Strength in depth? Maybe not.

Ben Arfa- key to future success?
So we head to The Stadium Of Light on Sunday and, as Jay Jay pointed out in his previous article, we go into this vital game without the influencial Cheik Tiote.

I say this game is vital because nobody likes losing to the enemy. Bragging rights need to be retained and, make no mistake, Sunderland will want to right the wrongs from the glorious day at St James’ Park not so long ago. Bagpuss will send his inbred army out and will be expecting a result!

The loss of Cheik for this game got me thinking. First off how we lack strength in depth but also how much ability we do have in the dressing room when everyone is available? In a transfer window that has 12 days gone already (12 burnt rooms) Newcastle look to be making little progress in the way of signings.

We have been linked with several names in the past couple of weeks, although at the moment nothing has materialised. With talk of the Sebastian Larsson being dead in the water, Pardew is left to look at other potential targets.

Transfer tittle-tattle aside, the lack of quality within the squad is maybe a concern, but I just want to concerntrate on current players who could potentially take us to the next step and those who need to be moved on.

Getting back to Tiote….. In my, and I’m sure most peoples opinion, he is a player we need to build this team around. He has been almost faultless since his arrived from FC Twente. In fact the only costly mistake that I can recall was against Blackburn at St James’ Park. He failed to get rid of the ball in a dangerous position which led to a Mortan Gamst Pedersen goal.  

The Ivory Coast international cost around £3.5 million and has been a revelation. Many Tottenham fans will insist that Rafael van der Vaart was the signing of the summer, but I have to say that, value wise, Cheik in my opinion was an absolute steal.

Hatem Ben Arfa is another player who has bags of ability. Although the young Frenchman’s attitude has been questioned at previous clubs, there is no doubt that we have bagged a brilliant player. Of course we haven’t seen much of Benny in a Newcastle shirt as of yet, for which we can ‘thank’ Mr De Jong for his mindless clumsy and needless challenge.

Newcastle had a deal in place with previous club Marseille in which we took Ben Arfa for the rest of the season on loan and we’d have first dibs after he completed 25 appearences for the club. However new boss Pardew decided he knew enough about the player to sign him up on a 4-and-a-half-year deal this window. Risky move maybe, but a good one I think.

We certainly missed our first-choice left-back on Saturday in the diabolical shower of crap that we witnessed at Stevenage. Jose Enrique was suffering with the flu but the Spainard is hopeful of returning for the derby on Sunday.

Jose is certainly a consistant performer and is a player that we need to tie down on a new contract if we can. Newspaper speculation has linked Jose with a move to Manchester United. Although it’s only paper-talk, and I believe it to be nonsense, you have to ask yourself how long it could be before bigger clubs have a look? Luckily Jose appears to love it on Tyneside.

Another player we’ll hope to welcome back is Andy Carroll. The striker has missed games against Wigan, West Ham and Stevenage over the festive period thanks to a niggling thigh injury. Needless to say, Big Andy is the future of Newcastle. Let’s just hope that Mike Ashley rememebers that if he is still here in a couple of years to come.

If we are to talk about our best players obviously Joey Barton and Fabricio Colloccini come into that catagory. With their current salaries though, it’s debatable whether or not they will get the opportunity to stay beyond their current deal. Kevin Nolan too, he gets mixed reviews on the ‘blogs but I think he’s a great leader and nine goals so far this season speaks for itself. Very valuable player

Steven Taylor, Nile Ranger and Mike Williamson have also penned long term deals and we’ve brought in young Dan Gosling who looks ready for action after completing 70 minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly yesterday. Who in your opinion is the future of our club?

Alan Smith, Wayne Routledge, James Perch, Leon Best are some of the players that often get the ‘not good enough’ tag. Do any of these lads have a future at Newcastle?

What do you think? Which players do we have now that can help the team progress?

About MarkToon

I'm Mark, I live in a little town called Rugby. I go back a long way with Toonsy, we have traveled the country together watching the lads. I eat, breath and sleep Newcastle United! Follow me on T[email protected] MRStockers or add me on Facebook- Mark Stockley.

40 thoughts on “Strength in depth? Maybe not.

  1. Well,does anyone wants alan smith back to his original position?

    I would love to see him score an newcastle league goal before he goes.

    Now thinking back,those comments and critics on perch and wayne is appearing still true afterall.

    One player i love to see get a chance is Xisco,but is hopeless already.

    Kadar should start first-team action next season. i got confidence in him making the cut. Just nice to replace Sol campbell or cover for jose.


  2. Tiote, bigger lad and Benny are the future. The anvil hammer and sword. We should build a squad around them. We have a good crop of players on the squad ATM who can do a job. Add a bit of class and hopefully a couple of younguns break through and things are Lookin good IMO.


  3. I’d add Jose into that aswell, which makes four players who could potentially play in Europe with us if we ever get there ever again 😆


  4. Danny Simpson has been impressive this season n’all!

    Toonsy, if I were interested in writing an article, how would I go about it?


  5. im not too sure there is anyone out there who is as good as tiote that wont mind sitting on the bench for 90% of the season. good to get a youngster in and let tiote develop them into his mould of player. that diame at wigan is ok but he would be expensive-ish? definitely more depth needed in the midfield area though, gradel from leeds looked sharp vs arsenal.


  6. Aye. Didn’t add the bull as his game is more of a one on one isolated match up where as those three have more impact on the whole performance of the team. Jose could play the best game of his life and shut down his man and we could still lose.
    I hope he plays his whole carreer at the toon. If we find more players of his quality to put around the big three, surely we have some trophies on the horizon.


  7. According to Lee Ryder, Sunderland and Steve Bruce have a special song choice should they win the game on Sunday. 🙄


  8. IMHO,we just need buy a set of wingers, 1 good striker,then more or less done deal.

    But before we buy another striker,we need to sell out few of it.

    I have trust in the newcastle youngsters.

    Now,i dare say our reserves is better than arsenal,as they were thrash 10-1 to aston villa,the other day. 🙄 😆


  9. On Sunday, Kenny Dalglish takes charge of his first home league match as Liverpool manager for 20 years when the club host Everton in the Merseyside derby. The Toffees also provided the opposition in the game that spelt the end of his first spell in charge of the club in 1991, and plunged the Reds into a crisis from which it is arguable they have never fully recovered.

    😉 😆 😛


  10. Probably the same as ours so they can all sing cheer up Shearer and think they’re hilariously original. Their claim of not being bitter is hilarious. Who cares if we were rubbing it in their face, it’s a local derby for bragging rights. Also, we’d just beat them 5-1. It’s not scraping a 1-0, we absolutly hammered them, of course we’d revel in it. Simple answer to our lads is don’t give them the chance to play it!


  11. Exactly, we have the advantage of going into the game with level heads. They will play the occasion and be dying for revenge. Frustrate them first half, go for the jugular in the second.


  12. I agree AOD we are very top heavy in the squad in certain areas esp upfront and centre midfield and i think a few players will leave in the summer


  13. I see they have the 2-1 win a couple of seasons back as one of their featured classic matches 🙄

    I would hope that Pardew or someone prints out the article where Bruce is saying this and pins it on the wall for all of the players to see. If that doesn’t wind them up then I don’t know what will.


  14. Agreed. Like you say they’ll be determined to right a wrong, as far as they’re concerned. We need to stay tight the first 20/30. I think they’ll come out all guns blazing. If we can hold them off and make it awkward, even ugly at times I think they’ll start to get nervous the longer we stay in the game.


  15. What about Vuckic – supposed to be the brightest of the young bunch? At 18, he should definitely be getting some 1st Team time, if only for 10-15 mins at end of games we have won. He should certainly have started against Stevenage – and been available instead of Tiote. As he has just signed a lengthy contract, now is the time for him to step up and justify our (alright, Fat Mike’s 😆 ) investment.


  16. Woooooooooooooaahhhhhooooo. Wooooooooooooooahhhhoooooo. Woooooooooooooaahhhhhooooo. Wooooooooooooooahhhhoooooo.




  17. @TGS
    How ya doing fella?
    I’ve said for ages he looks like an old woman!
    Class. Mrs doubtfire. 😆


  18. on their performance that day the scum should have been happy with the result because it could have and should have been more 😆


  19. Doing fine Bsn9 how are you?

    I have doubts about your predictions though!!

    You should change your name to Septic Peg or was it Mystic Meg lol.


  20. Knowing my luck, probably 🙂

    In fact knowing my luck he will be sitting over the other side of the ground, spot me, run across the pitch, run up the stand and smash into me 😆

    Luckily I wasn’t that drunk or I’d have belted him 😆


  21. Does anyone know if Xisco played?

    Here is what is strange to me about Xisco. THe lad is on top dollar, but he never plays. So, he lacks something. If whatever that is needs to be developed, then he should be loaned out to whoever will get him in games to fill out his competency. Could it be he has a right to refuse being loaned out?

    If he has any pride in his career, should he not come forward and do what needs to be done to get on track?

    If he is refusing to play or not making the effort, shouldn’t NUFC be breaking his contract?


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