Alan Pardew – Worst Job In Football?
In the aftermath of Manchester City and ahead of Chelsea’s visit on Saturday, how are the fans feeling?
We’ve asked a few of our contributors the questions, next up is Rich Gibbons .
What did you think of the team selection for the Manchester City match?
For me, Pardew’s team selection up to the forward positions was ok. The addition of Mbiwa is a no brainer, I am also a fan of Anita and believe the only thing keeping him out of the team is Sissoko’s height. However, only goals win games, and I would have liked to see Remy on from the start instead of Shola. That could have been the difference in the opening 90 minutes.
What did you make of the performance?
This is a difficult one, because I feel that for large sections of the opening 90 minutes we were the better side. An amalgamation of poor finishing and decent goalkeeping ultimately cost us. However, city do have an extraordinarily good squad, with easily two full starting elevens that could compete and often win against our strongest team. Such is the nature of the game nowadays; money equates to power on the pitch. We have been largely starved of that whilst City have had a great deal.
Much debate about how committed United are towards the cups, do you think Ashley is relieved or gutted Newcastle aren’t travelling to Leicester for a place in the semi? Same Question for Alan Pardew?
I don’t think that participation in the cups makes much of a difference to Mike Ashley. It’s not his priority, which is obviously the league position and the cash windfall associated with that. However, I don’t believe for a second that Alan Pardew wouldn’t have wanted to progress and win a cup. It would look great on his CV after all! He does know which side his bread is buttered though, so if the owner’s priority is the league and we have three games in quick succession and must rotate some players for that? It would always be the cup game that took the knock.
What would be your team for Saturday against Chelsea?
Chelsea is another top team, but we really need to get something out of this game, what with Spurs just around the corner. We could be looking square in the face of the relegation zone soon otherwise. My team would be a 4-3-3, because I don’t think you can reliably play with two in midfield nowadays. I’d go with –
Krul, Debuchy, Colo, Williamson, Santon, Cabaye, Tiote, Anita, Ben Arfa, Remy, Gouffran
If Colo wasn’t fit then Mbiwa would take his place. I don’t think Sissoko has done enough this season for me and Anita keeps the ball better. It really is a good side though, but ultimately it depends on how the manager sets them up and how much drive and belief he instils into the players beforehand.
How do you see that match panning out?
I’m trying to stay positive, but with each passing week that positivity is gradually ebbing away. At home and on our day, we are capable of beating Chelsea. Which Newcastle will turn up though? We know that a committed and in form Chelsea will be there, so Pardew really does need to get things right this weekend for us to get anything. I’m going to say we might just squeeze out a 1-1 draw from this and bag a much needed point. I don’t think it will be pretty though.
Do you see a positive future for Newcastle fans while Ashley owns the club?
Put plainly…no. I realise he has steadied the ship and the books are all looking great, but balanced financial books don’t get the heart beating faster! Mike Ashley wants one thing from Newcastle United and that is to utilise us as an advertising vehicle for Sports Direct. He doesn’t want to flirt with relegation and he doesn’t want to stump up the cash needed to reliably compete with the top clubs. He therefore wouldn’t want to compete in the Europa League again; because that puts additional pressure on Premier League status when you run things on a shoestring budget, as we are ran. 8th to 15th is where Mike Ashley wants us, season in and season out. Can anyone think of anything more depressing?
I think it’s the level of moral bankruptcy from Mike Ashley that galls me the most. The fact that so many thousands care so much about Newcastle United, and what it means to the city and to our infrastructure as a community in general. And Mike Ashley just doesn’t seem to care about any of that. He gets others to rant his invented position, while he is too proud to admit his flawed approach for Newcastle and instead makes poor decision after poor decision.
Is Alan Pardew part of the problem or part of the solution?
I actually like Alan Pardew as a person and I genuinely think he desperately wants Newcastle United to do well and really does like it up here. He has the worst job in Premier League management though, with so many constraints, off field traumas and very little backing financially from the owner. I think under a better owner and more robust system of internal management, Pardew would reliably get us into the top ten every season. However, if we had all that in place then I would want a better manager! Things as they are, Pardew is just about as good as we will get, which by necessity makes him part of the solution. He still needs to decide on a philosophy of playing for the team for me though, and give us an identity that is still missing.
What do you think will happen in the January transfer window?
What I hope will happen is that we bring in a commanding centre back to plug an obvious weakness in the side, another wide option with creativity because when Ben Arfa isn’t on song we struggle here, and a powerful forward that can hold the ball up well and effectively bring others into play. All of these being first team players. What I think we will get is maybe just a forward, and it will be someone that fits the price bracket rather than the team chemistry. We must also hold onto Cabaye.
Where will Newcastle finish in the league?
I think it’s still early to predict at the moment. If we get beaten by Chelsea then again by Spurs, I can see heads dropping and us really struggling. Especially if there are any real thumpings in there. I don’t think we’ll go down however, but it could be another 15th or 16th placed season. We are such a Jekyll and Hyde team though, and a couple of decent results in the next two games would make a world of difference. I am going to predict a smack bang in the middle and ultimately boring 10th placed finish for us, full of inconsistent performances, moments of brilliance and others of pure horror. Happy Halloween everyone!
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