One of the reasons we’ve given the true faith website something of an upgrade is so we can provide further content and part of that extra material is going to come from the chaps that provide us with the excellent Podcasts which are now such an integral part of our output.
Alex Hurst and the Pod Squad will be providing something different to the main fare of Newcastle United-related material you usually expect from us and this is the first in what we expect to be a whole new range of Blogs we hope meet our mission to inform and entertain our fellow supporters. Over to Alex:
Three Up Three Down
Hello. This is the first of a weekly blog looking at the winners and losers of the weekends Premier League action. This piece is being penned before Everton take on West Brom so you’ll have to excuse their potential omission because I can’t see how either club could possibly to do anything remotely interesting in that fixture besides the Premier League’s worst player Steven Naismith scoring more hat tricks. I’m saying that as a huge fan of Naismith who has almost no redeemable qualities as a player apart from a huge heart quite literally – he’s a champion for Glasgow’s homeless and Liverpool’s unemployed (okay maybe he doesn’t LITERALLY have a ‘big’ heart but he’s a top bloke) – but he scores vital goals and contributes. He’s our Goufrann. But better and with slightly more hair (does he bleach it?).
If you don’t know us we do the tf weekly podcast each week where we spend half the show talking about NUFC’s latest defeat and the other half about the weekend Premier League’s action. These blogs will discuss the Premier League as I’m sure you’ll agree you’ll not find any better analysis and discussion of Newcastle United than on this website and in the fanzine. So we’ll leave the United discussion to the experts and concentrate on the rest of the league.
If you’ve listened to the podcast or the radio show you’ll be aware that we operate without some outrageously unfair bias against certain teams and a fair bit of factual inaccuracy.
Here’s my take on the weekend that was
- The promoted teams
Pre-December is a crucial period for the teams fresh out of the Championship. They’re still fresh, not ravaged by endless injuries and suspensions and they, well, try harder than many of the established teams they face at the start of the season. Looking at the results close defeats for Watford and Bournemouth as well as a credible draw for Norwich and you may not see the impending disaster I do.
Bournemouth were playing a dire Stoke side who’s season to date had yielded only 1 more point than ours despite a comfortable fixture list. The Cherries that know lost their best player for the season to a bad injury and they played more than well enough to win the game.
Watford have picked up two great wins, against the two teams displaying the poorest form in the division at the moment I Swansea (more on them to follow) and us of course. Sheff Wednesday reserves actually made Watford look a bit bad, causing our shower far more problems than the Hornets did in their deserved victory last Saturday. I hear people constantly talking about Watford’s great defence but that simply won’t last. Palace was a good test for them and they never looked like scoring Eventually defensive stability will have to make way to a little more attacking endeavour. Apart from Man City Watford have faced none of last season’s top 7 and only 2 of the top 10 so far. Tougher tests await.
Norwich look the best equipped to survive but throwing away two points in a game they dominated will come back to haunt them.
A reasonable set of fixtures for the promoted sides lead to 2 points out of 9. This is the part of the season they need to go big. They didn’t do that this weekend.
- Gary Monk
Three defeats in four games and no wins in that time. Just one consolation goal scored. Gary Monk has been very well backed this summer with proven quality being added to an already able squad packed with experience and flair at this level. Swansea have taken the opposite route to NUFC paying big money to agents and players to secure free transfers for quality players, and for the first part of this season wins against us, MUFC and a draw at Chelsea signalled that Swansea were ready to have a tilt at the top 6 or even top 4 this season.
To many Swansea fans, their play has become predictable and teams are managing to easily nullify their attacking threats by sitting deep and forcing the impatient Swansea midfielders to shoot from distance. Gary Monk seems to have no plan B and defensive frailty has crept into their game as the pressure of not scoring provides a different pressure for defences.
Home games against Tottenham and Stoke may re-kindle the fire of early season but doubts remain over Garry Monk and what actual effect he’s had on this side who’s journey to the Premier League’s top 10 has been consistently progressive. The last manager to see Swansea’s progress stall, Michael Laudrupp, didn’t last too long.
A 3 0 defeat at Old Trafford doesn’t sound like the end of the world. In reality Sunderland’s problems are so much bigger than that. NUFC are currently so poor, but there have been glimpses at Old Trafford and at home to Southampton, Arsenal and now Chelsea. Sunderland’s 2 points this season have come at home to a Swansea side who should have easily beaten them considering their control of the game and the chances created and away at fellow relegation fodder Vile.
Some Sunderland fans might think this rich coming from a side one place and point above them, but United have Mitrovic, Perez, Mebemba, Winjaldum. McClaren hopefully has discovered that two up front is the way forward. It’s way too early to say United are relegation battlers.
Despite a very comfortable set of fixtures to kick the season off – Dick Advocaat has already admitted 17th is the aim and SAFC are already looking like a long way off achieving that.
- Maurocio Poccettino
The Spurs manager has been afforded something which his predecessor’s haven’t – time. From the outside it seems strange as Spurs ended up sacking the last two managers after 5th and 4th place finishes when facing sides in the top six with far greater resources than their own.
Pocctino came from Southampton with a reputation of building sides at Espanyol and then Southamtpon. Despite some doubts last season and early this, it seems like he may be be constructing a side than can breach the top 4 if they perform as they did on Saturday.
- Arsene Wenger
Since Arsenal undeservedly won at United last month things haven’t gone great for Arsene Wenger. His side have been beaten in Europe and beaten at arch rivals Chelsea. Arsenal’s average start to the season has been tempered by strong performances against some of the league’s lesser sides. More importantly to a lot of Arsenal fans all of this has been done while the side carries Alexis Sanchez. The little Chillean has been playing none stop football since the World Cup and lead his side to a brilliant, if exhausting, home triumph in this Summers’s Coppa America.
Sanchez smashed a brilliant hat trick in Arsenal’s clinical 5 2 win at high flying Leicester. For the first time in years Wenger has competition for places up front with Theo Walcott consistently performing in that position and now he has one of the best players in Europe back on song.
With all the of top sides faltering – could this be Arsenal’s year?
- Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers believes there’s some sort of conspiracy by those ‘outside of the club’ to create a ‘media storm’ about his future. Hmmm. Brendan Rodgers has spent £292 million pounds on players since he assumed the position at Liverpool 3 years ago. The knives have been out and despite Anfield being broadly supportive, there has been a lot of written discontent from sections of Liverpool’s support. Considering that Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp won’t be out of jobs for much longer, there’s been a lot of pressure from Liverpool fans for the manager to be changed . A vocal minority anyway.
Vile are shite. We all know that but Saturday was a rare moment of breathing space for Rodgers. Despite the close score line, Liverpool were the superior side and played with an attacking freedom that hadn’t been evident in months. It was a start, and anything less than a win could have been the start of the end for Rodgers. Daniel Sturridge was in great form and will surely only get better.
For a week at least, Brendan Rodgers will be OK.
ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892