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I Don’t Blame Ashley For Tempting Fate But…

9 years ago

If I was handed the reins at Newcastle United, my first act as manager would be to hand Davide Santon the number 11 shirt and stick him up front in a three pronged attack with Ben Arfa and Ba.

I have been impressed with his creativity in the final third this season and genuinely believe that with a little bit of work he could be as effective as Ben Arfa. Also, after watching his defensive performance on Saturday I have to admit that I really wasn’t impressed with that aspect of his game. He was nowhere to be seen for the first goal (which came from our left) and he was caught out for the second in spectacular fashion, kicking out at thin air when he should have been making a routine clearance.

It’s understood that a new striker is high on Alan Pardew’s agenda but I’m not convinced we need one. Personally, I would rather see what Santon has to offer in that position and spend any available funds in January shoring up the defence.

We have Ba and Cisse that can play through the middle and adding to those two would, I feel, lead to an unhappy balance in the squad. Newcastle appear to play at their best when Pardew opts for the 4-3-3 system so I’d like to see him fit the players around the formation rather than the other way round. If that sees Cisse moved to the bench then so be it. Ba is the man in form so his place at the head of the attack has been earned.

I don’t agree with some of the decisions that Alan Pardew has made during his time at Newcastle, and I am alarmed by our failure to build on the progress we have made over the previous three seasons when presented with a rare opportunity to do so this Summer, but any Newcastle fan that thinks Alan’s 8 year contract should be torn up based on this season’s results seriously needs to adjust their expectations.

Mike Ashley’s penny pinching has cost us this season but I don’t blame the guy for tempting fate. What I will judge him on, however, is whether or not he holds up his hands, admits his gamble didn’t pay off, and puts his hands in his pockets in January. Players that he could (and should) have signed in the summer will now cost more but that’s the risk he took and the price he’ll now have to pay.

No football team can balance a Champions League qualification push and a successful European campaign with ‘eleven purple players’ unless they have a lot of luck along the way. Newcastle haven’t had that and that is why they are now in fifteenth place and only finished second in a ‘weak’ Europa League group.

We have been playing some decent football of late without getting points on the board and I strongly believe that with two or three more ‘purple players’ in the squad we would be up to ten points better off and in the mix for Champions League qualification. Alan Pardew is the man for the job and I’d like him to see out his 8 year deal and then sign another one. Results are not going our way but we’re playing well and with two or three new faces in January, plus the return of Steven Taylor, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, we could really look to start closing the gap on the teams above, even if we have to wait for next season before we really start to catch them up.

It wouldn’t take much to bring the feel-good factor back to St James’ Park, Mike, so please get your chequebook out and drag these players over the line.

Also, please can you just give Ba a new deal because we can’t replace him for £7.5m. Thanks.

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