So we have finally moved into the 30 point level. I'll touch on specifics of the match just a little through the links, but suffice it to say that yesterday's match was not one you would show to a non-footy fan to try to win them over. In fact, it might be the kind you show to a footy addict to get them to swear the stuff off. Anyway, 3 points for the good guys, and now we have news! A few very interesting quotes from the stories today, so let's check it out. Jump! Link!
"This is a different Newcastle United. It is very different to last year – a big difference from last season," he said. "The manager has changed the approach. He wants to play good football, maybe he wants to entertain the fans a bit more than last year. He wants them to enjoy watching their team. That’s good. We are enjoying it on the pitch, too. For me personally, I enjoy playing this way. "Maybe the big difference is this team can do both sides of the game. We know when we have to play directly and when we can play good football and pass the ball around. "It’s very important to know this. Sometimes if there is a passing team in front of you, you can play that way. But sometimes you have to be direct and long ball; this team can do both."
On a normal day, a quote like this would either be a "Hey, yeah! Good for us! AP is Awesome!" reaction or would just slip into the ether without notice. Today, on the heels of the abjectly terrible display for the first 60 minutes on Boxing day, it gives me a sad. It means that the schlock we watched for those 60 minutes was likely on purpose and by design. Ugh. -2 confidence points, Alan.
With all due respect to Perchie, because he’s done great, Williamson’s a round peg in a round hole," Williamson told the Gazette. "He’s a centre-half, that’s his position, and he made a big difference to us. There’s been a lot of criticism about our results, but we haven’t had two centre-halves out there. "Perch is a midfield player or full-back. He’s brilliant in terms of that, but centre-half is a tough call. Willo came out, and we looked a lot more solid."
It's been a couple of days since we did a links post, so some of these are from Christmas or Boxing Day... mostly I'm including them for the highlight quotes as, unless you were hiding under a rock, you know that Willo started in the center of defense for Newcastle yesterday.
Ba, a free transfer from West Ham this summer, told the Chronicle: "The French are going to have an influence in front of goal because we have a lot of French players and we work very hard together. "Hatem was brilliant for his goal, and everybody is happy. "Everybody can look forward to the next game at Liverpool adn enjoy it."
We have French players?
Demba Ba's disposition is so unfailingly sunny and his accuracy in front of goal so unerring that he has been dubbed the "Smiling Assassin" by team-mates at Newcastle United.
Pardew is well aware of that and has sought out Best personally to talk over his recent performances. He feels he has not created enough opportunities of late. "I am a little bit worried about that. I've mentioned his potency as a goalscorer before. That's what he is – a goalscorer," he said. "But he's not really getting a lot of chances to show that it's going to come to the fore at the moment. We'll have to wait and see. "I just think the last couple of games we've created enough chances for him to have got on the end of something, so we'll have to look at that. We've analysed the West Brom game now."
Best and Ba are different in one very vital area... killer instinct. When Demba Ba gets the ball with a little space, you feel like he's going to put it away. When Best got through yesterday, you thought it would end up just about like it did.
Krul believes the win at Bolton also demonstrated Newcastle's strength in depth, with Ben Arfa making the decisive breakthrough after coming on as a substitute and Mike Williamson impressing in defence on his first start since October. "Besty worked his socks off for the first 60 minutes and that paved the way for Hatem to show the extra bit of quality which he brings to the team," explained Krul.
I'm all for the team spirit and supporting teammates and all, but if Best worked his socks off, he must have been wearing really threadbare socks that didn't require much to lose. As you'll all know, I was coming around on Besty, but you've got to call it like it is, and he was dire yesterday. Anyway, if a player wasn't great, just don't talk about him.
Ben Arfa converted Ryan Taylor’s left-wing cross just minutes after replacing Leon Best, and he was keen to dedicate the strike to the loyal United support. He added: "I was very happy to see the ball hit the back of the net. The main thing for me was to see the fans reacting behind the goal. "That was the most pleasing thing – it was a goal not just for me but them also. "It was really comforting to see the fans applauding me at the end too." Ben Arfa joked the strike was his belated Christmas present to the fans who had kept faith in him throughout his injury and rehabilitation.
I'm always a sucker for acknowledgement of the support. Also, I'm hopeful that this goal opens the floodgates for HBA. It makes everyone's life a lot easier if he becomes a no-brainer for selection on account of goal scoring form.
The former Manchester United man appeared to be performing better when Marveaux, out with a groin injury, was breathing down his neck. However, performances have dropped off since. "He’s been a big miss and that competition he provided from the bench made the other two play very, very well," he said. "Against West Brom neither Jonas (Gutierrez) or (Gabriel) Obertan were at their best and that factor always helps, to have that competition. "We’re hoping he comes back before the end. But we always felt that this period before the last two games would be difficult for us, but we came out the other side of them hurt with injuries and suspensions in particular – and that’s caused these last two results to be disappointing. "That’s what we’ve got to put right."
Perhaps I'm just crabby this morning, but I find myself disagreeing with small little details in a lot of the stories today. Sylvain Marveaux was nowhere near the picture when Obertan had his best run of form, around the Manchester United match +/- a match or two. Other than that small detail, yes, yes I would love to have Marveaux healthy to allow AP to drop someone when he needed to. Although there is no dearth of wing players and he could do so if he really wanted to.
However, Pardew expects both Ba and Italian under-21 defender Davide Santon to return for the trip to Merseyside for the last game of the year. Pardew told the Chronicle today: "Demba took a little knock on his knee, we will have to see. "Santon’s knee was not as bad we had thought. "I left him out, but I think he will be back for Liverpool."
The fall that injured Ba toward the end of the match seemed pretty innocent... hopefully this is just talk top put questions in Dalglish's head... although I'm not sure that any of the alternatives will have him losing sleep.
CHRIS MORGAN’s imminent return to the spotlight at Sheffield United could open the door for Harry Maguire to move to the Premier League. Blades defender Morgan has been sidelined for the last 14 months with a knee injury but is now firmly on the road to recovery. In his absence, Maguire, 18, has stepped up from the club’s youth team to become a regular at the heart of defence. Newcastle United are one of several top-flight clubs monitoring Maguire’s progress and are ready to tempt the Blades with an offer in the region of £1.5m in the new year transfer window.
This is a new one that I hadn't heard... it makes you wonder about Tamas Kadar's future, though... an 18-year-old with considerable first-team experience at the Championship level would seem to automatically slot in ahead of Tamas.
Demba Ba Left Out Of Senegal Squad
Hahaha. Just kidding.
Senegal name a strong 23-man squad for 2012 Africa Cup of Nations dominated by top-notch strikers, including Demba Ba.
I normally wouldn't include a link like this as it only minimally concerns NUFC on a reading level... but look at the squad that has been called up. I noticed two things: 1) HOLY COW Senegal has some strtikers! and 2) You're really only calling up 4 midfielders for an entire major tournament?!? I'll be interested to see what kind of tactic the Senegal manager is going to use.
Hey! That's it. Have a great day, and we're pointing the ship toward Anfield.