Wednesday, 29 August 2012

NUFC Transfer Policy Has One Major Flaw

It doesn't look like NUFC will be going in for Debuchy again, even if Lille win or lose there Champions League qualifier this eve. Well certainly not with anything they haven't already gone in with. Ashley and Llambias value Mathieu Debuchy at £5million and no more. They come to this valuation based on his age and what the potential sell-on value would be. From a business point of view a potential sell-on value stance towards players bought for a significant amount of money, makes sense and on the whole is a very strong policy to have financially when it comes to transfers. I like it. The days of spending vast's amounts of transfer money on a player who end's up a flop and we end up selling for a fraction of the price are over. No longer will an Albert Luque happen or a Michael Owen bleed us dry. 
However, there is one major flaw that seem's completely missed on Ash and Derek. Not all player's we sign will or will even need to be sold on, so what difference does it make? For example, Fabricio Coloccini signed for us for £10million and he will (hopefully) end his career on Tyneside in a few years. He has been a glorified success. We will recoup none of the £10million fee shipped out for him, but who cares? The money we have made from successful Premier League finishes makes up for that. Not to mention the fact we have had a brilliant captain for 5 years. Debuchy fit's into this example for me. Why would we need to sell on Debuchy? For a fee of £8million, we would have a very good player that will improve the team significantly and that will bring it's own financial rewards. This (for now) failure of not signing Debuchy is proof that this unshakable sell-on strategy is not always correct in the world of football. Football is a business yes, but only second behind a sport. 

If we were to sign Debuchy tomorrow he would improve our team. No question. With an improved team comes improve results. With improved results comes more financial income from success. That's the theory. Now buying players meaning a team will definitely have better results isn't an exact science, by any means. So teams need to be careful at what they spend their hard earned dosh on. Which is why NUFC have this sell on policy in the first place. For example, if Anita doesn't turn out to be as good as we all hope than the club will look to sell him on for at least the money they paid for him at around £6million. He is 23 as it stands and we should be able to recoup our money no matter what, as players tend to peak in their mid-twenties. However, If he is successful on Tyneside, then that's when the sell-on policy really comes into it's own as we would sell him on, if the right offer came in, for a significant profit. The strategy is aimed at bringing in players at no older than 26 and for as smaller fee as possible, as to the estimated potential value. So Debuchy at 27 for a fee of anything above the estimated £5million - doesn't fall into this strategy. Unfortunately for us fans.

What's flawed with the above, if you take the fact Debuchy signing for us would make us a better team as a given, is if you were to ask most football fan's, managers, journos alike how much do you think Debuchy is worth? An average fee of around £8mil will probably be the answer. Which I reckon is pretty spot on, and so do Lille. He is a quality right back, who is 27 years old, he plays in a good league but not a top league for a good team but not the top team and so a good fee of around 10million Euros (£8mil) is about right. Lille can't demand any more than that and expect to sell him...but they aren't. They are being totally reasonable. It's NUFC who are being unreasonable.

What seems clear is NUFC will not offer more than £5million for Mattieu Debuchy. Really? From a football point of view that is laughable. Which I am sure the Lille chairman did when he read the fax/email from NUFC with their 'offer'. From a purely business point of view though, it does make sense from Newcastle's end. Debuchy is 27 and if NUFC were to sell him on at some point in the future they could hardly demand a fee of £8mil, or its very unlikely. £5mil is about right. 

However, like I touched on before. Why would we need to sell on Debuchy? Why can't we sign him and have a quality defender who will hopefully end his career on Tyneside after a successful spell. Just like Captain Colo. Surely when a player like the quality of Debuchy comes along and says quite blatantly, 'I want to sign for Newcastle' we need to make exceptions to the rule. This is a player who has been linked with Real Madrid this morning as well as Inter Milan and Chelsea. He is quality. He is one of the top full back's in Europe. He want's to sign for Newcastle Utd? Ahead of Madrid? Ahead of Milan? He's available for £8million? Sign him up! From a football point of view you can see how this is a no-brainer. Unfortunately from this seemingly set in stone transfer policy we have. It doesn't look like it's going to happen. Which is absolutely criminal.

I hope I am writing all of this in vain come Friday night. I hope either NUFC have improved there offer for Debuchy and he becomes a NUFC player or for some reason Lille decide to sell him on the cheap after all. I am not very hopeful though to be honest. It looks dead in the water. A deal that to any football person seems to be the most obvious, no brainer, nothing to think about transfer you could possibly imagine for a club like ours...isn't going to happen. Like I say. Criminal.

There has to be exceptions to any rule. Even in business.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

NUFC Dont Need A New Centre Back

Apparently Douglas doesn't want to leave FC Twente to join NUFC. I for one aren't bothered in the slightest. We don't even need another centre back, due to the complete turnaround in James Perch. The lad is class these days and long may it continue. All Douglas's arrival would have done is cause the odd problem here and there for Pardew in to who to play and more importantly, who to drop. Douglas wouldn't have been happy sitting on the bench for his new club would he, and why should Saylor have to sit out? Where as Perchy seems happy enough to be used when Pardew seems fit without a single moan or whinge.
If we are to bring in a centre back, it should be someone who is an up and comer. A younger player to be brought into the team slowly. Possibly as a replacement for Captain Colo when he finally hands up his boots in a few years. 


We have plenty of games to play this season (hopefully) once we get into the Europa League group stages, as well as a decent cup run domestically. So having 4 centre backs is a good option to have. With Colo, Saylor and Perch we have at least 3. Unfortunately the other is Willo, who on his day can go 90 mins without incident but on another completely meltdown and be responsible for a car crash like he did at Spurs, Fulham and Wigan last season. Those games were horrendous. However, at home he seems less likely to implode. So to put him in for a Europa League, FA/League Cup, or a league game v one of the also ran's of the Premier League on home turf, doesn't seem too bad to me.

We have 4 centre backs, we do not require a 5th. Especially when that player will use up some of our transfer budget money that can be used towards a new striker and full back. Which are a lot more imperative in my eyes. 
Douglas doesn't want to come? I ain't bothered.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Ryan Taylor Deserve To Start On Saturday?

Raylor did what he did best last night and got us out of a jam (if we're being honest) with a trademark 'over the wall' free kick. It was another beauty to add to his collection. Now given the fact he has this ability in his locker, is it worth keeping him in the team for Saturday's trip to London? A free kick may be the best chance of scoring against a strong Chelsea team and Davide Santon hasn't exactly been outstanding so far this season/pre-season.

A problem with this is of course is that Raylor played the full game last night so may be a tad tired for 2 games in 48 hours, but what is undeniable is that it is a shame he hasn't got a regular place in our team given what he brings. Not only can he ping in a free kick from seemingly anywhere on the pitch, but he can also shoot from range in open play and provide service into the box. Something our 1st choice full backs seem to lack. If the Chelsea game was on Sunday, like it should have been, then I would argue his case a bit stronger. However, it may be a stretch too far.
Also, with Raylor out of the team it's not like Yohan Cabaye is incapable of taking over free kick duties. The strikes against Man Utd and Blackburn are still fresh in the memory.

Speaking of set pieces, a problem I have already noticed this season is we haven't exactly turned around our fortune from corner kicks. We were abysmal last season from corners. I think we scored one all season. That is a disgrace. So whoever is taking the corners whether it be Raylor, Cabaye or even Benny, we need to stop this 'whipping it into the box' tactic and just drop it in there like we used to in the Carroll/Nolan days. This was our best weapon 2 seasons ago, suddenly corner's are our weakest. It isn't good enough. Just think where we could finish with a few more 'bonus' goals from set pieces...

Over the wall!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Cisse To Start Tonight

It's been a long time coming but NUFC are back in Europe. We take a 19 man squad over to Greece to try and get a result to make the home leg as simple as possible. The squad is Harper, Krul, Simmo, Willo, Saylor, Perch, Raylor, Santon, Tavernier, Amalfintano, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Gosling, Cabaye, Anita, Jonas, Obertan, Campbell & Cisse.

The last man on that list has to start tonight for me. Given the lack of options up front, sticking Campbell in a team that will already be weaker than our strongest line-up may be one step too far. It's imperative that we come away with a goal or two at least, no matter if we win, lose or draw to give us something to work off in the home leg. The theory of putting Cisse on with 20 mins left if we need him sound's ok, but there is no guarantee he will come on and get the chance needed to score. Playing him from the off and then taking him off as early as possible depending on the scoreline is surely the better option. Why take the risk of not qualifying for the sake of Chelsea on Saturday? As far as I am concerned this game in Greece is more important than the one at Stamford Bridge. Even though we will have the chance to rectify any mistakes in the 2nd leg, we don't want to leave ourselves too much to do and not even qualify. That would be horrendous.
The theory of leaving our best team for Saturday is also slightly flawed as our strongest team could still be turned over comfortably by Chelsea. Beat Atromitos and then cross the Chelsea bridge when we come to it.

In a perfect world we would send out our reserve team tonight, win & then beat Chelsea with our first team on Saturday. Worst case scenario, this slight risk Pardew is taking could bite us on the arse and be climbing a mountain come the 2nd leg and then get beat on Saturday anyway. If this happened I would cry. We need to rest key players tonight only in areas we can cover with significant quality. Raylor, Willo, Marveaux, Anita, Obertan, Gosling & Amalfitano fall into this category. Campbell to start ahead of Cisse may be a step too far. I hope I am wrong. If the lad does start, I hope he has a stormer but it's a big risk to add to the slight risk we are already taking.

All of this is ridiculous anyway as having to play Chelsea 2 days after an away leg in Europe is an absolute disgrace. What are UEFA & The FA thinking of? Would Man Utd for example have to deal with this? No chance. It's a joke. A joke that could cost us a result tonight or a result on Saturday, or worse, both.

Howay lad's, let's get these Greeks beat.

Ever seen a mackem in Athens...?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Team For Atromitos

Spurs have been discarded with pretty much our strongest available side & with Chelsea away to come (disgracefully just 48 hours after we finish out match in Greece), what team is Pardew going to a) take & b) play?

Well one thing for sure is their will be no magic from Ben Arfa as he will be serving the first of his three match ban in Europe he picked up for Marseille in 2010. That's a shame, but I doubt he would have started anyway due to the Spurs game being his first since the Euros. Have a good rest Benny, much deserved. Shola picked up an injury in the warm up before a ball was even kicked on Saturday so he will probably be out, nice one Shola. What hasn't been resolved officially yet to my knowledge is the going's on with Sylvain Marveaux. No one could find the lad to inform him he wasn't dropped after all but on the bench after Shola's mishap. All being well he will probably be in the starting line-up as I am sure that is why Pardew didn't select him, to save him for Thursday. The same goes for another Frenchman Amalfitano. He wasn't selected for the initial squad on Saturday but was drafted in after Marveuax's disappearing act. He will probably start. Seeing as Benny is suspended Mr Obertan will get his chance to impress. He better take it. Sammy Ameobi seems to be struggling also, however Vuckic should be fit so he will probably get the nod up front. Whether Pard's will start one of our star Senegalese hit-men to play with him is doubtful I reckon. Anita, Willo & possibly Raylor should be in for a start also.

Taking it all into account with the game just gone, the quality of the opposition & and the almost immediate Chelsea game I am going to plump for this as our starting line-up:

Krul; Simpson; Willo; Perch; Raylor; Amalfitano; Anita; Gosling; Marveaux; Obertan; Vuckic.

Something of a 4-4-1-1/4-5-1 type set up. We have seen it in pre-season with Obertan playing off the striker. He may play Raylor in midfield and stick James Tavienier at the back but I reckon we can look forward to something like the above to at least start the game. Which senior players he will take to come off the bench if a disaster is occurring before our eyes is a mystery. Ba and Cisse may be there as well as Cabaye and Cheik. With Saylor on stand by also. Who knows. What is for sure is the team that starts will be a lot different to the one that started against Spurs and the one to start against Chelsea just 2 days later.

Toon are back in Europe!...let's just get through and make it last please.

Howay!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Pardew Was 'Ridiculous'

That was a strange opening day to the season. Marveaux went AWOL as he was going to be named on the bench after initially being out of the squad but no-one could find him. Pardew got sent off for pushing a linesman because he didn't give a throw in. We played absolutely abysmal...but after all that, we still won! Unbelievable.

Pardew said to the BBC that his behaviour was ridiculous after pushing a linesman, and he is right he was ridiculous...but his team set up was more ridiculous than pushing some lino. What is he seeing we all aren't? Could he not see Ba and Cisse totally void of any service as our midfield struggled to cope with defending against Spurs 5 midfielder's, than once doing so struggling to provide any decent forward play. He had a pretty good view from up in the stands but refused to change anything until the 85th minute when it didn't make a blind bit of difference.
We won. We're happy. I am not complaining. However, just because Demba Ba picked out a peach and Ben Arfa is an absolute beast doesn't hide the fact that Spurs should have won that game and we were dog awful for 90% of that match. The first half was a write off. Did we even create a genuine chance? It's boll*cks.

We have some cracking players in our team but most of which are not being allowed to show it by being suffocated in this pre-historic, nonsensical, ineffective horsesh*t. Jonas is not a winger, he has no real pace and cant cross to save his life even when he does manage to get beyond the middle of the pitch. Cabaye needs to get forward to create his magic but can't because he is up against 3 centre midfielder's and would leave Chiek totally exposed. Cheik's good, but he isn't that good. Ben Arfa was getting more frustrated as the day went on. He was getting none of the ball so decided to take the bull by the horn's and drift into the centre. This decision saved our asses. He and Cabaye combined in the attacking third for the first time in the whole game on 54 minutes and we scored off it. The goal also came from one of the very few crosses we even attempted in the game. So why not do this more often? It obviously works. Last season we had one of the best chances to goal ratio in the league. So common sense tells you that if we were to create more chance's, we would score more goals. It's that simple.

Not one NUFC fan can genuinely say we played well yesterday and most of them will say given the choice, they would much rather see us line-up in the 4-3-3 formation we all witnessed last season as it has more fluidity, it suits our players and is a hell of a lot more effective and exciting than this flat 4-4-2 nonsense. We win games IN SPITE of this flat set-up not because of it. We got lucky yesterday. Mainly because Spurs don't have much fire power (strangely), if they had, they would have won that game & none of us could have complained. What I don't understand is that most of us can see how much of a better team we are in the other formation & also see how dull we are in this one...but the one man who counts can't. Alan Pardew is the man who introduced the 4-3-3 in the first place! Someone explain this to me.
Just get back to 4-3-3 asap. Please.

What was worrying before we had even kicked a ball yesterday is that Silvain Marveaux seemed to go AWOL on us. He wasn't in the original squad, which is ridiculous considering his pre-season brilliance, and it seems he didn't like it so packed his bag and f*cked off home to watch the game on the telly. However, Shola than got himself injured in the warm up (different season, same old Shola) and he was than going to be named on the bench...but no-one could find him. What is going on?
First off what is Pard's thinking not having Marveaux in the squad? Is he on crack? Is that why he is pushing linesman around? Because he is off his tit's? Secondly, how do you lose a player? Marveaux was obviously disgusted at being dropped indefinetly but he shouldn't be leaving the stadium under any circumstances. Perhap's Pard's is saving him for the Greece trip on Thursday, which is understandable. In this case what are you doing Marv's? How is p*ssing off home gonna get you in the team? Bad form. Hopefully this will be sorted out soon.

Anyway, we won and judging by how toothless Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool are looking...am I the only one with a sneaky eye on that 4th place spot? Seems up for grabs to me.

Howay!

Friday, 17 August 2012

NUFC To Play 4-3-3 Tomorrow?

The new season is upon us, we have (so far) managed to hang on to our key players & also added a few. So what's our system going to be this year? In pre-season Pard's has (worryingly) mainly lined us up in a flat 4-4-2, which is as exciting to watch as a full day's test match of cricket without any beer & as effective as a mackem on university challenge, at times. This system has it's time & place for sure but to be Plan A going into this season leaves me a bit disillusioned. As good as our season was last year we can count on one hand the outstanding performances we actually had, especially with the 'hoofball' tactics we seemed to fall into on countless occasions. Whereas the West Brom away game seemed to be a revelation & turning point not only in our season but of our future as a football team. When Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse & Ben Arfa attacked as an unstoppable tripod with Yohan Cabaye providing the ammunition, we all purred as we totally destroyed them hands down and then took that into the Swansea, Liverpool & Stoke victories to name a few. It was a sight to be hold.

However, even after this we still slipped back into lining up as a 4-4-2 and if it weren't for the individual genius of Ben Arfa and Cisse, we wouldn't have had the results we did closing off the season. The change back to hoofball horsesh*t seemed only to keep the sulking Demba Ba happy and to make sure he didn't activate his release clause this summer, instead of helping the actual team overall. Other than for that reason, it didn't really make any sense. 
Well that time has passed now. Demba's release clause is no longer active & he's going nowhere. So can we move on from this attitude of pleasing him on all costs, it was a bit shameful and I didn't like it one bit. It also seems Demba has a shin problem anyway and is struggling to be fit for tomorrow's game. So will this force Pardew's hand?

Papiss Cisse is expected to be fit and raring to go and proved to revel playing in the centre of a front 3. With also the new signing of Vurnon Anita & fingers crossed Tiote to be fit (less so Cabaye) we could be forced to play 4-3-3 with only Shola being the other fit striker available. He cant start for the sake of playing 4-4-2 surely?
Silvain Marveaux has been absolute class in pre-season and seems like a new signing himself so he must surely be in for a much welcomed start, probably on the left wing. Jonas seems at home in the centre of midfield these days so if Cabaye doesn't make it, he is capable of filling in. Disappointingly Ben Arfa doesn't look to be fit enough yet to play so it will be Sammy Ameobi and Obertan to fight out that place on the right wing. Or even Amafiltano. He is another player capable of sitting on the right of a midfield three or on the right hand side. A midfield 5 to choose from Marveaux, Jonas, Anita, Tiote, Amafiltano, Obertan & Sammy seems like a much better option than sticking in the totally unpredictable lump of Shola for the sake of a less effective system.

Spurs will no doubt line up in a 4-5-1/4-3-3 system themselves with Van der Vaart in the hole, so sticking either Tiote or Anita on him is a must. He had a stormer of a game at St James' last season. He must be stopped. Being outnumbered in midfield with a new signing of Anita in there doesn't seem like a piece of tactical genius to me. That's if indeed he does play. What's for certain with no Cabaye or even potentially no Tiote, we need as many bodies in the centre of the pitch to counter Spurs as much as possible.

All of the above is not an exact science. We may line-up 4-3-3 and get smashed or stick 2 up front and win comfortably. However, what I do know is, if I am sat watching Steven Taylor continuously lump the ball up towards a bumbling Shola as our main weapon of choice...I think I will burst into tears.

Do the right thing Pard's. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Official Vurnon Anita Signs - Is It 4-3-3 Now Than?

Vurnon Anita has signed a 5 year deal after a transfer fee of £6.6million had been agreed between NUFC and Ajax. The midfielder, come part-time full back, will wear the number 8 shirt.

Not exactly the signing many would have chosen given first choice, but to see a quality player come through the door finally, is a relief. Especially when you see the amount of fixtures we have at the beginning of the season. Our squad will be stretched slightly almost immediately.
Our priority this pre-season as regards to strengthening the squad were clearly in the full back and striker areas, although Anita 'can also play at full back' he is clearly a midfielder and will play there as much as possible. At first glance it may seem a tad underwhelming to have another midfielder come in after the capable Romain Amafiltano and the rookie Gael Bigirimana to go along with the very impressive Silvain Marveaux who seems like a new signing himself. However, if Anita is assumed to be a first team player than this may be a big moment for our season. Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote are clearly in the first team so to add Vurnon Anita to this impressive duo, could this force Alan Pardew's hand in playing 4-3-3 this season as his Plan A? I for one bloody well hope so!

4-4-2 last season was unwatchable at times and already this pre-season it has left me disillusioned as to what  Pard's is even thinking of. It's bollocks. It encourages 'hoof-ball' football and it just isn't good enough if we have any genuine ambition this season. Whereas the 4-3-3, in which Pardew himself introduced, looked very impressive last season. In fact already this pre-season whenever Pardew has brought on a number of subs in games and then gone 4-3-3/4-5-1 from the flat 4-4-2 formation we started with, we look a much better team. It's worrying that Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse don't seem to be able to be an affective partnership we all would dream of, but that could be a blessing in disguise. We have to set our stall out to be a 4-3-3 team along with the rest of the 21st century and stick to it. It works. We have seen it work. So why go back to Neanderthal tactics when it's not necessary or even effective.

Now i'm not saying 4-4-2 doesn't work full stop. There is a time and a place for it. For example when we play some of the big boys and we can expect to be not ahead in the possession stakes. It worked brilliantly against Man Utd last season. There centre back's couldn't handle our front two. Also at Chelsea, we vacated midfield and got the ball up to Cisse and Ba as quickly as possible & Cisse did the rest. Thriker!

Welcome to Newcastle Vurnon Anita. He isn't Debuchy nor Carroll but we will all welcome him with open arms all the same. I for one just hope his presence welcomes the 4-3-3 system most of us crave for to go along with it.

Howay!