Newcastle United: No Reason For Pessimism

August 29, 2012 in Premier League

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Everybody has Newcastle pegged for 7th or 8th place this season. Everyone believes that now they have achieved their European dream once again, they will struggle more and more in the league, but you know what? I don’t believe this is true.

So far, in the early part of this season, Newcastle admittedly haven’t set the world alight. But they have battled hard in their victory and defeat in the league, that can at least be said. Against Spurs, they showed, once again, that with the fabulous pair of strikers they have, that if the opposition makes a tiny mistake, the ball can very easily end up in the back of the net. And with flair players like Hatem Ben Arfa, who really impressed me in the opener, it provides a completely new side for a team that was once known for their brawn, rather than their skill. Against Chelsea this past weekend, they started slow, and with the electric Eden Hazard running all over the pitch causing problem after problem, it was going to be hard to get anything, and sure enough, they didn’t. But again, they showed heart! They didn’t stop playing, or let Chelsea dominate more than they had in the first half, and in the second, they could have got back into it, but for some wasteful finishing.

But remember, this is after a few of the top players, such as Cabaye and Cissé, had travelled to Greece to play a match in the Europa League just two days beforehand. And to get a draw away from home, in between a very tough couple of matches, with a lot of younger players out on the pitch, was a respectable achievement. This Thursday, Newcastle are at it once more, but hopefully the home advantage will see them push themselves into the group stages. So even though they were up against a Chelsea side who have spent around £80m in the transfer window, compared to Newcastle’s paltry £8m, they can say they put up a hell of a fight!

And due to this never-say-die spirit that the Toon have adopted, I can actually see them pushing for a Champions League spot this year. Some may call me unrealistic, others may call me downright stupid. But look at the stats. Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea should occupy the top three spots no problem this season. But in my opinion, it will be just like last season, with Arsenal, Spurs and Newcastle battling it out for the coveted fourth place in the league. And if you look at the competition in the early stages, Arsenal haven’t even managed to score yet, against Sunderland (before they started buying everyone) and Stoke, who, to be fair, can be tough teams to face, but two 0-0 draws? I wouldn’t expect that from a team who has just signed up Giroud, Cazorla and Podolski.

Spurs let in a late equaliser against a West Brom side, who, much like Stoke and Sunderland, I wouldn’t expect to see above mid table. That coupled with the loss of Luka Modric, and the lack of up-front talent in their locker room, with only three strikers on the books at the minute, Spurs are going to have to hurry up and conclude some deadline day deals to try and contend for the thing they sadly missed out on last season due to Chelsea’s European triumph: Champions League football. And unless Liverpool’s ‘revolution’ really kicks into gear over the next few weeks, it looks like they’ll be floundering in eighth or so with Everton and Sunderland.

If in the last few days of the transfer window, Newcastle can tie up a deal for another striker, someone as back up for Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé, they should be able to move everyone around and rotate enough for European football, so everyone stays happy and match fit, assuming Newcastle do get through the play off stage. All in all, with a couple of extra players, I think Newcastle could push on and become that side that penetrated the top four, just like they did ten years ago.

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