The plaudits and euphoria soon died down though and many pundits were quick to point out how NUFC would struggle upon their return to the Premier League. In the eyes of many people, and even in the eyes of some of our own fans, they saw a team that was almost the same as the one who took us down. On paper that may have been the case, but in practice they were very wrong, especially Andy Gray who said that West Brom were the best team to win promotion despite finishing way behind us in the league last term.
Fast forward eleven months and it’s Newcastle who are top of the trio of promoted teams and look favourites for safety whilst Blackpool and West Brom both linger just one point ahead of the drop zone. Whilst safety is yet to be guaranteed, I would much rather be in our position than in the position of either of those two teams
Which brings me to my point really. I found an article earlier which named the a ‘Best XI’ team of players from the promoted clubs, and to my surprise I found that only four players from Newcastle had made the grade. Here is the team that Sport.co.uk have nominated. Needless to say I disagree with it, but here goes:
Matt Gilkes, Danny Simpson, Jonas Olsson, Alex Baptiste, Jose Enrique, Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, Charlie Adam, Jerome Thomas, DJ Campbell, Peter Odemwingie.
The first thing that strikes me is the goalkeeper. Matt Gilks has been out since November, so can he really qualify? Has he been any better than Steve Harper? And does he qualify simply because he is playing for the Premier League’s latest love affair that is Blackpool?
Danny Simpson and Jose Enrique I’d agree with, as I would with Jonas Olsson, but does Alex Baptiste really deserve to get in there in front of Fabricio Coloccini? I don’t think so!
Moving onto the midfield, I can’t really argue with that. I’d probably drop Kevin Nolan if I’m being honest and replace him with Cheik Tiote. It would be harsh on Nolan as he has been good for us again this season, but Tiote is the better player and gets the nod from me.
As for the strikers, well where do I start? No Andy Carroll? Granted the chap is a Judas, but he did score eleven goals in half a season which is more than both DJ Campbell and Peter Odemwingie. You could even put a case forward for Leon Best as he has scored nearly the same amount of goal in less appearances, but I’d probably plump for Carroll instead of Campbell.
That would leave my team ‘Best XI’ looking like:
Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Jonas Olsson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Joey Barton, Charlie Adam, Cheik Tiote, Jerome Thomas, Peter Odemwingie, Andy Carroll.
Any advances on that? « Pardew: Writing cheques he can’t cash? | Number 9 – What does it mean? »