Middle of the park maestros

There is a lot of doom and gloom over Tyneside at the moment. All our recent optimism about Europe and a top seven finish seems hundreds of years ago, even though it was only a few days back.

The discussion amongst fans at the moment seems to revolve around our lack of firepower up front and the real prospect of losing some of our brightest talent in the not too distant future. I was going to write a little bit about our current injury crises at St. James’ Park, but didn’t feel like adding to the morose feeling amongst the Toon faithful and have decided to look towards the future and specifically our envious wealth of options in midfield.

If and when (if ever) we have a fully fit midfield we will be a formidable force in the middle of the park. Our bite in the central midfield positions will no doubt win us games as we have some of the most talented players in the league.

Let’s start with Captain Fantastic Kevin Nolan. Our inspiration leader has performed magnificently when it has mattered and when compared to recent ex-captains at the club, he stands head and shoulders above the rest. I haven’t seen a more passionate captain since Al hung up his boots and Nolan’s goal return from central midfield is one of the reasons we are sitting in the top half.

He puts pressure on the other teams goalkeeper during every set play and with what he lacks in pace, he makes up with his ability to be in the right place, at the right time, most of the time.

Another native Scouser is really starting to repay the faith he was shown by the crowd during his many off field problems. I have always loved the fact that everyone hates Joey Barton outside of the club, it makes me like him more. He never complains about playing out of position and has stated in the press he would play anywhere on the field for the club and the adoring fans.

His best position is in central midfield and is one of the best ‘box to box’ midfielders in England. He has an extensive range of passing, tackles like a Geordie and pops up with the odd goal. His work rate is second to none in the squad and with his level of maturity this season (especially after the kicking he received from Karl Henry at Wolves) he is becoming a role model and leader for other players around him.

The revelation of the whole Premier League season, has to be our dynamo Ivorian Cheick Tiote. I bet other clubs are stewing they missed out on signing Tiote for an absolute bargain. His form has earned him a new 6 and a half year contract, which is not something you see dished out every day.

His tackling, distribution and composure on the ball make him the ideal defensive midfielder that we have craved for so long and I have no doubt that Williamson and Colo play a much more confident game with the destroyer patrolling in front of them.

Hatem Ben Arfa could have pipped Tiote as signing of the Premier League season, had Nigel De Jong not brutally hacked him down with no remorse, breaking his leg in two places and not even getting booked. What a bastard. Ben Arfa will almost certainly offer us a totally different dimension to our game and I shudder to think of the delight he could have brought us this season.

His absolute rocket against Everton at Goodison was the first thing I thought about when the final whistle blew against them at the weekend and I thought ‘if only….’ This boy can play all across the midfield and will probably get used as a winger, which will be a shame as I reckon he could cause mayhem in the centre of the pitch, particularly behind the striker playing in the hole.

Stephen Ireland has yet to grace us with his presence. He does come across as a bit wierd but his ability as an attacking playmaker has been very evident in the past. He has taken a lot of stick at Villa and they never seemed to give him a chance, even though he was Man City’s player of the year not long ago.

I am still surprised we signed an injured player on loan, with 9 games left to go and him still being crocked (albeit a newer injury) I can’t see him having a massive impact on the team. I am wondering if this is one for the future and whether Pards has seen enough of his personality and willingness to do well to bring him in full time. Hopefully we will see what he can bring to the table before the end of the season….or that was a bloody waste of time wasn’t it?

Another bargain signing which was completed a while ago now, was another crocked midfielder in the shape of Dan Gosling. The Evertonians were genuinely gutted to see him leave on a free transfer and we always knew that it would be a while before Dan played again.

I have heard his best position is in central midfield but can also play at right back and right midfield. Dan joining the squad must make chances even more limited for Danny Guthrie and Ryan Taylor, as they have both tried and failed on many occasions in the Premier League whilst Dan had impressed massively with the toffees, including a sensational strike against Merseyside rivals, Bindippers FC.

That’s three contenders for player of the season and three extremely talented lads on the injury table which give us an absolute wealth of attacking options in the centre of the park.

If we can procure a good winger and push through the likes of Vuckic and LuaLua, the Newcastle midfield will be the envy of the rest of the league next season.

About Moreno

Raised in Tyneside and now spreading the Gospel of Shola down in shandyland! Follow @MorenoToon on Twitter !

49 thoughts on “Middle of the park maestros

  1. Poor Alan Smith doesn’t even get a mention 😥

    I think it’s clear Nolan, Tiote and Barton will get all the plaudits (Nolan not so much, people hate him for some reason).

    I think Ben Arfa and Ireland this season match our loan of Nacho two years ago. We have no ability to do a successful loan deal. Everyone we do is either instant injury or are a class player we never play and they leave (Distan, Rossi, Saha).

    The loans are part of the problem with our midfield issue at the moment.


  2. against stoke if barton and ireland are fit barton on the right ireland middle nolan just behind best


  3. He would have got this injury ages ago if we had signed him on loan.

    Maybe we should announce our future loan signings at 3pm on a Saturday during home games in freezing weather when all our players are injured. All our bad luck at once must be enough to overload this jinx we have.


  4. Moreno you pen a good article mate 😉 maybe you could give Toonsy a few tips 😀
    I agree that we have a well stocked MF and would love to see all our players back fit and ready to go.
    When that happens I think Pards will have a few head aches


  5. Good post – For me Bartons prob our midfield player of the season especially given the fact we’ve stuck him out wide for half the season, saying that – without Nolans goals we’d be sitting near the bottom of the table – Tiote is the find of the season


  6. Batty I agree I think we have better MF that can offer more than Nolan in MF. I now how important Nolan is but I do think we would get more out of him infront of the MF


  7. Just in a realistic mood. I really think this club is jinxed. There is a curse on it stopping it fulfulling it’s undoubted potential. I have no idea what the deal is, but we get a good squad, they turn to glass, they leave, they are made of steel.

    Williamson gets blocked by Bendtner, nothing happens. Williamson does the same thing the week after, he is banned for three games for a headbutt.

    I could go on. It’s a jinx from the heavens it seems. God must be Sunderland fan.


  8. Cheers Dave…still learning a lot every time though, when you’re from Shields ya struggle with words ya kna! 😉

    Shame we don’t have more wingers to rave about, no doubt benny will get shoved out there!


  9. Player of the season for me? Between Tiote, Barton, and Nolan for sure. God, where to even begin? All three of them maybe?


  10. Davey- 😆 yeah, Jill gave me hell, alreet! I suppose any girl wouldn’t care much for bein’ called an “old hinny” hehehehe… that’s what I get for typing before I think lol


  11. ohurley it is nite lads ,ile be sleeping in me own bed tonight ,nice comfy mattres instead of the shite 1s the c unts give ya 😉


  12. C’mon Dave, ya big pussy! You KNOW you wanna stay up and learn the ins and outs of moonshinin’ in Tennessee….


  13. I lived near the quay but my local was the Turks in Tynemouth.when in shields it was the maggie bank. You know the dolphin then?


  14. Moreno-

    I’ll file those pubs away so that when I visit Tyneside, I’ll know where to go like. Thx, mate!


  15. I am still up but I think the fact we don’t have another game until December it gonna kill discussion on here for a week or so.


  16. They are called Battle Metal because their songs focus on going about the world and fighting in wars like Vikings – it’s fun party music really.

    They are more symphonic though, lots of orchestra and choirs behind the guitars. Nice sound and more “manly” than the likes of Nightwish doing that style.


  17. DUDE. I’ve been searching for this band my whole life. Freakin epic. You ever listen to Blind Guardian?


  18. Not a huge fan of them but their cover of John Farnham’s “You’re The Voice” is brilliant. Hansi is great on Ayreon’s “010101” album too.

    The Rasputin cover doesn’t actually do Turisas’ sound credit – the album’s “The Varangian Way” and “Stand up and Fight” have a huge production with full orchestra, etc. The Rasputin cover is just a gimmick to get them fame.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8_cDtr8rp8&feature=fvst (like Rocky)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH_z0Io4n7U (the choir makes this sound like the end of the world).


  19. And yeah, Nightwish is cool, and I respect them for having a chick singer that doesn’t *always* sing about love or something related to it. But not always my first choice of music when the guys are about, ya kna lol.

    In keeping with that genre (or close to it) Blind Guardian (a kraut band) is probably my favorite. Followed closely by Iron Maiden and Iced Earth (with Ripper Owens).


  20. I am not huge into power metal style. I am more of a fan of symphonic metal or progressive metal. Nightwish, Within Temptation, Ayreon, Opeth, etc.

    Devin Townsend is the epic legend of all things music as his new album teaser proves (he doesn’t take himself seriously):



  21. I have open a topic for discussion in the forum,do read and share your thoughts there. 🙂 😈


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