In the wake of Alan Pardew and Newcastle United’s magnificent season which brought back memories of Sir Bobby’s side, it seemed fitting to match up the two sides to see the similarities & differences and perhaps the potential that Pardew’s boys have with this in mind (Part one of this article profiling the goalkeepers and defenders was on the website yesterday and can be seen here).
Gary Speed 8/10
Another loyal servant to the club, the late Gary Speed can be said to have been the defensive cog within the United midfield that allowed the exciting youthful talents of Jenas, Dyer, Robert and Solano to flourish in attack. Brilliant in the air, phenomenal workrate and strong in the tackle, Speed was a firm fans’ favourite.
Kieron Dyer 7/10
Possessing the type of energy and pace that made Robson’s side so threatening during the period, Dyer was a player full of immense talent that perhaps lay largely unfulfilled. This is due in part to injuries but also an over confidence in that he was thought to be a part of the infamous ‘Brat Pack’ on Tyneside. In saying that though he was a fast-paced, dimensional player who flourished in certain games.
Yohan Cabaye 8/10
One of Pardew’s stand out buys, has been a huge success since arriving on Tyneside. Great workrate, passing range and an eye for goal all contribute to a fantastic box-to-box midfielder that has flourished in his first year in the Premier League.
Cheick Tiote 8/10
Another one of Carr’s finds and yet another cheap signing with supreme talent. Tiote in his second year on Tyneside produced another fabulous 9 months. A combative midfielder, fierce in the tackle who dominates games with his prowess in the centre of the park.
Nolberto Solano 8/10
A loyal servant to the club, the Peruvian became a fan’s favourite on Tyneside as a result of his industrious, hard-working displays down the right hand side. ‘Nobby’, as he was affectionately known by the fans, had tremendous delivery and was vitally important in the arena of set pieces.
Hatem Ben Arfa 9/10
A maverick capable of unimaginable skill and trickery, Ben Arfa was an instrumental figure in United’s Champions League charge during the 2011/2012 season. With Dribbling skills matching that of Lionel Messi on his day, Ben Arfa tore Premier League full-backs to shreds last season, exemplified by unbelievable goals against Bolton in the league and Blackburn in the FA cup. A real talent.
Laurent Robert 8/10
A Frenchman who brought moments of utter genius and frustrated in equal measure during his time on Tyneside. Had a remarkable shot with his left boot that left many opposition keepers stranded, an example being his two wonder strikes against Tottenham in the 2003/2004 season. Possessed skill and pace in abundance as well as a fantastic delivery and a threat from free-kicks. Robert Typified the attributes of Robson’s side of the time.
Jonas Gutierrez 7/10
An industrious, adaptable midfielder who is utterly selfless in his defensive duties, allowing the likes of Santon and Enrique before him to roar forward in attack. A skilful footballer with an incredible workrate and consistency in fitness, make Jonas a vital cog in Pardew’s Newcastle side. ‘Spiderman’ can enjoy his summer break knowing he has produced yet another hard-working and successful 9 months.
Craig Bellamy 9/10
A somewhat volatile character, Robson famously stated that Bellamy was, “a man who could start an argument in an empty room”. Despite this though, Bellamy was an integral part of Robson’s Newcastle side, illustrated by his winning of the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2002. His pace and energy combined with Shearer’s power and finishing up front, led to a lethal partnership that was to form the lynchpin of the club’s success during the period. Bellamy was the first of Robson’s high profile signings to be sold off by Souness after a very public falling out in January 2005.
Alan Shearer 10/10
Club Legend. All-time Premiership leading goal scorer as well as the all-time Newcastle leading goal scorer with 206 goals. As Robson stated, the signing of Shearer and the decision to bring him back to Newcastle was, “probably the best decision the club has ever made”. Alan Shearer was the focal point and driving force of Robson’s side and was the spearhead of the team which aimed for success both domestically and in Europe. As club captain, Shearer was also the leader of the team and the most important member of the squad, without any doubt, during Robson’s reign. A superb footballer, a one-off.
Demba Ba 8/10
Senegalese international who was signed on a free by Pardew in the summer of 2011. Made a blistering start to the season scoring 16 goals in 16 games which led to him being named as the signing of the season by Premiership managers in January. Had somewhat of a dip in form the second half of the season however, not scoring from February until the end of the season. Despite this though, Ba possesses power, strength, pace and finishing ability, making him a dangerous marksman.
Papiss Cisse 9/10
Yet another player scouted by Graham Carr, signed for £8million in January 2012. Has been nothing short of a revelation, making the most influential impact of any signing in Premiership history, scoring an incredible 13 goals in 14 appearances since arriving. An out-and-out goal scorer, Cisse has proved to be a worthy wearer of the number 9 and will spearhead Pardew’s attack once more next season.
Bobby’s team: 86 – Given(9), Hughes (7), Woodgate (7), O’Brien (6), Bernard (7), Solano (8), Speed (8), Dyer (7), Robert (8), Bellamy (9), Shearer (10)
Pardews team: 85 – Krul (8), Simpson (6), Coloccini (9), Williamson (6), Santon (7), Ben Arfa (9), Tiote (8), Cabaye (8), Gutierrez (7), Ba (8), Cisse (9)
Therefore, Bobby’s team just edges it by one point, the slimmest of margins, which gives Newcastle fans hope perhaps for the next few years that this side can indeed eclipse the exploits of Sir Bobby’s? We shall wait and see.
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