The ‘Opposition Opinion’ is back again ahead of another home game at St James’ Park, with us getting some the thoughts from the south-cast ahead of today’s game with Bournemouth.
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.
Q1 – What short of shape are you guys in coming into this game? Given you’re 6th in the table, I’m guessing you’re all loving what you’ve seen this season?!
“Well we’re having our best start ever in the Premier League so we’re definitely loving it.
“Two out of three of our new signings (Brooks and Lerma) are looking great and all of our attackers are on fire and combining so well.
“We’ve pretty much taken full advantage of the fixtures that have been thrown at us at the start of the season. With he exception of the Burnley away game (where we lost 4-0!) we have been pretty much on it.
“We are going into a tough set of fixtures over the next few weeks though, which will prove more of a test, but we’re scoring goals for fun and are scared of no team right now.”
Q2 – Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your current side? Any ‘ones to watch’ (for good or for bad) that us NUFC fans wouldn’t know about from watching you on Match of the Day?
“Everyone knows out strengths and weaknesses. Fast passing attack and weak defence. However, we’ve strengthened the defence and are now prepared to be a bit more patient.
“That said, once we break don’t blink. Wilson, Brooks, Fraser and King (if he is fit) all have great pace.
“Lerma is the one to watch. He is the midfield spoiler that we’ve lacked once Arter’s form dipped. 16 bookings in 30 odd games in La Liga last year and he’s already on 4 from 8 for us. He gets stuck in and is forming a great midfield partnership with Lewis Cook.”
“Our 32 year old captain and right back Simon Francis wasn’t everyone’s favourite but he is having a great season.”
Q3 – Which players do you see as the strengths AND weaknesses in this Newcastle’s side? Anyone you’re wary of and anyone you don’t rate?
‘From what I’ve seen, Newcastle seem to be behind the manager but there seems to be a general malaise about the club for which I can only blame Mike Ashley.
“I see that Shelvey is injured which is good for us as I always rate him as a potential match winner. I also think Lascelles has big potential so I’m glad he’s out.”
“Kenedy is an excellent signing for you. Likewise, Ki is a good player. I liked him at Swansea. Very industrious.
“As ever, we also fear ex-players having blinders against us, so Ritchie worries me, but you can’t really count on Atsu. We had him on loan but he was injured and never really featured.
“I still think the biggest handicap you have is the owner. I confess I was surprised Rafa didn’t walk in the summer. It seems that the off field stuff has been making more news with you guys than on field.”
Q4 – What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?
“As a Cherries fan of over 50 years, I fear losing EVERY game, but we are showing real signs of playing like we did in our promotion year.
“We tore Watford and Fulham apart last time out away from home (0-4 and 0-3).
“On paper, we should do the same to you lot but, as ever with us, it is often 2 steps forward and 1 step back – and you’ll be buoyed after last week’s win too.
“I’m rubbish at score prediction but for what it is worth, 2 nil to us.”
Q5 – I see Callum Wilson has just earned his first England call-up, with Cook also getting one recently. Well deserved for Wilson, with him being the top scoring English player in the Premier League, but several of us NUFC fans are frustrated that the likes of Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey continue to be overlooked by Southgate. What do you make of that? Do you think they’ve been hard done by?
“Callum has deserved it for some time now. We thought he might miss out to Rooney so you can imagine the Twitter melt down if that had happened!
“Had he not had 2 ACLs he would have had several caps by now and maybe been to a World Cup (and been stolen by a big club!).
“Lewis Cook is knocking the n the door but he has time on his side. A lot of fans think Steve Cook (our centre-back) also deserves a cap or two.
“As for your two, Shelvey’s unpredictability might not allow him to fit in with the squad, and Lascelles is perhaps not enough of a ball player for Southgate?”
Q6 – If you could sign one player from this NUFC side, who would you like to see Eddie Howe go for?
“I wanted us to go for Rondon in the summer – he’s a real handful.
“Lascelles is a good player too and maybe Schar too. I like the look of Muto but not seen enough of him.”
Q7 – Finally, if you had our two squads to choose from and were asked to pick the best possible side, what would you starting 11 be? (BE HONEST!)
“Other than Lascelles and maybe Dubravka, there’s not many at all who’d get in our team for me. Sorry!
“Dubravka, Smith – Lascelles, Ake, Rico – Fraser, Lerma, Cook, Brooks – King, Wilson”
A big thanks to this Cherries fan for taking some time this week to speak – with him answering these questions from a hotel in Newcastle after making the long trip up to Tyneside for today’s game!
Next up will be the thoughts of a Burnley fan ahead of our Monday Night football trip to Turf Moor in two weeks time.