Newcastle United have registered their first victory of their preseason preparation, defeating AS Monaco (currently of Ligue 2) 1-0. Demba Ba was back on the score sheet (although it does have to be admitted- the Monaco keeper looked not at all interested in challenging the big man for the ball on Demba's goal). Rumors are flying (it bears noting for potential concern: they're all about players coming in. . .) and we are dangerously close to having the entire club in the fold for the training camp in Germany (Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye are still on extra time off).
The news creeps on, and after the jump, we've got a review of the Monaco match, Haris Vuckic, Mathieu Debuchy and more on The Benign Ponytail!
Steve Harper took one for the team with a shot from Ibrahima Toure that smacked him full in the face. And the long-serving United keeper was at it again to turn Nampalys Mendy’s shot around the post. He saved the best until last though when he clawed Nacer Barazite’s header off the line after Valentin Eysseric’s cross from the right. Harper fully deserved his clean sheet and proved that, while United could have options in abundance in attack, they remain well served in the keeper department too should anything happen to Tim Krul in the coming months.
It is my hope against hope that Steve Harper's 90 minute run out against Monaco signals the club calling time on the "Buy a League One 'keeper for £100000 and hope he's Premier League quality" experiment. If we are going to maintain any hope at all in the "secondary" competitions, it has got to be Steve Harper in the number 2 spot.
Speaking of goalkeepers... I know it's preseason, but really Danijel Subasic? Demba got the goal, but he really shouldn't have been allowed anywhere close to that ball. All credit to #19 - he charged it down and did the work, but Subasic looked completely disinterested on that goal.
Vuckic, though, is open-minded about his future, and said: "I want to play here. "But I will see what the plan is here. "Sometimes it is better to go on loan, it will be down to the manager. "You can get more games. For now I am really enjoying it at Newcastle."
Based on appearances from last year, I think that Haris has a spot in this season's squad. He has reportedly impressed Alan Pardew this preseason, so a loan away from St. James' Park looks unlikely, but you never know. Romain Amalfitano managed to impress many of us despite a relative interest in focused football from both squads v. Monaco so it may not be as cut and dried as all that.
"I want to leave LOSC. The coach wants to keep me here, but I will not change my mind. I still keep that hope. I will try to go elsewhere." However, much to the defender's annoyance, a deal may take longer than anticipated to broker, with LOSC coach Rudi Garcia's insistence that the 26-year-old can only leave the club once a replacement is signed. "Right now I'm stuck at Lille, depending on the arrival of another player. LOSC wants to find my replacement before I am released," he continued. "Ten, 15 players have been suggested but still it does not go. It disappoints me and it bothers me. It's been 20 years that I have been here and I have never asked for anything. For once I want to discover something else."
As far as we know, we are still in the lead to sign Mathieu Debuchy, and as far as we know, he says he would prefer to come to Newcastle. All the signs seem to indicate this is still the logical conclusion. Our friends over at We Ain't Got No History (specifically one Graham MacAree) are suggesting Chelsea get involved as they are looking for a right back following their release of Jose Boswinga. How about we just go ahead and wrap this up just to make sure, Mike eh?
Also- Something rings impressive for me in Mathieu's quotes... I can't really describe it, but I read them and come away with a positive impression of how he is going about this desire to leave Lille.
Ant McPartlin - one half of Geordie celebrity duo Ant and Dec - posted on their official Twitter account @antanddec: "I would have him back in a heartbeat. Great player. A #gottabackageordie"
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, is a big Toon fan. He said: "I would welcome Andy Carroll back with open arms, it’s always positive to see a Geordie in a black and white strip and even better when it’s number nine. Welcome home Andy."
First off- I don't really feel that there is any evidence of a "plea" for this player to come home.
The more I consider this move, the more I can feel the bile falling away from my mouth - ultimately whatever player pulls on the black and white will get my support, even if I give it begrudgingly. Let me say this once again and make it as clear as I can:
ANDY CARROLL SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO WEAR THE NUMBER 9 JERSEY AGAIN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.
That's all I've got to say about that.
"Make no mistake, he is a very good footballer. I can fully understand why Newcastle are in for him and I think it would be a great move. When he was there before he benefited from the fact that the team was always working to get him the ball - and he thrived on that. That hasn't always been the case at Liverpool and perhaps at times he suffered." Whether or not Carroll would be accepted back by the Newcastle supporters remains unclear but Shearer is confident he can win over the Toon faithful quickly.
Alan is spot on about TBP's success at Newcastle - it is the same way that Demba Ba was so prolific in the first half of the season as well. Some players need to be that focus. I still maintain that if he comes back home, he will need to accept a role in the second XI in a 4-4-2 (or potentially a 4-3-1-2 with Gaby Obertan playing behind the forwards) with Shola or another player that can fill the selfless Leon Best role to ensure he gets as many chances as possible. Ultimately, this one is in Mike Ashley's hands now. I can see a place for him, but I'm not sure that he wants the place that I see for him...