The International Break is slowly wrapping up. . . no day perhaps more than (at least as far as the news cycle is concerned) today. The good news is that all of our internationals have come through without injury. Today's news has largely been filled with speculation on squad health, particularly on the Tottenham side. If we're honest, however, it's really pretty much exactly that... speculation. I would be surprised of Harry Redknapp doesn't give Adebayor and van der Vaart every chance to prove fitness prior to the game, so I don't really count any of that as news at this point.
There are, however, a couple of interesting talking points coming out of the Newcastle Reserves' friendly vs. York City Reserves on Wednesday. A light links day also includes Gabriel Obertan being backed to be a success at St. James', Newcastle getting home and getting healthy, and reckless transfer speculation. Following the jump, some links!
York City Reserves 1 : 3 Newcastle Reserves
Two stunners from Mehdi Abeid helped Newcastle Reserves to a comfortable win at Bootham Crescent in a behind-closed-doors practice match.
Counter to the line-up philosophy in recent Reserve League matches, Peter Beardsley and Willie Donachie fielded a very young lineup, largely devoid of first-team experience. Particularly in the Goalkeeping position, we ran out some veeeerrry young players. The starter, Jonathan Mitchell was the old man (?!) weighing in at an ancient 16 years of age (for contrast, York City Reserves' keeper was 42 years old. . .) and then:
The final 16 minutes of the game were turned over to Freddie Woodman, making his Reserves debut at the age of 14. I do have to confess some ignorance at the usage of the Reserve structure... maybe this kind of thing happens all the time. All I'm saying is that Tim Krul better watch out.
Another Newcastle old head weighs in on one of the new boys
I am not going to lie-- I'm a fan of what Gabriel Obertan could be. Now it's just a matter of him doing something about it. While he has performed well to this point of the season, objectively one has to view Gabriel as perhaps the first to yield in any potential lineup change not predicated by injury, but he certainly hasn't played his way out.
Perhaps I was a little hasty thinking that Cabaye would be rested this weekend
So not only did Yohan Cabaye return from Euro 2012 Qualifiers uninjured, he came back to training a half-day early. I really would like to see HBA and the 4-3-1-2 that I suggested in the preview, but it's looking more and more like it's not going to happen. Not that you can gripe if Pardew doesn't change a thing, mind you.
The corollary to the above link: HBA and Santon are unlikely to crack the lineup this weekend, according to John Carver. Spit. Although, I did say that all that is what happens when you are not clairvoyant.
Interesting comparative statistics regarding Newcastle's new emphasis on defense
I'll let this one speak for itself.
NEWCASTLE ARE LOOKING FOR A STRIKER THIS GUY'S A STRIKER!!!111!!1!
Perhaps it's not just speculation, but even if it is I offer this as a discussion point from this story: Do you feel that a proven goal-scorer from the Scottish Premiere League is worth the investment for Newcastle United at this point? I'll be honest... the idea of Gary Hooper is even more underwhelming to me than Ba and Best all year. Let's vote.