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Topics - trophy4toon

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Welcome to a new season at St James Park , soon to be named House of Fraser Mall.

As Mike Ashley continues to defy the laws of the Premier League and make record savings whilst targeting the optimum 10th place in the league and ensuring no players get injured in a cup competition that might put those ambitions at risk.

To be honest we have a great manager and a lot of new players. Much will depend on how good they are.

Tottenham have just bought a new stadium so you can understand why they may not have bought any players.

So the game of the none spenders begins. To be honest, after watching Manchester United stuttering against Leicester last night, it's clear to see spending money brings no guarantees on entertainment.

Lets hope today is an exciting match, I'm excited and I'm sure it will be.   

The season kicks off now after what I think has been a pretty good acquisition trail in the transfer window.

Most of the Tottenham team only returned to training last Monday following their World cup holiday. So they should be feeling quite refreshed if not too fit.

I reckon both teams might be happy with a draw here :
Newcastle 1 Tottenham 1

Looking forward to this match, its always great to see the big teams in action.
Lots of big talk about an upset given Mourinho has never won at St James Park, but seriously, Man United are very efficient and spend a lot of money on players, Sanchez or Slimani ?
Newcastle 0 Man United 2

Live on Sky, this should be quite a dramatic encounter.
Personally I thought we had a decent transfer window, new goalkeeper, new centre forward and Kennedy from Chelsea seemed to be our best player against Burnley. We also had a massive clear out of deadwood with Mitrovic and Colbeck in particular both going.
So I'm feeling optimistic:
Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 2

Half time - 2-0 Chelsea
The drama of the FA Cup, well it might be for some fans.
The completely pathetic first half performance from us is very frustrating.
There seems very little point in watching the second half.
Where is Mike Ashley anyway ? What a complete waste of time he is as an owner.
I can't see Rafa Benitez staying beyond this season but to be honest he's not the right man for an Ashley owned club in any case. A very negative manager who needs expensive high quality players to liven up his team selection and tactics.
We need a young, progressive up and coming manager prepared to put up with Ashley and trying to make diamonds out of coal or in common language, develop players and improve them.
I'm not really seeing any player who has improved under Benitez to be honest. Maybe Lascelles ?
Anyway back to the second half, it's all very depressing.           

Getting this early to capture the excitement of the latest prediction league table: 
Big news is I'm top.
I sense Chelsea will be looking to win this and still a month away from their next Champions League match against Barcelona.
So with no chance of winning the league expect a strong team from them.
As for Newcastle, live on TV, don't expect entertainment
Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1

After resting most of their team for the away match at Chelsea, Stoke have obviously targeted this match as their main priority.
Similar to what Rafa did for us against Man City and Brighton. That back fired for us, will it for Stoke ?
I just can't see us good enough to win any football match at the moment though we seem better away than at home:
Stoke 3 Newcastle 1 

Well Arsenal have not won in three matches so they are going to be especially keen to win this one.

And we have the worlds worse referee in charge being Stuart Atwell, so he'll be favouring big club Arsenal massively.

Am I brave enough to predict a contrarian shock Newcastle result for this one. No, there is only depression around the team at the moment:
Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0

I'm used to supporting Newcastle and their complete unpredictability.

Just as you think they are going to lose every match or win every match they do the opposite.

So I'm keeping with my contrarian predictions for now, Everton are not that good are they ? They were pretty lucky not to get hammered by Liverpool at the week end.

Newcastle 2 Everton 1

Somehow I feel the time is right for a Newcastle win despite the depression of the stalled Amanda Staveley bid and the fact that Leicester are currently playing like Premier League Champions.

Newcastle 2 Leicester 0

Half Time 2-1, full of apprehension for the second half unless Rafa can shore up the defence.

We just need another quality full back, we've got Ritchie playing left back at the moment.

Mike Ashley, you try playing there if you like .... or buy someone who can

Well one of the matches where we have nothing to lose and Man United not having a great spell at the moment.
I don't see much coming our way here:
Man United 2 Newcastle 0

The match is a sell out today so there will be 53,000 fans in the ground and all of 1,600 Bournemouth fans present.
To entertain them we have the 4th best defence in the league given we have only conceded 9 goals in 10 games whilst Bournemouth are the second lowest scorers with 6 goals from 10, so I hope everyone has their expectations well managed.
All eyes will once again be on Joselu and Perez but the whole team need to be taking responsibility for not scoring.
The Rafa way of course is to sit tight and given Eddie Howe is talking of Bournemouth needing to restore their flowing attacking football of the previous two seasons they might well come at us.
I'm hearing rumours that Saivet may get a start in midfield as both Hayden and Merino are injured. Well that's a pretty desperate situation but I'd be expecting Diame to be starting in there.
I'm not feeling confident about this game for some reason, we've won 1 in our last five.
It's a big game for us really, we need to be sending Bournemouth home defeated.   

Having lived through the glorious Keven Keegan era where we had great strikers in Andy Cole, Peter Beardsley, Fustino Asprilla, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer etc and the whole team managed somewhere around 30 shots a match on goal.
To watch a performance like last night with Joselu and Perez toiling up front is quite painful.
Don't get me wrong, personally I'm happy with our start and overall we have a very solid team with a great team spirit who work their socks off for each other.
I'm amazed at the performances from players like Manquillo, Yedlin, Lascelles who under the guidance of Benitez look to be greatly improving players.
The league table does not lie, we have the fourth best defensive record in the Premier League after 10 matches, performing better than Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool at the back.
However it doesn't take a football genius to work out where our problems lie.
I'm a big fan of Benitez but I do wonder why he waited until only 7 minutes left before bringing on last seasons top scorer Gayle ? Why Diame was preferred up front to Gayle with 14 minutes remaining and Hayden coming on.
It also puzzles me why Benitez has such a low opinion of Mitrovic who can sometimes single handedly batter defences into submission, such a low opinion that he did not even make the squad last night.
If I was an opposing centre half I would sleep well at night knowing I just had Joselu to face the next day. Probably sleep less easily if I had to face Mitrovic.
You wonder what might have been had we succeeded in signing main target Tammy Abrahams. A bit like asking Everton how their season might have turned out had they succeeded in signing Giroud from Arsenal. It is what it is and neither team can score enough goals that their general play deserves.
Not a bad performance overall last night but I've a gloomy feeling "Newcastle 0" is going to be quite a regular occurrence this season which is a shame given how well overall the team are performing.
Mike Ashley, who's blaming him for this ?
Oh, and I see we had Saivet on the bench, amazing ......       

Team: Elliot, Manquillo, Lejeune, Lascelles, Yedlin, Diame (Gayle 83), Shelvey, Ritchie (Murphy 79), Atsu, Perez (Hayden 76), Joselu.
Subs n/u: Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Saivet.   

Benitez has never lost a match as a manager against Liverpool, hmmmm, that record has to end sometime.

This is a much bigger game for Liverpool than it is for Newcastle, they need to win and not let any stupid goals in.

Team selection will be interesting for Benitez and how he will set out the team. The questions are who plays in central midfleld and who plays up front.

If Benitez wants to sit tight then he'll be playing Hayden and Merino in midfield but he could play Merino and Shelvey which would be a bit more creative but maybe a bit less secure. My guess would be he'll start with Hayden and Merino and keep it tight.

Up front there seems to be a view that Mitrovic would cause the Liverpool defence problems and that he might start. I'd be amazed if that happened, Benitez does not trust him and has shown no inclination to pick him in the starting 11 so far this season.

Which leaves Joselu or Gayle up front ? The worry is Joselu can't convert the chances that come his way but the rest of his game is fine. Gayle is the opposite in that he converts chances but contributes little else to the team.

Gayle usually needs Shelvey in the team with him to create the openings, my guess is Benitez will be persisting with Joselu for now and hoping he comes good in front of goal.

So another unchanged team for Newcastle:
    Yedlin        Lascelles            Clark        Mbemba
                         Hayden       Merino
                      Ritchie    Perez        Atsu

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