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CHN mailbag: #StretchOfDoom, left backs, and Pop-Tarts

In which we take seriously your queries about Boyz II Men.

Stu Forster

Due to scheduling issues, the promised return of Coming Home Podcastle is unfortunately not happening this week. Rather than let your tremendous mailbag questions go to waste, we decided to publish a print version. Don't worry - #PopTartTalk is alive and well.


Q: When, if ever, do you see Dummett losing out to Haidara? Also, what do you do with Cabella? - @RohnJossi

Robert: These are two hard questions, for very different reasons. How can you ever tell what Alan Pardew is thinking when it comes to left backs? I'm guessing Haïdara gets at least one game in this next week, but honestly this position battle has dropped down my list lately with the solid play of Dummett. Don't get me wrong, I'm still Team Massadio, but there are so many other wrong things with this team right now that I just don't have the energy for it.

As far as Cabella is concerned: wow. The guy really seems unsettled on the wing, but it's hard to justify giving him the keys to the attack given what we've seen from him. I say let him play the 10 at Manchester City, and go from there. I think I need to let my thoughts on him marinate a bit and then come up with a full article.

Jim: When Alan Pardew is no longer manager of Newcastle United. Which, essentially, means never.

Alan: I have no idea when Haidara will win out over Dummett. This feels like it should be one of those inevitable things, but well, you know, "Pardew". This is one of those key situations where I feel that NUFC have decent personnel, but are managed so poorly that it's going to end up being a relegation year (or at least a battle). As far as Cabella...eep. This is where a nice cup run would be nice, where we could maybe experiment with him at the 10, like Robert said, and find where's comfortable. He isn't comfortable where he's at, though that hasn't stopped Pardew before.

(I am fully on Pardew Out, if you haven't been able to pick up on it.)

Q: #StretchOfDoom:

O/U points - 0.5
O/U goals scored - 1.5
O/U goals conceded - 8.5

- Ryan Carp

RLB: So, if you're not aware, Newcastle will play at Tottenham and Manchester City (the latter is a League Cup match), then host Liverpool in the space of seven days. I'm going under, over, over. I think Papiss Cissé is nailed on for at least one in the next three, and I'm counting on another one to squeak through somewhere. I'm not sure I trust this team to concede fewer than 9 goals in any of the next three, not to mention all of them combined. And there's no way I'm counting on any points (or advancement in the cup) out of this. It's going to hurt, even though it's totally expected.

JM: I think that we're going to manage at least a draw v. either Liverpool or Spurs (the City match is a non-points match, so when we win that one bahahahaha I can't even we're going to lose so hard), so I guess we're over. That said, it's under on goals scored and over on conceded.

AH: I will take the over on all three. Just because, I feel like we could squeeze a draw out of one of the two league matches. To do that, we'll need goals, and Newcastle has shown the ability to score quickly this season. But, that backline...oy. So, overs across the board.

Q: How cheap did Mike Ashley go in hiring a contractor to put up the SJP big screen? - @donrankin27

RLB: There's a cheap Sports Direct joke in there somewhere that everybody was quick to jump on when it happened, but seriously, what in the world happened there? How is this club so incompetent on every level? And why are they always messing with the park? Every week it's new signage, a new screen, or a new gate. Maybe do this kind of stuff over the summer instead of hosting a Kings of Leon concert.

JM: He hired someone that was standing out in front of the Home Depot.

AH: Not only did the scoreboard not stay up, but didn't it seem small? Or maybe I'm just desensitized after watching every college football team put in new mega scoreboards. (I don't know if making a dick measuring joke is appropriate, but that's basically what new scoreboards are in football these days. But, we had something that was done on the cheap, ended up confusing fans, and made Newcastle the laughingstock of the Premier League once again. So, yeah, massive failure on and off the pitch.


Q: How can you manage a podcast when I'm still laughing too hard at 8-0 to make real words? - @adultcereal

RLB: Good point. No podcast this week.

JM: Apparently, we can't. And that sure was funny, but also lead to the Newcastle United Depressing Stat Of The Day.

AH: Well, ok, laughingstock may have been harsh after Sunderland lost 8-0 to Southampton. "Haha, mackems! We only lost FOUR nil to them!" I guess that the Saints got two own goals is the best part of all of this. But, 1) Sunderland are still above us and 2) Do YOU think Newcastle will win the derby? Laugh now.

Damn, I think we need to mandate that the next mailbag includes the question, "What is the most positive thing going for you right now?" because I'm getting snarky at these questions.

Q: Prior to last night's MLS action, were you aware that Boyz II Men were still a thing? - @AlanHoffmann

RLB: I don't know what MLS has to do with it, but I do know that it's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

JM: I did not know they were still a thing, but have been aware of them for a long long time. Pretending that I didn't, however, got me a twitter follow from Kristan Heneage, so there's that.

AH: I asked this question, so it is weird to answer it, but no. I did not know that Boyz II Men was still a thing. This pre-game show also featured "100 Years" by Five For Fighting, The dude had a piano out on the pitch and was belting it out, while Landon Donovan looked on. Maybe it made sense in context? I don't know.

Q: Who's more likely to win the MLS Cup: LA or Seattle? Which would be better for the league? - Ryan Carp

RLB: False. FC Dallas. Second question: neither. (Real answer: Seattle, because Oba. LA, because at least they're not Seattle fans. Also, I'm not sure it would be "good" for the league if the teams that get awarded players through a dubious, behind-the-scenes process win.)

JM: Man. That's kind of like asking if you'd rather be shot or stabbed in the stomach. I would say that, based on last weekend's match, I would be justified in saying that they are equally likely and then I would have to say that I'm not sure one or the other is better for the league. The narrative for LA is more media friendly, I suppose... although the Super Bowl has shown us how the Seattle fan base handles ultimate success, maybe it's better for the League overall if they win it. Personally, I'd rather not take either kind of wound to the stomach.

AH: Full disclosure, I am a Sounders fan. So, obviously I want Seattle to win. I think with this match being at home, and the way Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsy are playing, I really like the Sounders' chances. Throw in Lamar Neagle and Pappa as well, and you've got a great attack (SBN's Sounders blog refers to the attack as a "hydra"). Though, LA is just as dangerous and sometimes Stephen Frei is a little suspect in net. Also, I am painfully aware of Seattle's late season struggles, so honestly, I have no idea who is going to win it. s far as who is better for the it a push? Both of these teams feature in the national MLS coverage. Both have high-profile players. The fan bases are well known. I will say this, if Seattle wins the Supporter's Shield, they'll have a chance of becoming the first U.S. team to win a domestic treble (Open Cup, Supporter's Shield, and MLS Cup). I don't know if that helps the league any, but history is always fun. To be honest, I don't know if it matters who wins MLS anymore. I think the TV numbers are good, attendance is up, and the brand is growing.

That was a really long way of saying, "I don't want to commit to either one because of a jinx factor."

Definitely not NUFC

Q: Everyone knows frosted cinnamon Pop Tarts are the best. What's to discuss? - iambwf

RLB: I can only assume that you're referring to Brown Sugar Cinnamon, in which case I agree with your first assertion. There is everything to discuss.

JM: Our friend misspelled frosted fudge Pop Tart.

AH: Cinnamon is gross. I'm sorry, it just is. I really like the S'more flavored ones. For fruit flavors, I'm a big fan of the cherry. In my college days, I routinely had cherry poptarts and gatorade for breakfast, because I live a super healthy and active lifestyle. Sometimes though, the vending machine would be out of cherry and I'd be forced to go with blueberry, which, ugh. Gross. I have very strong opinions on pop tart flavors.

Q: Isn't Jim the real communist for his love of pumpkin spice? - @AlanHoffmann


Captain America Pumpkin

Your argument is invalid.

JM: Come, comrade. I'll share all of the pumpkin spice with you.

AH: I do not understand pumpkin spice. At all. And every fall, my Facebook feed suddenly fills up with pictures of Starbucks cups (it is probably the worst coffee you can get in Seattle, by the way) with captions reading something like, "ZOMG!!!! PUMPKIN SPICE!!!!! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" Now, I can understand taking pictures of food, but coffee cups? Don't get it. Your Starbucks mug looks exactly like it would if it had plain black coffee in it. But now, we have pumpkin in everything. Cakes, pop tarts, Oreos, beer. I like pumpkin pie, but do not get the allure of that flavor in other things. I feel it to be by solemn duty as a true patriotic American to not follow the herd mentality and proclaim my distaste (and distrust?) of pumpkin spice.

Oh, and spoiler alert: if you love it so much, you can buy pumpkin spice at your grocery store. Like, this doesn't HAVE to be a fall thing.