The Most Important Four Days In Newcastle’s Recent History?
Can anyone else remember four days with a bigger importance in the recent history of our club? Nope, me neither. The derby always creates a buzz in the week before, but personally I’m not quite focusing entirely on the Mackems just yet. The Benfica game is far from impossible and if we score early doors it really is on.
That sounds a cliché but remember the AZ Alkmaar tie, a big European night at SJP and after we pinched an early goal we really opened fire on the visitors, putting four in the Dutch net before half time. There is no reason why we can’t do that again especially with Marveaux and maybe HBA terrorising their back-line, with a full house roaring the lads on.
I may sound completely biased but we really can win this competition, it’s still possible. The only team who I see us really struggling to beat over two legs in a semi-final is Spurs, due mainly to the outstanding form of Gareth Bale. I always thought an ideal scenario would be to avoid them until the final and pray Bale is injured.
Maybe I am getting ahead of myself just slightly, and Steven Taylor’s injury is just as much of a blow, as HBA’s return is a lift. Although I accept Williamson in the eyes of most would never be a first choice starter for the Toon, he can do an acceptable job and win a decent amount of headers; I would certainly favour him over starting Perch at centre-half.
Whatever the result from Thursday, as a team the lads have to be ready psychologically for Sunday, as I think Sunderland will play better than they have been in recent weeks. The Mackem Mussolini will be in his element in the bedlam of the Tyne-Wear showdown and without the thug otherwise known as Cattermole, they have no obvious liability in their XI, just underperforming players. Anyone who thinks Sunday will be another 5under1and job is mistaken, let’s face it nearly every other derby has been closely contested in the premier league era, even when the Mackems were racking up the worst points total record they still gave us a tight games (2002/03 + 2005/06 seasons).
I personally think we will have enough to stay up regardless of Sunday, but if Papiss can knock in another injury time winner, we are set up for a really strong finish to the campaign and something to build on for the start of next season.
Remember we are just as close, in terms of points, to Swansea in 9th (41 points) as we are to Wigan/Sunderland in 18th/17th (31 points). Whatever happens in these two gigantic games, both have sold out, so support from the crowd throughout should not be a problem.
Has this season been a positive one?
Ask me Monday, until then…. I want curly hair too!
Howay The Lads
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