Good Morning! Friday starts the (holiday) weekend! If I can presume to speak for Robert, Reno and John, we here at Coming Home Newcastle hope that you all have a tremendously enjoyable weekend! It's been a fairly busy week for news, and today is no different. No new transfer target news, but plenty of current squad reports. If you're not aware, there are a couple of news items that did not make the cut because I am trying to cut down links to 4-sentence pieces:
- Yohan Cabaye will be back in the starting lineup for Bolton
- Fabricio Coloccini has 4 yellow cards after his "holy crap that dude is fast and all I can do is tackle him from behind to stop this attack!" yellow card v. WBA. If he gets another,he'll serve a suspension, and we don't have depth at the center back position (condensing several story lines here for entertainment's sake)
So- in case you need to get out shopping or something similar, I skip to the links!
Sunderland are higher than Newcastle in one table (Congratulations, scum!)
A total of 3,089 English and Welsh fans were arrested at international and domestic games in 2010/11, down 302 from the previous season - the lowest since records began in 1984/5. Manchester United had the most arrests, 275, though their average attendance is 75,109. Leeds United were next with 149 arrests, from an average home gate of 39,460. Sunderland were next with 126 arrests (average gate 40,011), followed by Newcastle with 123 (average 47,717) and Manchester City with 108 (average 45,880).
About a week ago, we revisited a #MoralHighHorse post from our sister SBN blog The Roker Report in which they asserted that Newcastle United as a club and as supporters endorsed a criminal culture by persisting in supporting players like Joey Barton. The revisiting of this discussion was precipitated by Niklas Bendtner and Lee Cattermole's criminal tour through Newcastle. Bendtner and Cattermole have since been restored immediately to the starting lineup, and despite averaging nearly 8,000 fewer in attendance per home match, they have managed to out-perform Newcastle in terms of arrests at matches. Congratulations, Sunderland!
Let's Talk About Newcastle!
"The big question mark is over the depth of Newcastle’s squad," Stelling concedes. "Alan Pardew will know it’s not deep enough to finish in the top four, but at the start of the season, which Newcastle fan would have thought they could finish in the top four? "If they finish seventh, eighth or ninth this season, that’s a bloody good job. "Everybody remembers the transfer window last season and particularly Andy Carroll. "I just hope the owner and the board resist the temptation because there’s a top six, seven or eight finish within their grasp."
It's pretty rare from my perspective that you ever see a pundit track back and say "I was wrong" about anything they've said... so it's interesting that Mr. Stelling did an entire interview about it. I think that this quote really sums up our hopes and fears about the January transfer window.
"We know in the transfer window that a defender would be very, very helpful at the moment. Certainly (we could do with) a centre-half because we need a bit more presence in the back-four. "Williamson has been training again and he looks like he’s getting closer and I think he’ll be a big asset for us when he’s up and running again, but we might need another one because if we lose Williamson or Colo, we’ll look like we’re short.
If we lose Williamson or Colo, we will look like we're short BECAUSE WE ARE SHORT AT THE POSITION!
Pardew said: "Davide’s gone for a scan. We don’t think it’ll be too long, though. "He had this before. He had a little bit of fluid, and it was fine. "It’s the same knee. It is a shame as in the one-and-a-half games he’s shown his quality."
Yeah, so this is not so good... Davide had shown glimpses of being awesome. Don't get me wrong... Raylor has been good enough this year, but more than one club has identified him as the weak link on the defensive line.
"Mike’s trained well. We’ve missed our No 1 header of the ball since Steven’s been out. "We’ve conceded from set plays, and it’s important that he comes back in the team at some point. "And, of course, Bolton are a big side." It was typical of a fraught night that even skipper Coloccini, usually such a cool customer, seemed ruffled by West Brom. But Pardew jumped to his defence – and said there are no fitness issues for the Argentina skipper. "I don’t think that’s a problem for him (the injury suffered against Chelsea). He puts himself on the line," he said. "He needed a bit more help. The back four were a little bit stretched. That’s something we’ll look at for Bolton."
Two things- 1) I'm relieved for Williamson to be back, and it makes me sad to say that. It does, though, mean that Perch will be nowhere near the starting lineup, which makes me happy. 2) It's very hard to piece together anything about injuries in pro sports, but based on the number of times that Colo has been passing late fitness tests, hauled off early or whatever, it's hard to believe that there is not an underlying problem here. Our lack of depth here is forcing him to battle through whatever it is, and could cost us long term, I'm afraid.
A sanguine Pardew is not minded to panic. "We're talking about the need for tweaks rather than surgery," he said on Thursday. The previous night his players had lost 3-2 to West Bromwich Albion at home but Newcastle's manager was not about to let it ruin Christmas. "A little bit of luck seems to have deserted us but I said all along that adversity was going to come our way at some point," he reflected. "Adversity always comes but it's dealing with it in the right manner that matters. We're not as solid as we were but our problems are more structural than anything else; a few things need tweaking."
I like AP's level and focused demeanor most of the time. Sometimes I want him to come out and say "I'm PISSED OFF" when we drop a result that we shouldn't.
Say- that wasn't as long as I thought it was. Let me look around here for something else. . .