AP is the kind of I told you so that keeps us honest as supporters... at least feeds us a little perspective. I don' think that there was a single person that was praising this move back in January. As a matter of fact, I think that this pretty much summed it up for everyone.
What a difference one defeat in 13 to start a season makes.