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Opinion

Newcastle 4 Tottenham 0 – Laurent Robert at his most sublime 17 years ago today

7 months ago
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To not love Laurent Robert, is not to love football.

Allan Saint-Maximin is the latest French left winger on Newcastle’s books and inevitably the comparisons are made.

Although to me, there is no comparison…

It is quite bizarre that the great / very good French wingers we have seen these past two decades have all played on the left, especially when two of the four were / are predominantly right footed.

As well as Laurent Robert and Allan Saint-Maximin, NUFC have also been graced by David Ginola and Hatem Ben Arfa.

Laurent Robert is easily number one for me and then if pressed, I would say Ginola just edges Ben Arfa, with ASM a distant fourth, at least as things stand currently.

Hopefully ASM can make progress and turn his talent into more of an end product, though admittedly he has things far harder than the other three. David Ginola and Laurent Robert playing under great managers who encouraged great attacking football, whilst even Alan Pardew now looks like a real front foot manager compared to the all out negative football ASM has to put up with from Steve Bruce.

Laurent Robert is one of my very favourite players and 17 years ago today was one of his best games in a black and white shirt and certainly in terms of goalscoring, it is difficult to think of any / many Newcastle players who have ever scored two better goals in a single match.

Indeed, in this Newcastle 4 Tottenham 0 demolition job, not only did Laurent Robert hit these two screamers (watch over and over below), he also got assists for both Alan Shearer goals.

With him on one side of the pitch and Nobby Solano on the other, I personally don’t think we have had a better pair of wingers in my supporting lifetime.

I still can’t believe how many arguments I used to have about the French genius back in the day.

Compare him to David Ginola and Hatem Ben Arfa?

There is no comparison.

I loved HBA and Ginola as well BUT if you were lucky enough to be around to see and judge all three, I find it impossible to understand how any Newcastle fan would rate either above Laurent Robert.

Back in those days when we were more spoiled under Sir Bobby, a vocal minority just wanted to talk about Laurent Robert not tracking back at times.

The goals he scored and created just blow that argument away for me and I have never seen anybody take better free-kicks than Robert, nor hit the ball so hard.

Criticising Laurent Robert for his defending is like criticising Shay Given and Martin Dubravka for their goalscoring.

The sheer number of goals he scored and assists he got, put him well ahead of Ben Arfa and Ginola.

On 13 December 2003, Laurent Robert was on fire in this 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham.

This came in the middle of a run of 27 games in the Premier League and UEFA Cup where Newcastle only lost two of those games, no whingeing from Sir Bobby and his players back then about how unfair it was playing so many matches.

That season Laurent Robert scored 12 goals in all competitions, pretty much every one of them a special goal.

What a player.

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