Alan Pardew will have his work cut out in his first match as Newcastle Manager as a Liverpool side under new ownership comes to Toon. There is much talk of a sit out style protest at St. James' park this Saturday, and while we support any burrs in the side of Mike Ashley we can't help but wonder how the lads we actually care about will take it. I think they realize that the ire of the Toon Army is focused on one man and one man alone.
As for the rest, we've had our time to rant and rave, to say farewell to a man we all grew to respect, really, to mourn his loss. I think Saturday is the time to get back behind what we really care about. After all, let's remember, we don't care about Ashley, we don't care about me, all we care about is NUFC. Let's not forget that we still have a relegation zone to avoid and whether we like the decision to change managers or not, we still have a job to do as fans, and that's cheer on the lads.
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As I said Pardew will have his work cut out against this Liverpool side that has been on the upswing since they exorcised Tom Hicks and fiends (did I leave an R out?). A couple of facts that Pardew can look forward to however is that LFC have been markedly worse on the road, losing to the likes of Stoke and only forcing a tie at Wigan.
Also the Magpies will not have to deal with Steven Gerrard as he is still sidelined with a hamstring injury. While we'll be happy to have Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton back from minor knocks that were picked up in training. Coloccini and Williamson will both be serving their last suspension game, so we can expect Big Sol and Saylor back in the middle again. I'd like to make some sort of prediction about the starting eleven, but I think we'll just have to see how Pardew wants to organize this talent. I'd be shooting in the dark with a guess.
Reasons we win:
The Players come out strong and show detractors that though they will miss Chris Hughton and may not agree with the change, they are still here to play hard, support one another and win games. More than anything else the next few games ride on the psyche of the players. \
Score Early, dead horse beaten. I've obviously said it before but when this team is attacking from the start they are playing their best football.
Ball Control should be a high priority for NUFC on Saturday. Expect LFC to play with lots of men behind the ball, and rely on long passing to create chances. If we can control the ball it can go a long way to defusing that offense.
Reasons we lose:
Counter Attack Defense could bite us in the hind parts. With men behind the ball LFC convinces teams to push to far forward and become susceptible to the counter. If we can't defend it, we'll be in a bad way.
The Players come out flat and sluggish. The last thing this team needs is players crying over spilled milk, but a man they all respect and admire has been treated very poorly this week, and the risk is high to give in to that pull and forget to play good football.
Lack of Creativity worries me against a side that plays so much behind the ball. We'll have to wait and see what kind of tactics Pardew deploys, but if we can't create chances, we won't be on the winning side.
Prediction NUFC 1-3 LFC, I think it may be too big a hill to climb for these players to lose a beloved and respected manager and come to play at 100% less than a week later. I look for our lads to be depressed and lethargic. I don't want it to be this way, but this is just the way I see it playing out.