The football’s back and the matches are coming thick and fast, barely blinked and all of a sudden we’re back in action this time away at Swansea. Given the performance last Sunday I think there’s a lot to be positive about for the upcoming season, we actually played football in the correct manner and it managed to get the crowd involved. Of course there were elements there to be improved on, notably the way the fitness levels dissolved during the final twenty minutes but given the chaotic pre- season and our opponents experience of competitive football already this season that shouldn’t be a surprise and is a problem that will address itself.
Despite the impressive performance last week there were a couple of players involved who I don’t think have a long term future at Newcastle, namely Obertan and Cisse. It is possible they will retain their places on Saturday due to an assist and a goal respectively however neither looked like players who fit into McClaren’s philosophy. Despite Cisse’s effort and endeavour he has never been a great hold up player and Obertan lacks the football brain required. If it were left up to me Aarons and Mitrovic would be in there but the talk coming out of St. James’ is that both players are to be gradually introduced to the starting line-up. The defence again is a concern with both goals defendable and coming from high balks into the box, something we have struggled with continually over recent years; one positive was the higher defensive line aided by the introduction of Mbemba’s pace meaning that we came under less sustained pressure than we would have done last season. Not much has been said of Anita’s condition after being stretchered off on Sunday and we can only assume that no news is good news, he was excellent in that game and could well be a key player for us over the coming months; I wouldn’t like to see Tiote out there given his cameo on Sunday, he looked like a player who hadn’t kicked a ball in 6 months.
Our opponents are actually my tip to be the surprise package of the season. Swansea have built a solid structure with a clear playing style their players seem to buy into and a solid defence to boot. They’re strong all over the pitch and don’t give much away when they’re at home, the pace they have on the wing worries me as does the threat of Gomis; a player who has really settled into the Premier League and had we stumped up the signing on fee and wages would have prevented us from enduring a relegation scrap last season.
On a side note, I hope all of my fellow Black & White Labour Party supporters stick to their convictions and don’t succumb to the patronising pleas and threats from neoliberals and establishment figures alike. Get out there and vote for Jeremy Corbyn, this is the best chance in my lifetime to shake up the political landscape and bring an end to the Thatcherite consensus; let’s not waste it.