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Continuing To Leak Goals and No 20 Goals A Season Player Is Not A Good Mix…

7 years ago

In the lead up to the new season, we have thrown out some random thoughts/questions to some of our regular contributors and asked for their feedback.

Horsey is up first.

This pre-season I’ve kind of lost interest to be honest.

If I thought the club had a plan to integrate players they genuinely feel are going to make the first team on the opening day, I might have made more of an effort.  However, as increasingly seems to be the case, you never know what you are going to get from one friendly to another.

20 Goals A Season?

My opinion of pre-season is about getting your first team players up to match speed, in a formation that you want to play, with the players you think are going to be in the first 22, actually playing in the position that they are best suited to.  I wouldn’t be changing personnel too much, so they can get used to playing with each other, especially with several new players added to the squad.

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I don’t even think we have 22 players fit to grace the first team.  I still think we need at least one if not two commanding centre-halves, and a proven 20 goal a season man as a minimum.  I have lots of unanswered worries about the new boys’ credentials to cut it in the Premier League.  I guess time will tell.

I’m not bothered particularly about the pre-season results if the performances are heading in the right direction.  Though I’d rather be playing more decent top flight teams rather than sub-standard backwater opposition, to get a better benchmark of where we are.  Defensively we’ve looked decidedly dodgy and that is my biggest concern.  If we are going to concede as easily as we did last term, with nobody to score more goals at the other end, it is not a good mix to have.

First eleven with everybody fit? It’s worrying when you don’t readily know the answer to that!!

It would take too long to give a rationale for this selection.  I’m sure debate will ensue and opinions vary hugely on this one.  Ask me in October and it will probably be very different.


Janmatt, Colo and Williamson (although I’d prefer them both to be the back-up), Santon

Cabella, Tiote, Sissoko, De Jong

Riviere, Cisse

Hatem Ben Arfa is in short, ‘a waste of talent’.  You wonder what a Keegan or Robson would have done with him.  Maybe he’s a victim of playing in a team that underperforms and can’t get away with carrying someone like him when he’s not on form.  I also wonder if he just doesn’t have the mentality or desire in himself to prove what he can do.  Yes he had a bad injury but you can only use that excuse for so long.

It seems petty if he’s being fined for being slightly(?) overweight and criticised.  If he’s become stronger as a result and is willing to knuckle down and prove how good he thinks he is and actually does it on the pitch then so what!!

He will probably be one of those players we all want to perform well in black and white but is more than likely to move on.  He’ll either be the same elsewhere (so we can say told you so) or develop into a cult figure we should have held on to (so he can say I told you so).

If I knew what went on behind the scenes I’d be better placed to say, ‘keep him but play him’ or ‘flog him’.  As a club we need to decide which it is and stick to it.  I always thought Keiron Dyer (as only one example) would come good for us (even Sir Bobby couldn’t manage him) and in the end never reached his full potential and was a disruptive influence.  Ben Arfa in some respects reminds me of him.

If first half of season was a disaster how do you think Ashley would react?

It depends how much of a disaster the other teams around us are having.  If there looks to be 4 or 5 in a similar position I imagine he’ll do nothing other than keep his fingers crossed they’ll be worse and we reach 40 points, job done.  Or maybe he’ll use some diversion tactic of renaming ‘The Milburn’ as “The Mike Ashley Vacant Seat Stand’ to draw attention away from it.

As we all do, I want the best for NUFC and it would be nice to think Pardew (or anyone that’s been the manager) will get it right.  Further wallopings off the opposition and weak surrenders… as recent history suggests, will see Pardew rewriting the excuse book again.

If this is the case then I think the only way he will go is if the crowd perform like they did against Cardiff on a regular basis.  I’m surprised it took that long for a reaction like that.  Maybe it is Ashley’s plan to be so annoying that he gets the flak which gives Pardew a get out excuse.

The problem is, no matter how much it would make sense, there is nobody else with an ounce of credibility who would replace him under the same conditions surely, is there??

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