Newcastle 2-1 Spurs – Some singled-out praise!

Saturday provided NUFC with a very satisfying 3 points, as they started the Premier League 2012/13 campaign pretty much where they left off.

Pardew opted for more secure 4-4-2 to begin the game, which didn’t really cause too much panic to Spurs in their defensive third. But a shift to the 4-3-3 which saw Newcastle produce some scintillating displays at the back end of last season duly produced the goals the Toon needed.

The old line goes as saying “I don’t like to single out individuals”, but I think there were 3 or 4 very key players in the victory to Spurs, players that are going to be required this season to perform consistently in a bid for NUFC to reproduce the success of last season.

Cheick Tiote

The Ivorian been continuously hit with speculation for a long time now on his Newcastle future, a quite complementary gesture considering the clubs linked and rightly so after some superb performances for NUFC over the last couple of seasons.

No player made more passes than Tiote on Saturday – he completed 67 (more than any other player on the field attempted) of his 81 passes, over double that of midfield compatriot Yohan Cabaye. Just 21 of his passes were played backwards and all 21 of those were successful.

Furthermore, 38% of those passes were forward, which was the highest of any midfielder of forward in the game. Tiote also produced attacking half & final third passes than any player on the field as well as a 100% aerial duel rate (5/5) and joint most shots at goal for Newcastle alongside Demba Ba.

Tiote has instated himself as NUFC’s heartbeat, regularly being the team’s/game’s top possession player last season and continuing in the same vein this campaign. Alongside his combative, play-playbreaking attributes, Tiote really is a key player for Newcastle and if he can polish up his disciplinary record and take a few less risks in possession, he could be the difference in some crucial games this season.

Cheick Tiote passing v Spurs

Hatem Ben Arfa

We all know of the ‘magic’ than Ben Arfa beholds and that he has the potential to be nothing less than a world beater – but Hatem still has ‘that’ temperament, that was seen during the Euro’s, which continues to stem his development.

Against Spurs, it was as simple as ‘get Hatem the ball and watch him come alive’! He produced 8 dribbles, which is more than DOUBLE any other player on the pitch (Bale 3) and at a 63% success rate. This led to him being the joint 2nd most fouled on the day (3 times, Bale 4), but it isn’t that side to his game that I praise him on this occasion.

Ben Arfa produced 4 tackles in the game v Spurs and all 4 were successful, more than any other player – a 100% tackle success rate, not something we’ve said a lot about our mercurial Frenchman! He also participated in 22 ground 50-50 duels, the most in the entire league in PL gameweek 1 (alongside Gervinho) and won 12 (55%).

Let’s not forget too, that Hatem Ben Arfa was the match winner on Saturday – first winning the penalty with some fabulous individual skill, then in typical ‘I-have-a-point-to-prove’ Ben Arfa fashion, coolly slotted home in the bottom right hand corner. Keeping fit, keeping quiet and keeping confident will ensure Ben Arfa consistently rolls out the same standard of performance over the season – we shall wait and see…

Demba Ba

There’s no doubt that when Ba curled home the opener on Saturday, that every Geordie experienced that relieving tingle down their spine! Only Ba’s 2nd goal alongside Papiss Cisse in 16 games – a stat that was getting fans talking about Ba’s roll and attitude in the team. However, they could be forgiven, as it wasn’t just goals that was lacking (See graphic below). Ba went from a 31% chance conversion rate before Cisse’s arrival to just 3% after – pretty damning by all accounts!

Demba Ba – Pre & post Papiss Cisse PL 11/12

What can be proven incorrect though, is the notion that it was the fault of the implemented 4-3-3 formation that changed Ba’s performances. The following graphic shows the position of Ba when receiving the ball pre Cisse at NUFC and post during the Premier League 11/12 season.

Demba Ba – Pass receiving pre & post Papiss Cisse PL 11/12

If anything, Ba was actually more involved centrally after Cisse arrived than on the left hand side where he starting in the formation. Newcastle have evolved into a very fluid side and just because Ba was ‘starting’ in amore left sided attacking role, his allowance to rotate on top of the movement of player like Ben Arfa, meant he wasn’t ‘stuck’ out there and could play alongside Cisse on many occasion.

It was certainly the change to 4-4-2 which appeared to brighten Ba and the whole NUFC team up against Spurs. See below how more involved the forwards got, thus increasing NUFC’s ability to make the ball ‘stick’ in the final third.

NUFC v Spurs – 1st & 2nd half passing

Demba Ba had over double the possession in the 2nd half (37 secs) as he did in the 1st half of the game (16 secs), yet he received the ball more times on the left hand side in the 1st half (7) to the second (6).

The most important statistic for Ba though, is his 1 goal. A quite majestic finish, showing the Demba Ba we all know from earlier last season, and if he can produce a similar goal target this season alongside Cisse doing the same, it should NUFC to the summits of the table once again.


Although I believe the above 3 were the top performers for NUFC on Saturday, there are couple of others who deserve mention.

Newcastle United’s ‘marmite’ Jonas Gutierrez put in a good defensive shift again, regularly fouled because of his superb ability to keep hold of the ball and gained yards for NUFC by dribbling on many occasions.
James Perch also looked an assured figure in the centre of defence – something very few of us would have said 10-12 months ago!

He never looked under pressure and definitely didn’t stand out as a ‘lesser’ player. His pace was equal to anything thrown at him and he managed to complete all 46 of his passes – no player in Premier League in the first games completed more passes at 100% accuracy!

So, great start, but far too early to get ahead of ourselves. That all too familiar trip to London awaits next week after our first game in Europe for 5 years. Would we have it any other way though…. Probably not! HTL


213 thoughts on “Newcastle 2-1 Spurs – Some singled-out praise!

  1. Dave @136
    “Big Dave
    August 22, 2012 at 12:41

    JJ im near sure Pieters is still not back to full fitness yet ?. And did you’s all kiss and make up on the older thread 😀 ”

    You won’t believe the massive smooch Troy gave me… 😯 😳


  2. I’m looking forward to see Marveaux Aussie, I’m sure he’ll get more and more game time for us as the season progresses. With his dodgy injury past there’s no point rushing him back. He only ‘recovered’ towards the last few games of last season.


  3. Rod ,yeah ,poor bloke was told he had inoperable brain tumour so took his life rather than suffer an awful slow death ,Very very sad . 😥


  4. Kim@154, I heard that was a false rumour broke by ABC News. Who knows…..still shite though regardless.


  5. Rod , what the Tumour or the suicide? ,He defo killed himself ,I read it was because of the tumour . 😕


  6. Kim, apparently the bring tumor thing with Tony Scott is BS.. Saw a report this morning…

    Rodz, Kim.. agree on Marv, looks a class act on the park, hope he keeps his head and buckles down.




    you old fruit bat. I’m at work but I’m keeping my beady eye on you 😎



  8. Aussie@158 😯 ,They shouldn’t be allowed to print that story when it’s not true ,especially when it surrounds such a sad situation ,no care for the family if it’s false. 👿


  9. Kim, the press never lets the truth get in the way of a good story.. Very dramatic from Tony Scott, jumping off a bridge like that.. I’m not sure what statement he was trying to make by doing it that way.. tragic stuff!!


  10. Aussie , Apparently there was a boatload of tourist looking on in horror just 10 metres from where he fell 😯


  11. Yeah, I heard that as well.. you can only wonder as to what was going through his head..


  12. Rodzilla says:
    August 22, 2012 at 12:54
    …seems like Pardew has one eye on our Chelsea game, with the squad selection for Atromitos.
    Rodz- where did you see the squad listed? I’ve been trying to find it….


  13. …on the absence of Shane Ferguson for Greece. A little birdie told me he was out clubbing in Newcastle on Saturday night, when he was due in training on Sunday. I know NUFC caught wind of this. Whether he’s been left out with the Chelsea game in mind, or as punishment is anyone’s guess though. 😉


  14. Fee seems a tad high doesn’t it Bats 😯

    …he blows hot and cold. I transferred him into my Fantasy team last season when he was scoring. Soon as I snapped him up he did fog all though. 😆


  15. Rodz and MDS-

    So that means we could start the same back 4 and GK as we did against Spurs, with Anita taking Tiote’s place and Marveaux playing on the wing, or Jonas moving to the wing and Bigi or Amalfitano playing in the middle (assuming we play 4-3-3). Still seems like a pretty strong team to me.


  16. Cheers rodz. I’m guessing we’ll look something like this:



    Anita Bigi

    Amalfitano- Gosling- Marv



  17. I agree Charlie, it does look like a capable side.
    Amalfitano really impressed me pre-season.
    Dave, yes mate, very 😉
    …I shouldn’t have said owt though. Don’t want to start a bad rumour off. He’s probably been left out tactically. My last sentence was speculation but the first bit was fact.


  18. says we’ll have named the max no of players in our europa squad.
    My experience on football manager tells me that you can name an extra three players after qualifying. not sure though.
    But otherwise where do the new signings fit in?


  19. CP- from the sounds of it, Pards doesn’t plan on playing anyone 3 times this week. My thought is that he’ll throw out the youngsters and try to get it away with while keeping the likes of Cabaye, Santon, Simmo, Jonas, Staylor, etc in reserve in case things take a turn for the worse.


  20. MDS@173-

    I guess my initial suggestion was probably much too optimistic, but I do hope Pardew goes with a stronger back line than Tav-Perch-Williamson-Raylor. I’m all for giving Tavernier and some other youngsters PT this year, but I’d rather work 2 or 3 of them into the lineup at a time, surrounded by regular first teamers. I think we’re asking for trouble if we make wholesale changes.


  21. As far as midfield goes, I think I’d prefer Amalfitano in the middle in front of Bigi and Anita, with Marveaux and Obertan on the wings. And while it might be tough fitness-wise, it’d be nice to keep Saylor in the defense ahead of Williamson.


  22. SolanosTrumpet says:
    August 22, 2012 at 15:11
    My experience on football manager tells me that you can name an extra three players after qualifying. not sure though.

    HAHAHAHAHA Classic! You got to love Football Manager! I would of said the same thing for the very same reason!


  23. …quite amusing all this Andy Carroll business anyway. I still think Liverpool should hold onto him and play him, but it appears they value him at £20m. Quite appropriate given they gained Carroll and £15m through the sale of Torres for £50m; getting £20m for him now would allow them to break even. That ain’t gona happen though, they’re gona have to take a hit, whether or not they take an 5-7m hit though I’m not sure.

    Be interesting to see who he’s playing for come September 1st. 😯
    …personally I’d laugh my tits off he he ended back at NUFC, bagged 20 goals and we finished above Liverpool. 😆


  24. Ahhh….forgot about Obertan.

    I owuldn’t expect a strong back line. Collo didn’t make the trip and they’ll likely want to save STaylor and Simmo for Chelsea.


  25. MDS-

    I think you’re probably right about Saylor. I just hope it doesn’t come back to bite us. I think I’ve got my guard up because of some of our recent domestic cup failures.


  26. Confirmed squad:

    Romain Amalfitano, Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Yohan Cabaye, Adam Campbell, Papiss Cisse, Dan Gosling, Jonas Gutierrez, Steve Harper, Tim Krul, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, James Perch, Davide Santon, Danny Simpson, James Tavernier, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson


  27. CP- I hear ya. This won’t be an easy match IMO.

    Pards has options- you could play Jonas, Simmo and Santon in Greece and then play Tavs, Raylor and Marv at Chelsea (or something ot that effect)


  28. Rod ,re Carroll ,been on a couple of Pool forums and they are FIZZIN at our take it or leave it offer 😆 . Quite a few suggestions what Ash should do with his offer as you can imagine. They just can’t move on from the £35M price tag bless em. Would rather let him rot on the bench than see him back here for £12m ,the fact that that £12m would help them get a better forward for their system seems to of escaped their pea brains . 😉


  29. Harper
    Tavernier, Perch, Willo, Raylor
    Obertan, Anita, Gosling, Amilfatano, Marveaux


  30. MDS probably that injury he picked up in the spurs warm up. Saw pares say vuckic sammy and fergie were out but disappointed not to see abeid in the squad. He looked great pre season for me


  31. yeah Kim, I’d imagine a lot of their fans would be pissed off cos he’s had so little game time to prove his worth (with the injury and substitute appearances). Of course it makes it far worse that we’re one of the few ‘interested parties’. Liverpool have totally shot themselves in the foot, and only have themselves to blame. 😆


  32. Whats the crack with the squad numbers for europa?
    can we only add three more to the above?? 😯


  33. Rodz
    I wasn’t expecting a squad that strong to be going. Cisse’ll be knackered at Chelsea. The smart move would be to either play Cissé first half and the replace him with either Campbell or Obertan OR to start campbell and at some point in the second half bring on Cissé if Adam/the team is struggling.


  34. Dubtoon says:
    August 22, 2012 at 15:48
    MDS probably that injury he picked up in the spurs warm up.

    Ah…forgot about that


  35. Andy, I guess it’s a statement of intent from Pardew. I reckon there’ll be a few half hour players with Chelsea in mind. Very much doubt Cisse will play the full 90.

    …that’s the beauty of our squad’s versatility I guess. Loads of options, especially in midfield/attack.

    Johno@191, copied and pasted this from

    According to the UEFA website United have made the following registrations for this competition. Note that the list is divided into two separate sections according to the age and status of the players: there’s no restriction on selection, so all the players are eligible to play.

    A list (maximum of 25 players, 24 currently named, with Anita expected to be added):

    Krul, Elliot, Harper, Coloccini, Santon, Simpson, Perch,
    Williamson, R.Taylor, S.Taylor, Good, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Gosling, Amalfitano, Gutiérrez, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Tiote, Obertan, Abeid, Cisse, Ba, Sh.Ameobi.

    B list: (unlimited number of U21 players)

    Alnwick, Streete, Dummett, Tavernier, Ferguson
    Sa.Ameobi, Newton, Logan, Inman, Vuckic, Ranger, Campbell.

    …reet, I’m off. Laters……… 😎


  36. I honestly don’t understand how people can have such high expectation of finishing in the top 6 – yet seem to accept the fact that the board simply haven’t performed well enough to get players in for us.
    Look at what happened to Aguero at the weekend!, if that happens to Ba or Cisse we have no other strikers at the club, because we’ve let Best and Lovern go already. We want top 6?
    Chelsea have spent £63.5m
    Man U – £42.9m
    Arsenal – £38.9m
    Liverpool – £28.3m
    Spurs – £23.7m
    Man City – £15m
    Toon – £8.2m

    I don’t expect to spend as much as Man Utd or Chelsea – but as much as Liverpool or Spurs … yeah, why the hell not?!.
    People say, well we won’t spend that much on a 3rd choice CB or 3rd choice CF. We shouldn’t be looking at 3rd choice anything!!, the players we look to sign should be competion for Colo/Saylor and Cisse/Ba not back up to them.
    I just don’t understand why we are not all pissed off by this?!


  37. @MDS
    Rumours flying around twitter that Shola has been left out so he isn’t cup tied. Would knock hundreds of pounds off his fee when CL clubs come calling.

    Over his past 8 PL seasons Saha has averaged 6 goals a season.
    Over his past 8 PL seasons (not counting the Champ season) Shola has average 4 goals a season.




    We don’t have anywhere near the turnover that spuds and Liverpool have so I would expect them to spend more.

    They must have almost double our turnover, liverpool maybe more.


  39. Solano 😆
    Sharpy, Arsenal have only actually spent 500k when you tot up their ins and outs, Spurs around 11m and Citeh a surprising 7m. We’ve spent about 3m.

    …just for the record though, if the transfer window ends and we ain’t brought any one else in I will be disappointed, as we’re obviously 2 or 3 short. I’ve gotta go now though so won’t see your reply until later (that’s if you do).


  40. I’m probably just being a bit thick, but I don’t quite understand Rodz’s post @196. If we are allowed to have an unlimited number of under 21 players in our B list, but are only allowed a maximum of 25 over age players in our main list, why would we almost fill up our 25-man (over age) quota by including several players who are under 21? (eg. Good, Bigirimana, Abeid etc.). Doesn’t make sense to me.


  41. Troy – Ok, so what about West Ham, QPR or the Scum?, are you suggesting we don’t have their turn over either?




    I’m not suggesting anything about the other teams you mentioned just your post about Spuds and Liverpool.

    QPR are one of the richest clubs in the world. The owner may not be considering balancing the books.

    Scumberland, who knows what their plans are? If they are playing on a level playing field to us then we should have better revenues.


  43. @Sharpy
    Man City have 4 proven strikers vying for 2 spots.
    We have 2 proven strikers vying for 1 spot. We all believe playing one striker was our best formation last year don’t we?
    Anita signing signals that this will be what we play most this season as well.

    Rod @134 pointed out Arsenal have only spent 500k, and they’re in the CL!

    Chelsea have a crook bank rolling them, and have just won the Champions League.

    By just getting to the group stage of the CL you get as much money as you would for winning the Europa League..! No money in it.

    Spurs have only spent a net of about £6M

    There’s only Liverpool you can compare us to. Are you jealous of their signings? If you aren’t I really don’t see your point. We have two strikers that are capable of scoring 20 goals a season. They don’t even have one.




    As weve discussed in the past, money is not everything. Carr seems to have the knack of identifying relatively cheap players who are quality.

    That’s what I would rather have than Liverpools buys so far.


  45. @Sharpy

    We are in a tricky situation with signings. (I too would be angry if we didn’t bring in a CB, disappointed if we didn’t bring in a striker).

    We have to find players that may have to be content being bench warmers. But we don’t pay ridiculous wages like Chelsea/Utd. So it’s hard finding these players.


  46. @Troy
    I’m still keeping faith we will get the 2 players needed through the door.
    I don’t understand why clubs leave it so late. But the majority of fans at clubs could say the same thing. Just one of those mysteries I guess.

    Will be interesting to see what happens on the Douglas front come Monday.
    Agree with people that have said we will try a Liverpool-esq poach for Carroll come deadline day.


  47. Rod – that is another way to look at it mate but it doesn’t improve the view IMO – like you say, we are 2-3 players short, and without them I really don’t see us getting close to top 6.

    ST – I would agree that 4-3-3 is our best formation but we don’t have 2 strikers vying for 1 spot do we? we have both strikers playing in that formation – so if one or both get injured or suspended then we are screwed. We need at least 3 strikers regardless of what formation we play. I think you need 2 for each position which leaves us short a LB, CB and CF. I’d take Pieters as cover for LB/CB but we need a CF as well. £15m would be enough to get 2 more players in £5-6m for a defender £8-10m for a forward.


  48. Solano@207 , I don’t think we’ll do a dealine day bid for Carroll as Rogers has already said he’s sitting down with Andy to find out one way or another what he wants to do. This apparently is being done this week as they will not let themselves be left on deadline day without him or a replacement . Given that we won’t budge on the £12m offer it would take an almighty climb down by Pool which I just don’t see unless they REALLY need the cash.


  49. Sharpy ,I’m with you ,we defo need a CB and Forward and a versitile FB in order to push on .Chelsea ,Arsenal ,Spurs know how hard we pushed them last year, that amongst other things, ageing players etc is why they have strengthend. Meanwhile we appear to be standing still ,with the reality being our net spend to date is £3m ,not that a players value means that much . But it doesn’t look like MA wants to part with anymore hard earned at the moment and i can’t see 1,2 or 3 players in this week coming . It’s a crying shame with a couple of good additions we have the chance to go for top 6 again and give Europa a good go too ,without them I think we may slip a bit. 🙁


  50. Kim – Ashley has spent, he’s climbed into bed with Rangers hasn’t he!

    I am completely certain that we will not get Carroll. We won’t pay more that £12m and Lpool want around £20m. If the scum spend £12-15m on Fletcher, that will just fuel Lpools arguement that £12m is not enough.
    There may be a deal in Remy, Tiovonen or maybe Guidetti for City strengthen but don’t see Carroll coming at all.


  51. Apparently Marveaux was sent home on saturday because his little baby was ill. There was never any “strop”, and he never went “missing”. That’s from John Carver.


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