Newcastle v Man U last night was a poor game but ironically (the original) United had more than enough chances to win the game.

While the visitors also had their share of opportunities before they were eventually gifted, it was a match that really only showed up how bad the Premier League is when you peel away the hype.

The chances that ended up being created at both ends were almost exclusively due to mistakes rather than great football, the late winner summing that up.

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What though did the game tell us about Newcastle’s players overall? Based on what I have seen previously and on what I watched last night, I think ten players are neatly split down the middle – five decent/good footballers and five who clearly aren’t Premier League players.

The odd man out in the starting eleven is Ryan Taylor, harsh to judge him in any way after coming back from those injuries but he does look way off the pace. Luckily he was up against the worst £60m winger in world football! Di Maria does look the worst signing ever made, Torres at £50m looks a bargain and Carroll at £35m looks a snip, compared to the player who broke the English transfer record.

Anyway, back to the five good/five bad, starting with the positives:

Tim Krul – Barring that late clanger (which bizarrely John  Carver says he attaches no blame to his keeper for), the Dutch keeper reminded us of just how good he can be. Hopefully was just coincidence that his big admirer was in the opposition dugout.

Daryl Janmat – Didn’t manage to get forward much but did ok defensively, has shown over the course of the season that he is a very decent player, plus easily has the highest number (six) of assists in our squad.

Fabricio Coloccini – A bit like Krul he has never repeated the consistency of that stand out 2011/12 season but despite the odd slip…he is by far our best central defender, though the competition is a bit scarce.

Moussa Sissoko – A quality player who could be devastating in a team where he is given the room to use his explosive pace. Minimal chance to show that last night but his turn of speed and quality ball that should have seen Riviere put us one up in the first half, reminded us of what he is capable of when he has the opportunity.

Papiss Cisse – Let himself down with the spitting incident and looks nailed on that we are going to be without any striker for the next few matches. Snatched at a couple of chances but his scoring ratio both in terms of minutes per goal and per chances created is excellent over the season, very unlucky with a brilliant late header that De Gea superbly turned away.

The not so good:

Mike Williamson – Wasn’t terrible last night but he’s a permanent accident waiting to happen. Quite amazing how he has so many Premier League games, must be unprecedented for such a limited player.

Sammy Ameobi – Rubbish. John Carver talks proudly of playing with two wingers – well they don’t resemble anything that I would call wingers. Incapable of crossing the ball in open play, created nothing and simply kicks the ball at the man in front of him when trying to deliver the ball into the box.

Gabriel Obertan – See comments above. Playing ok for a one and a half matches early in the season got a few people a bit over excited, the only debate surely is whether he is even worse than Sammy.

Emmanuel Riviere – Not a credible striker, well certainly not a Premier League one. Carver says he has low confidence because of his goal drought – well the fact that last night was only the ninth time Carver and Pardew had started him in the league tells you everything. Despite Newcastle’s shocking weakness up front, the French journeyman forward has consistently been overlooked. I have a feeling we are definitely looking at another Marveaux/Obertan situation, with Newcastle stuck with a player on far too big a contract and wages too prohibitive for a French club to take him back over there. Will see out his contract here, with only maybe a loan deal a possibility in the meantime.

Mehdi Abeid – Maybe the most debatable of the five but I think we are all guilty of wanting him to be a decent player, rather than really judging him properly. Many supporters were hopeful he could fill Tiote’s boots as the Ivory Coast midfielder’s popularity has bombed in recent times. Like Obertan he had one or two decent games earlier this season and because we’d hardly seen him play, we hoped he could push on from there. I think he has a bit more about him than the four above but doubt very much his level is Premier League.

Like every club, what happens in the next season relies a lot on how well you do in keeping your best players and recycling (replacing) your weakest.

In our case, the five better players, with the possible exception of Coloccini due to age, will all be the subject of transfer speculation in the coming months, whilst I have every expectation (fear) that we’ll see a new contract agreed for Sammy shortly and all five of these second group of players as part of next season’s first eighteen.

I hope I’m wrong.


  • No Brainer

    Abeid was our best player last night did his job excellently, as for the goal on reflection if Krul had used his right foot which he took the ball with he could have played it to goufran with one touch and the ball is beyond the man u player no danger Krul’s fault all day.

  • SGM

    No Brainer  What game did you watch? Abied was clearly our worst player, from the kick off, dodgy back passes, non-existent marking, gave the ball away, poor first-touch, cant head the ball, cant tackle, how many times did we see him shrug his shoulders when he fcuk-up, and the goal was defiantly down to him,

  • ArtyH

    Sadly so true, half a team.

  • martins9

    SGM No Brainer Abeid made 8 interceptions and 4 successful tackles. Sissoko just watched abeid doing all the dirty work. It is  not going to help abeid when you have c**ts not making themselves available for pass

  • Brian Standen

    Sam, would have to disagree about Abheid, best player last night until THAT moment, the rest is spot on!

  • wor monga

    No Brainer    Abeid was nervy throughout…from the start they got straight
    onto him and put him under a lot of pressure due to his inexperience, and lack
    of game time…he was caught in possession far too often which forced him into
    some very bad passing into dangerous areas…

    The goal was a terrible example of this, and showed clearly
    that he is not yet ready to play against this level of competition in
    midfield…against a team in the lower half of the PL, perhaps, but not top 5
    or 6.

  • Brownale69

    Ask yourself if any club wants your bad 5? Id take money for any of them

  • No Brainer

    SGM No Brainer i couldn’t see the shrugging mutch as i was in the stands, but he was excellent

  • wor monga

    What’s the point of rehashing this type of stuff after every
    defeat…we all know that of the 10 mentioned only Krul, Janmaat ,Sissoko and
    possibly Cisse could interest any of the clubs in the top 5 of the division.
    Cisse’s age and injury concerns would spoil his chances, and probably only Krul
    and Janmaat would likely be regular starters, where as in midfield Moussa would
    more than likely only be a back-up, until his strike rate and assists improve

    Ameobi, and Abeid should be regarded as squad members only
    this season hopefully developing enough game experience in the first team to be
    good enough for us next season. Williamson, and Obertan should only be used as
    back-ups covering injuries, and as for Rivierre… with strikers you only ‘get what
    you paid for’, and we got him on the cheap, and unfortunately he looks just

    Realistically we should keep the 5 good players you
    mentioned, and expect to see at the least, a known PL quality central defender, and striker
    (similar to Demba Ba or Remy) signed in the summer…along with Cabella, Colback,
    De Jong, Haidara, Dummett, Ayoze and Aarons to come back in.

  • Jarmin Geordie

    “Carver talks proudly about playing two wingers” thats exactly what it is, talk, because he deploys them as extra fullbacks, Sammi spent last evening nearer Raylor than their fullback

  • The Vicar


    Sammy who tends to pass or cross the ball to his team mates, gets back and defends when Haidara needs support, and who doesn’t pine for Arsenal 


    Sissoko who loses the ball or passes it to our opponents, won’t track back, and whom I would sell for a round of sandwiches let alone £20m

    and you have agreement.

    Would love Abeid to develop and thought we had a winner there. Give him a chance and let’s see after a couple of months.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer Goofie or Abeid should have launched it into the upper Leazes. The ball should have went nowhere near Krul.

  • hettonmag

    Sam, I would disagree on both Abeid  and  Riviere, fair enough Abeid didn’t  have a very good game last night he looked nervous to me and I think he suffered from Colback  not playing  alongside him. Sissoko  worries me, a man with his build and power should take the game by the scruff of the neck but he seems to go missing for long periods. As for Riviere  this lad has been messed about  this season how many times has he played the full 90 minutes,  the previous  head coach  had him up front on his own trying to receive  balls hoofed up to him that isn’t  his game. I do think had he been given the same game time as  Gouffy  we might have seen a different player, the rest of your post I tend to agree with Sam.

  • amacdee

    The Vicar I’m inclined to agree. Sissoko is a poerwhouse when he wants to BE. Its just a shame he doesnt want to BE here.

    I too would keep Sammi because he can sometimes influence a game when he arrives as a sub and Mehdi has to have at least a season to show us all what he can do. However I’m pretty sure the Plonker will drop him for Everton :-(

    Riviere is the conundrum. He outscored Falcao in a Monaco team, including Real’s Rodriguez, known for its attacking flair. The team finished second only missing out to PSG in the last few games of the season.
    Fast forward six months and the poor bloke is playing second fiddle in a team devoid of flair and creativity. Both Pardwho and now Plonker have stuck to their “containment” guns with the result that possession is ceded all too often to the opposition. 
    So if we’re giving Abeid the time to prove himself and with Cisse’s likely six match ban, we might as well give Manu the chance to step up and prove himself in these last ten games. Preferably with some support if this pillock has the cahones to realise we’re better off taking the game to Everton and putting them under some pressure !!!!!

  • The Vicar

    amacdee The Vicar 100%. Our season was in the gutter with relegation looking increasingly likely until Pardew was forced to play some of our youngsters. Once he did we started to win a few games. 

    And as you say it is the same with some of our buys. Take Yanga Mbiwa; the guy captained Montpelier to the French title for goodness sake. Pardew plays him out of position, so he’s now no good and gets transferred, to Roma, where he suddenly becomes a star. There has to be something wrong with this.

    So with the season the way it is, no CL and no relegation, then let’s just see what we have. There might be one or two surprises. 

    If I am being hopeful here (and I am not always hopeful), I would like Ashley to instruct Carver to try stuff, give people a chance. We have several in our team who have over stayed, so lets try something different. Then in the summer, we get our “manager of choice” and spend all those coins we have been saving. Spending on a few quality signings to supplement the good players we already have.

    So, the backbone of the side should be players nurtured at SJP by the best coaching system money can buy, supplemented by a few strategic big signings. I wish.

  • jimblag

    1957 I think Riv and Perez could be a good combo, people forget not all strikers should be judged on their goal record. Personally I think we have a better shape when Riviere plays and he gets himself in some decent positions. He’s been snatching at chances since the first game against city, it’ll come…one day.
    I love Perez but I do wonder whether he’s too good for us and he’s wasting his time playing for such a workman like, negative team.
    Riviere is a better over all football player than Cisse, who is simply a finisher, and I think Riv could be a different player after a few goals, still not brilliant but a decent squadie.

  • jimblag

    amacdee The Vicar We won’t, we’ll sit back hope for the best, maybe counter, maybe even win but who cares when it’s mind numbingly boring.
    I’ve never watched us play and barely cared like I did last night.

  • jimblag

    wor monga Ameobi needs to go asap, he’s just no good. My only worry is we’ll sell him and he’ll go on to become a decent player and then we’ll of had two Ameobi’s who gave us diddly squat but someone else will reap the benefits.

  • jimblag

    Brian Standen I don’t think so, he was shaky last night and at the weekend. I don’t think we should lambaste him though, he’s young, inexperienced and playing in the heart of a premier league teams midfield, it’s gonna take time.

  • jimblag

    No Brainer SGM No Brainer, you just love being difficult don’t you?

  • jimblag

    Sickandtiredstill No Brainer I agree but Krul didn’t need to panic that much, he could have taken an extra second to get under the ball or just shank it out for a corner. It was tough on him though and he had every right to be angry.

  • jimblag

    Brian Standen and time is what we have as we don’t have anything to play for (as usual) I say stick with him and try and get him up to speed for next season. If it’s not happening on any level then ship him on i guess.

  • Mal44

    Abeid had a very good game against Liverpool when he played alongside colback and Sissoko. I think a lot of people are quick to criticise a young player who has just come into the team and which was short of several key players. With some decent players around him, and dare I say a better coach in charge, I think he could be a very good player but it’s too early to judge. The problem is he’s playing in a team that is currently going nowhere. To include him in the ‘bad 5’,as the author has done, when it is far too early to judge him, is not really on. We need to give our young players a chance.

  • DownUnderMag

    Riviere I think is being unfairly judged on lack of goals rather than his overall play.  The lad is clearly desperate to get a goal and as such seems to be snatching at everything and just can’t wuite find the net.  His overall play though is actually pretty good and since this was only his second game for us having a striking partner along side him, i’d give him a little leeway.  Cisse for me was guilty of missing worse chances, it seems when he is expected to score he can’t and when he has no time to think he actually finds the net.  

    Sissoko was having an on and off night for me, some good glimpses of what he can do but also some times when he went missing.  Abeid was clearly out of his depth, a shame after so much promise early in the season.  Let’s not write him off though, everyone is entitled to an off game.  

    Ryan Taylor should not be playing in defence anyway, he would be much better out on the right wing, combining with Janmaat to deliver quality into the box for the strikers to feed off.   I kind of hope Jonas proves he can do a job at LB so we have the freedom to put Raylor a bit more up field.  Will be good to have Colback in the side again but that still leaves a massive gap in central defence where Willo is just not good enough (what happened to the top defender we saw a few seasons ago who looked like he was destined to prove himself??).  Colo alongside Willo is just a shambles, seemingly dragged all over the place trying to cover his partner.

    All up though, our season is pretty much safe, we just need to focus on one game and one game alone now…a win against Sunderland will make things seem that little bit brighter…a loss and Carver will have the hounds baying for his blood!!!

  • Jarra MIck

    Down under mag, Our season is safe? That’s the Ashley mentality getting ingrained, safety is our goal. You/we are sounding like the mackems, all that matters is safety and two games against our neighbours. Makes you fcukin weep.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Jarra MIck Yeah, safe at 12-16th somewhere. What another great achievement and step forward in the so called growth of this club and team.

  • No Brainer

    jimblag No Brainer SGM Sometimes but not this time i genuinely thought he was very good, I think maybe the end clouds the judgement?
    The policy weds night was let them have the ball well go on the break, the plan worked and they literally had made only two good chances all night. We on the other hand had at least four.