Who has impressed you the most in pre-season?

Haris set to make his mark?
With pre-season done and dusted and with all the focus now on the big kick-off of the Premier League season it gives us some time to reflect on what we’ve witnessed so far.

I’m not on about Twitter controversies or rumour of player unrest. I’m not on about Mike Ashley, Derek Llambias or the Β£35 million. I’m not even on about the Visa issues and logistical issues of our tour of the US or the fact that our squad was split in two at what is a vital time of the season. Instead I want to focus on what we have seen on the football pitch. I mean after all, that is what it’s all about isn’t it?

It’s seems odd that a summer of discontent had brought about some bright spots but to me there have been some very impressive performances from some of our players in the run up to the new season. I know it’s folly to read too much into pre-season friendlies, but to me some of the performances of some of our players have given me a decent sense of optimism as we head into the new season.

I suppose the best place to start is with those who will be featuring in the first team, which takes me onto Yohan Cabaye. Now we’ve not seen a lot of him in fairness as he has been holed away in Holland due to a technical hitch with his American Visa, but from what I have seen of him I’ve been impressed and have no concerns about him fitting into life in the Premier League.

Cabaye is full of energy, has a great range of passing, runs all day and can tackle. He is the complete midfielder that we’ve been missing and teamed up with Cheik Tiote in the middle I’m struggling to think of many better central midfield pairings outside of the top four.

The game at Leeds was what impressed me the most about Cabaye, although that is probably because I was actually there. It wasn’t just me who was impressed though and many people in the crowd shared the same view as he ran up and down the pitch, mopped up anything that he could, and even grabbed himself an assist via a corner.

Dan Gosling is another player who has impressed me in the pre-season. The big question mark was how would he look after so long on the sidelines. The answer is that he has looked very good and will give Alan Pardew an extra headache when it comes to the midfield area.

He has shown energy and drive with a trick or two thrown in for good measure. He’s been on the end of some rough tackles and has got up from them which will be good for his confidence. Gosling could be very important for us this season if he is willing to use his versatility to his advantage as there will nearly always be a position that he can play that needs covering.

Tim Krul has just about nailed the spot as No1 in my opinion after a string of decent performances. He’s come of age over the summer and is now a full international. Yes he still has rough edges to his game but he will improve. To me he is the best keeper we have on our books at the moment.

Onto the youngsters now…. We’ve finally started to see why people raved so hard about Haris Vuckic. The Slovenian bagged two goals and has looked very tidy when he has been called upon. The lad even earned himself a start against Fiorentina such is the level that he has found in the run up to the season.

Sammy Ameobi is another one who has impressed. He’s already a cult hero amongst the Toon faithful thanks to his brother, but it’s his performances on the pitch that have caught my eye more than anything. The term “young and fearless” springs to mind when I think about Sammy. He’ll run at players and can beat them with tricks and pace. In short he is just like his brother can be but on a more consistent basis.

Mehdi Abeid is another one of our young lads who has impressed me. I’m still not sure what his best position is but from what I have seen he can play on the left, right, or through the middle and is comfortable on the ball. Another impressive Newcastle youngster? It seems as though he has the potential for it at least.

Now I’m not suddenly turning around and saying that everything is well and we have no concerns. Far from it in fact. What I am saying though is that amongst all the turmoil, the Twitter, the in-fighting, there have been some reasons to be cheerful (1, 2, 3).

Who has impressed you this pre-season?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

66 thoughts on “Who has impressed you the most in pre-season?

  1. I agree with all the youngsters and newbies mentioned. Cabaye, Gosling, Vukic, Abeid and Sammy. I think some fans would be happier if we had paid 35 million for these lads but I dont think price paid always reflects quality bought. Getting these guys in for almost nothing and bringing them through the ranks should be what we are aiming for right now and I for one am excited we get to see these lads flourish. In a few year we will finally shed ourselves of overpayed underperforming players like Smith and Xisco and there wages alone will pay for any improved contracts we have to offer to keep good players in the team. If one of them suddenly becomes worth 30 mill to another team no doubt we will let them go but that only gives the next lad the opportunity to shine.

    Once the season starts a lot of fans will stop worrying about those we have lost as they will get to see what we have and as the old saying goes no player is bigger than the club. I look forward to us paying our debts off so we can spend more on a players with proven pedigree but I have a lot more faith in our scouting network than I used to and I for one dont think we need to spend 35 mill just to see success.

    I am sure if we dont show up against Arsenal there will be many unhappy fans but we have managed to spend a lot of money in the past and still not show up. A young squad with energy and ambition will take us further than some lad on a huge contract who is going to sniffle if he cant take the free kicks.


  2. For me it was Gosling and Vuckic that stood out in pre-season. Fosters display at Leeds all but handed the No.1 jersey to Krul, especially seeing as Harper is nursing an injury, it’s Krul’s to lose now.


  3. I havn’t seen any pre season games so can only go off what I’ve read and heard, so that would be Cabaye, Gosling, Krul and maybe Vukic with Cabaye being the pick of the bunch. Lets hope he can produce in the prem, I can remeber Jon Dahl Tomasson having a cracking pre season!!!! πŸ˜•


  4. Vuckic and gosling have made the biggest impressions with me. Both of them really like pushing for goals too, which is going to be looked for from our midfield


  5. Pretty much the same as everyone else … but only from highlights clips.

    Cabaye, Gosling, Vuckic, Abeid and Sammy.

    Good signs.

    Hopefully a good season …

    Please support the players on the blogs … Simpson & Guthrie had a few bad moments in games last season but 99.9% of the time were good … but a bandwagon of criticism started and wouldn’t go away … Perch tried 100%, picked up cards from trying too hard and got slated.

    Everyone makes mistakes … let’s be a bit more generous this season and not play the blame game. Pleeeeease.



  6. reading this iv new found optimism and started to think of players we have…. ben arfa young ferguson collocini wow maybe its not as bleak as it looks after all top way to start the morning :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 😎


  7. Let’s get real.Β 

    I would love to say the pre season was a great success and the new buys shone out like beacons.Β 

    The facts are they haven’t. None of them.Β 

    That may be down to conditions, extreme heat in the USA, artificial surface, torrential rain or any other excuse you can think of.Β 

    But I’ve read reports and listened to comments and seen video highlights or lowlights.Β 

    The only real guage we got of real competition on a level playing field was against Championship Leeds. the pre season has been a disaster for many reasons. Players without visa’s, torrential rain, extreme heat, artificial surfaces and any other excuse we’ve had.Β 

    What has Cabaye really shown?
    You describe him as the complete midfielder?Β 
    Steady on!Β 
    We got beat and Joey had a rant at half time and later on twitter expressing his concerns of relegation being a possibility.
    What did Cabaye do that impressed you so much but was on the losing side?

    Or any of the new signings for that matter, to really say they’ve impressed?Β 

    They may in the future and it may all come together but seriously, can you say it has so far?Β 

    It’s nothing but positive drivel.Β 
    Well done for the article as it’s well written and provokes comments but I don’t accept Cabaye or any player deserves any mention of doing well.Β 


  8. Now i am really confused, Pardew said that in relation to Barton and Nolan, he could see 1 yr contracts as the way forward, Ameobi ( 1 yr older) has signed a 2 yr extension contract today?


  9. Haha – time to park your bull**** bus Bobby me thinks.

    It may have been full of football-starved pessimists who just went along for the ride during the summer, but the season is about to start and there is no place for your incessant pishing and moaning anymore.

    Maybe you could trade it in for a cotton candy machine? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜†


  10. Probably not a name many’d expect to see, but and given what has been a difficult pre-season, the man that’s impressed me is….. wait for it…… Alan Pardew!


    He’s been faced with frustrations and constraints on transfer activity; being undermined over and constrained by the funds he’s found available for transfers; the so called ‘board’; a shambes of a trip to the US; visa problems; public outbursts from players, player or players wanting away and of course trying to build a team that;s united and ready to face the season ahead.

    Under such circumstances, others would have walked and despite weaknesses which I’m sure his detractors will raise, I feel he’s done a helluva job under very difficult circumstances!

    😳 ❓


  11. @Robert, I don’t think the specific length of time was necessarily the de facto contract that will be offered. The point he was making was that contracts for old ‘uns will be short.


  12. Its worth pointing out that in that game where Barton aired concerns over relegation he was hardly great himself. In fact Cabaye made him look silly. Good on ya lad. Vive la France πŸ™‚


  13. @TC

    the thing is, there’s not one of you who could put their hand on their heart and say, I’m confident the players bought are going to improve the squad from last year.

    I haven’t seen anything to guage it on otherthan the Leeds game and we got beat.

    It’s utter fantasy, make us feel better drivel.

    Just be honest instead flowery edges.


  14. @Robert

    Well, yes. But I was never debating that. Personally I’d be shot of him, I was merely pointing out that the length of contract offered isn’t a wild departure from what Pardew’s discussed.


  15. Bobby – you haven’t seen anything full stop you *******.

    You weren’t at the Leeds game so stop bull****ting.

    I was. Toonsy was. As were many others on this blog, and we all agree that Cabaye looked outstanding.

    So here you go: hand on heart I believe the players brought in will make this seasons squad significantly better than the one we finished last season with.


  16. @toonsy

    Cabaye made Barton look silly?

    No Pardew made Barton look silly by demoting him from taking dead ball kicks.

    I’m still lost how you can be impressed by a player based on one game in which we lost.

    Let’s not forget, Barton is proven and voted by most as player of the season.
    Cabaye has done nothing of note yet.


  17. My 9 year old son has Cabaye in the back of his Toon top and non of the French kids have heard of him. He’s gutted. πŸ˜•


  18. Yeah Robert, I think it’s down to wage demands. People can stick up for Barton and Nolan all they want but the reason they werent given extensions is because they wanted long contracts on the same or increased wages.
    I love Nolan but the fact he went to West Ham shows he is money motivated.

    I’m glad we’ve given Shola an extension, doubt we’re going to get any better squad (hopefully 4th place!) strikers.


  19. @TC

    There you go again. Someone disagrees and you resort to abusive retorts.

    He’s now outstanding is he?

    Hmmm. Never heard many others calling him outstanding. πŸ˜•

    Not a day goes by without you embarrassing yourself does there? πŸ˜›

    Outstanding! πŸ˜›


  20. Abusive retorts – haha – have you heard yourself? πŸ˜†

    Aren’t you supposed to be on holiday???

    What a sad little man you must be. I feel sorry for your wife and kids.

    “Daddy, daddy – come play with us.” “Not now kiddies, someone on the internet is wrong and I must correct them.”


  21. @toonsy

    You gave the brilliant Cabaye 7/10 for his performance against Leeds.

    Hmmm. πŸ˜•


    Yes my little friend. Cup of tea and on the Internet for an hour whilst the kids have a lie in.
    Off to the beach now on my speedboat.

    It’s the reality boat. πŸ˜†
    It’s called “la poubelle de la mer”.

    No flowery names for me. Au revoir. πŸ˜›


  22. No Pardew made Barton look silly by demoting him from taking dead ball kicks
    You can’t really mean that can you? Barton was poor with free kicks last year. Is it now his job for life?

    Believe it or not there is good football played outside of England these days.


  23. Don’t you mean “Le bateau conneries”? πŸ˜†

    Bonnet de douche, Bobby. Bonnet de douche.


  24. Interview with Sir John Hall:

    “The offer from the other party at Freshfields waived that right and was a better deal. I was told that the man behind the deal was Mike Ashley and I sat with his representatives over 3 days thrashing out a deal. I was keen to know why they wanted the club and they were quite honest. They wanted to market their sports goods in the Far East and would use the Club to help do this. To me it made sense to market the Club globally. It was a win win situation for Mike and the Club. We hadn’t done that.”

    Anybody still want to tell me that they weren’t lying about trying to generate funds by changing the stadium name to SportDirect@StJames, and plastering SportsDirect all over the ground as advertising to prospective sponsors!?!

    Sports Direct will be there and no other company or funds will be generated from advertising until the day Ashley leaves.

    Again… no problem, his club… but why do they just continue to flat out LIE about it… LIES LIES LIES… This is why I will always hate this board. Can’t believe a thing they say, so no wonder they never comment. It’s be pointless.


  25. “August 10, 2011 at 08:34

    I havn’t seen any pre season games so can only go off what I’ve read and heard, so that would be Cabaye, Gosling, Krul and maybe Vukic with Cabaye being the pick of the bunch. Lets hope he can produce in the prem, I can remeber Jon Dahl Tomasson having a cracking pre season!!!! :???:”


    Tomasson was a cracking player for both club and country, he was another young player never given a fair chance with us. And we let a go a big talent.


  26. Bobby Shinton number 9
    “We got beat and Joey had a rant at half time and later on twitter expressing his concerns of relegation being a possibility.
    What did Cabaye do that impressed you so much but was on the losing side?”

    Having been a massive fan of Joey, I honestly think his contant whinging and throwing his toys has been the single most damaging factor to our preseason.
    He has exposed himself as an arrogant little prick, and in all honesty I think he was trying to talk himself into a forced move – only now to realise that nobody decent actually wants him – even on a free.
    He seems to now have realised that he perhaps has it better than he realised and subsequently has shut his gob with regard to the club.

    Anyone who has played the game knows that when your best players see themselves as better than the rest, and start talking and playing that way, the team falls to pieces.

    Joey needs to shut his mouth and play. I’ve lost a lot of the respect I had.


  27. JJ… I actually quite liked him, my point is you can have a great pre season but it doesn’t automatically follow that you’ll have a great season. Pre season games mean nowt and prove nowt, win. lose or draw πŸ˜‰


  28. Surely we have discussed Twitter controversies or rumour of player unrest, Mike Ashley, Derek Llambias or the Β£35 million, Visa issues and logistical issues of our tour of the US or the fact that our squad was split in two at what is a vital time of the season enough…

    There’s plenty of mileage left in those topics πŸ˜†


  29. There’s a very good article posted up by Blip at #20, regarding the current status of our 25 man squad. Just had a read, poses an excellent explanation for why we’re in the “sell to buy” mode.


  30. ….just popping in randomly, apologies for calling everyone g@ys and the like last night. I was @rseholed. Feel gggrrrrrrrrrreat at work. I’m not homophobic. I call people c*nts all the time too and I’m not c*ntophobic neither. Tatty bye……


  31. @Thad, it makes sense given Pardew’s comments at Obertan’s revealing too:

    “We still need another striker and we’re still pursuing that, and if we lose a player we’re going to replace him.

    “Within the squad at the minute there’s one place available for a striker and that search is ongoing until such time as we get the right player in.”

    So… Erik Pieters in only if Enrique/someone else leaves, then. That 25th spot is clearly reserved for a striker.


  32. A player to stand out this summer and show he is ready for a go at the 1st team is young Vukic. Pardew, please give him the experience he needs in the Prem this season. He has great potential. Yes, at times he will make simple mistakes, but without the experience he will simply stagnate and learn little, failing to realise the enormous potential he unquestionably has. Giving him a fair crack this season will benefit this club and his career in the long term.


  33. Depends who you include in the 25 man squad, ie; Raylor/smith/Perch/Lovens etc.
    The person for me who has stood out pre-season is Pardew, dealt with all the **** around him admirably and honestly. Without him and Carr`s magic we`d be well stuffed. For me the squad is much stronger(on paper at least) than last,even without Barton.


  34. any striker or defender transfer news 2day lads?? pardew in full swing for a striker my arse!! wheres the bids then …


  35. pre-season is for fitness.

    the time to impress is when the season starts – simple as.

    i’d enjoy nothing better than sticking it up the arse on saturday night xx

    & just for the record – i’m not gay.


  36. I thought you were p1ssed Rod…good lad for apologising but understandable given your work circumstances. Hope everything works out…


  37. I dont give a nelly what your work circumstances are. No excuse for calling people d*ckhe*ds without any form of provocation. I wouldn’t want to employ someone with that kind of childish attitude.


  38. shamrock – you just have to take rod with a pinch of salt anytime after 11pm.

    he’s a good lad really – chill oot man.


  39. Roy – Perhaps he could wind his neck in and not bother logging on after 11pm if he is just going to act like a muppet. If he is big enough to make those comments, then he doesn’t need people rallying around making excuses for him. I deal with enough idiots in my day job, shouldn’t have to put up with it on a football fansite.

    You are right though, rant over and back to football! πŸ˜›


  40. Shamrock as wor Roy say’s after 10.30-11 Rod has had a few sherbets and he is only 4 ft tall so he cant really hold his drink. But before that he is a gent. If he calls you owt just think of something worse and call him it as he will take it in the spirit that he hands it out.


  41. Big Dave he’s obviously a gent at 11:50 in the morning? His constant up and downs suggest he is either bi-polar or schizo. Don’t think I’ll bother biting anymore. He’s obviously ‘special’ and should be left well alone.


  42. Shamrock he means no harm mate. And if you dont feel like giving him abuse you just ignore him , he will then start to argue with himself for the rest of the night. πŸ˜† you normally find he only slags people he likes,? He must really like Batty as he gets dogs abuse πŸ˜€


  43. Possible striker?

    Tim MatavΕΎ – Groniongen & Slovenia. He 6’2” and 22 years old. Scored 20 in 35 last season, has 4 in 9 for his country and is fluent in English. Probably available at Β£5m to Β£6m.


  44. He is great in the air, a bit of a fox in the box and generally quite intelligent. Exactly the type of player we need up front and would help Vulic along too. I must stress his name has been linked to us at all in any report, however he is clearly up for sale. His club were going toflog him to Napoli but the deal fell short on personal terms. Now reportedly Ajax are looking at him. I’m sure if we went in for him, we could be very attractive to him.


  45. I’ve been most impressed by the optimists amongst our supporters.

    I don’t know how you manage it lads.


  46. BBM….I think it’s a bit like the lottery, you know it’s nearly always going to end in disappointment but every now and again you get a result, just Β£10 and **** all in the grand scheme of things but it’s just enough to keep you going back every week πŸ˜‰


  47. Let’s take a look after the first 6 or 8 games. Right now everyone looks brilliant to most people. I will reserve my opinion for the real thing. Not sure about Ba so we really do need a primary striker as most agree. Liked what I saw of Gosling, Marveaux, Abeid, and Cabaye. Have finally calmed down over the Shola extension. That was rough for a while there.


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