070213135822It would appear to be pretty easy to guess Alan Pardew’s team for the match at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

While that was also true for much of this season, unhappily that was because the cupboard was bare when it came to alternatives to a number of players who were struggling.

Now however, barring any nasty surprise injuries from the international friendlies, Alan Pardew is now having to look at more positive decisions.

As well as Mapou pushing for a place, the biggest of these must be whether to change a winning team to accommodate Cheick Tiote who is back from African Cup of Nations duty.

For me this is an easy decision, whilst James Perch has done  a tidy job as a fill-in, Tiote is the real deal and to me will only thrive with the rise in quality and movement added to the team in January. The addition of players like Moussa Sissoko will hopefully lead to Tiote just concentrating on his own job rather than making up for the weaknesses of others. Speaking of Sissoko, we tipped him at 10/1 to score any time against Chelsea and playing in the advanced role that looks tailor made for him, I still think it is great value at 11/2 for Sissoko to score any time at Spurs.

As well as the new signings, the return of Taylor and Cabaye have been just as important.

Taylor has been outstanding alongside Coloccini in these last two wins, while Cabaye is playing up to somewhere near his very best, plus like Sissoko he is getting into a very good forward positions and adding goals to his performances, Cabaye 16/1 to score first catches the eye as well.

More than anything United are looking a team once again with all the players working hard for one another, epitomised by the hard running Gouffran and a back to form against Chelsea, Jonas.

The performance and fightback against Chelsea will have raised the confidence levels to a massive high, NUFC to win at 9/2 must be good value if you look at our team as it is looking now as opposed to the previous twenty or so matches.

Tiote can slot in that midfield and Tottenham will at the very least know they have been in a game against the Ivory Coast midfielder and the likes of Sissoko and Cabaye.

Let’s keep this run rolling.

What would your starting eleven be on Saturday?

NUFC To Beat Spurs 9/2
Sissoko To Score A Goal 11/2
Cabaye To Score First Goal 16/1

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emphraser 5pts

Time's ticking away for Sir Les. Austin clearly not fetching anywhere near £15m now, reckon he'll regret not taking the £12m offer early on. As each day passes the line on Austin becomes less about proven premier league scoring prowess and more about how soon his contract's up.

nufcdc 5pts

I agree with "on hols". I think Austin would have been a good buy *not in excess of 15 mil* but I think Mitrovic looks a very similar build, and overall player. We need to compliment that type of player with a speedy, skillful partner and with balls played the box. That's how Austin scored many of his 18 at QPR and how Mitrovic scored at Anderlecht (including his cracking header at arsenal **campions league experience**). Overall, I'd be content with the attacking options we've brought in, if we signed a couple of quality defenders!!

On hols
On hols 5pts

There's better out there! Far to similar to mitrovic. I personally think we should play a faster more skillful player off our new big striker, leave Austin where he is. Buy Hernandez? Or play cisse/perez off the shoulder of mitrovic.

mactoon 5pts

Good call but I don't think they want players they need money hence the fee and the reason why no exchange deal will work

Artie Fufkin
Artie Fufkin 5pts

Good piece, Villa have signed a striker today and is likely to get Adebeyor too. Austin may not have as many options as he hoped. 

ArtyH 5pts

£10m cash and take your pick from Williamson, Gouffran, Abeid, or Obertan , can't get fairer than that, take it or leave it, answer by next Saturday.

Kazie23 5pts

£10million plus Vuckic will be the deal

mactoon 5pts

Following his shoulder injury (dislocation which is highly fixable) in September 2010 he went on to score 17 in 27 games during 2010/11

In 2013 he failed a medical due to issues with his knee which haven't affected him before it happened or since. Before the Feb 2015 fixture between Hull and QPR Steve Bruce admitted he made a huge mistake in not signing him as he too had failed a medical due to a knee injury but still got signed by Man U without any more problems. Austin went on to score 20 in 31 games during 13/14 and 18 in 35 during 14/15

Do the board have injury concerns or are they predictably using it as an excuse to get a lower price?

Just pay the damn £15 million for a proven goalscorer with huge potential.

v0ices 5pts

@mactoon and add a pl experienced cb too, does not have to be a world beater solid and reliable will do.

mactoon 5pts

@v0ices @mactoon  definately. Willo, Collo and Taylor are just not good enough and we need a proven CB to raise the bar to make them fight for a place, historically all three have been woeful due to the lack of competition and if we buy a proven CB to play alongside Mbemba these three will be on the bench at best. Too long have we had players lacking the quality required playing because of the squad lacking the quality required.

Mal44 5pts

I'm with the posters below who are saying CB is the priority. It's very quiet and calm on that front; hopefully Charnley is paddling like hell under the surface.

yeahweekes 5pts

Its actually really clever business from Cashley to be fair. Austin's contract expires in a year, meaning that he would leave for free.... which would be a disaster for QPR.... they will be forced to let him go for around £10m or less if we can hold out for the last few days of the window..... 

1957 5pts

With the current contractual situation he's not worth £15m, he's good but not an exceptional player that would command that fee with only a years contract left. I also agree the first club to blink and offer the reported fee will be kept waiting in case a better offer comes in, by QPR and Austin.

For me spend the money on defenders, we are in greater need of not conceding than scoring, at the moment whatever we score the opposition can get the same or one more.

wor monga
wor monga 5pts

Good read, and shows exactly why clubs can’t just go in waving the price QPR have put on him as a benchmark, and the deal will be done…I think this will go on until late in the window, and possibly any action held off until an offer can be made that is too late in the day for QPR/Austin to knock it back, and also too late for any other club to come in and trump it… 

...If any interested party threw in the £15m now it would just raise the bar.

...Don’t know how much faith can be placed on the injury history…seeing as he got through 36 games last season, and that’s generally a good guide to show that there’s no recurring damage!!

DownUnderMag 5pts

I don't see any other clubs lining up to pay that fee either.  I suspect a deal could be done closer to the window closing and with Mitrovic on board already and no sign of Cisse leaving just yet, Newcastle can actually play hard ball on this one.

What is more concerning is the lack of apparent activity on any more defenders.  If the heirarchy think what we currently have will be good enough then we are in for another long season, unless Colo finds form again and Mbemba turns out to be the next big thing in centre halves.

IainElrick 5pts

He's 12mil max if he wasn't British he's be around 9mil

Dubaiexpat 5pts

I think the fact that no club has met the 15m valuation tells you it's not just NUFC who think he is overpriced.

There are clearly genuine concerns overs his medical fitness and personally I think we're right to be cautious with this one. 

Would I want him at St James - absolutely. Would I pay 15million for him - not so sure. 

Personally think we have more pressing priorities in defence.