Positivity At Newcastle United?
Now that domestic football has taken a back seat for the international break, it’s a fair time to take stock of the current state of play at Newcastle United.
Supporters would probably have thought that if we can get to mid-November around mid-table we would have done pretty well after the summer’s turmoil and goings on, this is something I would have snapped your hands off for.
The only two blemishes on the copy book have been Hull at home and Sunderland away, take the derby out of the equation and we really can’t be too disappointed, especially with the two heartening displays against the London clubs, which to be fair beforehand we could have predicted heavy defeats and not been accused of being pessimistic.
We have a real chance of distinguishing ourselves in that league-within-a-league that sits below the top 6 with nobody running away with the honours as far as the top four are concerned.
Even Liverpool (in second) are only two wins away, while we have three ‘winnable’ games against Norwich, West Brom (at home) and Swansea (away). Can I be greedy and ask for 7-9 points before we head to Old Trafford? Why not?
Then we have Southampton, Crystal Palace and Stoke before Arsenal are in toon. Even accounting for slip ups in those eight games, is it beyond the realms of possibility we can amass 15 points from that lot? Around 30 points by January would be a fantastic return from such an underdeveloped squad, making a marked improvement on last season and little work to do by May 2014.
To do this, all we (Alan Pardew I mean) has to do is to resist the temptation to relief-drop Coloccini into the defence until either Mbiwa or Williamson lose form (and not use a poor performance against a big club as an excuse for dropping either), while also persisting with keeping Ben Arfa on the bench as his role should be primarily as an impact player for the last half an hour of games.
Another attacking option would be nice in January (whilst not at the expense of January departures and summer 2014 squad building) and keeping hold of Loic Remy. Trimming the squad of its poor dead branches can wait. It really is that simple Mr Ashley.
There is no reason we can’t keep this little run going and, even with a couple of hiccups along the way, we must surely be in a better position (in a very inconsistent league) to attack the next part of the season with a bit more optimism than previously thought.
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