After no wins in our first three league games, the ‘Opposition Opinion’ is back once again this week and it’s not about to get any easier, as we get some thoughts from Manchester ahead of today’s daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium.
As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this week’s game, interviewing an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own side and their thoughts on of our upcoming match.
This week we’ve been speaking to Man City fan Tom Ritchie (@tomritchiemcfc) , with him having the following to say ahead of our game against Pep Guardiola’s men later today:
Q1) First off, what sort of shape do you feel you’re in coming into this one. Possibly a stupid question, but are you feeling confident of another home win?
“City have got to be confident really.
“Three performances where we have created numerous chances, we just need to finish slightly better to see teams off. Wolves had a go at us and are to be commended for that.
“Last season Newcastle were the total opposite. And that ‘cowardly’ approach rarely prospers against us.
“Realistically we should win fairly easily, but you never know, Rafa may just decide to go for it!”
Q2) I find it interesting that you say a ‘cowardly’ approach. If we go for it against you we’ll probably get hit for six. The last time we played you it wasn’t pretty, but we were in the game – and our goal difference didn’t take a hammering as a result. What do you suggest we do?
“I had the same discussion last season! I appreciate that fans don’t want to see their team get stuffed. But a one goal defeat has the same points value as a five goal defeat!
“In Guardiola’s first season at City we lost 4 goals at Everton & Leicester. All the pundits advised him to be ‘pragmatic’ and pick and choose his style for each game. He ignored them. Insisted that his style of play would either succeed or he’d walk away. The rest is history!
“I think Rafa should be similarly brave. Live with the occasional thumping, but use the passion of the home support to get at the opposition.
“If you go 5-4-1 we’ll pick you off eventually. So for me, I’d go 5-2-3 and try to take City on in their own half. Sit back and I suspect you’ll be doomed!
“If you’re talking about goal difference this early in the season then that surely speaks volumes about the mentality of the club?
“Sorry to sound so critical but even Huddersfield Town supporters had more faith than that last season.
“I have no axe to grind with Newcastle. I love the city. Your fans are generally excellent. I’m just saying, as a regular City watcher, the best way to beat us. Sitting back doesn’t work. Having a go might.
“I hope you go 10 man defence! But there’s no point in trying to justify your approach to me. It might get you 10th, but it’ll get you nothing against City. That’s all I’m saying.
“Fortune favours the brave!”
Q3) Which players (and why) do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in our side?
“Your best player is the Voldemort lookalike! Always been a fan of Jonjo Shelvey. Amazed that no one’s moved in for him. Or that he can’t get in England squad.
“Also like Rondon. If you get crosses in to him he’d be a real threat.
“Weaknesses?…Is Clark playing? He’s always got a mistake in him! And Dummett, for all his enthusiasm, can be got at in a one on one situation. I watched the Chelsea game and it was frustrating to see your teams attitude. But I’m just repeating myself now!
“I’d say mentality more than anything (as a weakness). The negativity around the club is dragging down the performances. As a long term City fan I am well aware of this happening! You’ve got good enough players/manager to be top half. If Rafa released the brakes I’m sure the fans would respond in kind.
“So overall I see no real weaknesses in the players, more in the way they’re being asked to play. If that makes sense!”
Q4) Your side seems pretty flawless, but if there’s any players you feel we can get at, who would you say they are?
“That’s a toughie!
“I feared we’d really miss De Bruyne, but we look just as dangerous without him. Pep shuffles the tactics now so it’s really difficult to guess who’s playing or what formation.
“But at a stretch…Sane has gone off the boil and there’s too many negative comments about his attitude.
“Mahrez hasn’t fitted in yet, but I have high hopes for him.
“At a pinch, Ederson might have a brain fart dribbling the ball out of the box!
“Oh, and Fernandinho has been a bit leggy so far. But to be brutally honest mate, such is the depth of squad we can pick two teams at the moment that could give most of the Premier League a game.”
Q5) How do you see the match panning out & what’s your score prediction?
“I think the first ten minutes will define the game. If we’re up for it, maybe an early goal, I could see it maybe 4 or 5.
“But if Newcastle can stem the attacks, and City’s players are complacent, then it could be a lot closer.
“I really can’t see anything other than a City victory though. So I’ll go 3-0.”
A big thanks to Tom for taking some time this week to speak with us this week!
Next up will be the thoughts of an Arsenal fan ahead of their trip to St James’ Park in two weeks time.