The winning mentality!

Confidence, self belief amongst the playing group, a winning mentality. I don’t really care what you call it to be honest, all I know is that I want it to continue in earnest as the season kicks on. What has changed is hard to put a finger on. Fresh players have been given a chance and injected life into a squad that was stale and had seen little change over the first month and a half of the season.

Two in two!
Two in two!

Pardews’ tactics also seem to have evolved (a little) and buoyed by a shot of confidence, he is making more right calls than wrong. On that point, I have always maintained that Pardew is a confidence manager, when he is down his teams are right there with him, so it is nice to see he is showing a little more swagger again. I still harbor doubts over his long term tenure in charge but for now, Pardew is showing some backbone and if we keep improving, I am prepared to cut him some slack.
Everyone knows that winning games is the best way to regain lost confidence and pride. Until the second half against Spurs, I really had no idea where or when we would see either of those things but something has changed and the results have followed. Every player has stepped up a notch and they all are fighting hard to the final whistle. We are pressing hard in the middle of the park, getting players into the box more regularly when we attack and most importantly our defence is not leaking goals.
So I guess it is up to each person to decide what has made the difference during the last four games. No one factor is contributing alone, it is a combination of things. Everyone sees things differently but I think we can all agree that things are as good at the moment as we have seen for some time.
Long may it continue!

198 thoughts on “The winning mentality!

  1. I think the counter attacking style suits Pardew. However, often in the past when we were chasing a game we would leave ourselves too open and get hit by the opposition and end up with a demoralising loss. That’s why we have so many 3 and 4 nils under Pardew. He tried to emulate a more Continental style and attack with wing-backs and tuck our wingers in. As soon as we lost the ball this left us exposed because our full backs were up the pitch.

    Janmaat and Dummett take care of their knitting more than the previous incumbents and perhaps it took a while to settle and perhaps Pardew has fluked a system that works. Who know, it is early yet.

    I still don’t like the lone striker approach, but if we are running with the ball with Sissoko or wingers, rather than hoofing it, then it gives us a chance to get players in support. It frustrated the hell out of me last year when we would belt it with Krul or Williamson up to Shola on the half way line and 9 times out of 10 it would be pinged straight back at us. And Pardew didn’t change it, that’s why people said he was a Championship manager.

    Finally, people can argue all they want about who said what about Taylor and Williamson in the past. The fact is that we should believe our own eyes and see that the Coloccini/Taylor partnership works better and Coloccini looks twice the player with Taylor in there. Fingers crossed, you know Stevie is made of glass.

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  2. Newkie – I think there are 2 main differences – Pardew has realised that Sissoko and Gouffran aren’t wingers and has replaced them with players who do play that position, whilst at the same time putting Sissoko in a position that better suits. The second thing he’s done is got his defenders concentrating on defence.

    Cholo – as good as Cabaye was for us, he was always looking for a move to a bigger club. I wouldn’t want him back coz I reckon it would be the same again. I know every player wants to play at the highest level they can, but I reckon most of the players we have at the moment are totally focused on playing for us.
    The ironic thing is that Sissoko could well end up taking Cabayes place in the France side.

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  3. Arsenal wanted him before and I can’t see him coming back here even on loan. It would mean having to swallow your pride and admit your not good enough for a CL top side. It won’t happen anyway but I would welcome him back if it helped our cause.

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  4. Yeah have a few friend that support Arsenal and they are crying out for a deep lying CM. They like Tiote but Cabaye is more Wenger’s type of player I think

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  5. Stem – if I were LVG I’d be getting Cabaye at Man Utd mate. I know they desperately need to strengthen their defence, but I also think they are missing that midfielder. He’d be their new Paul Scholes if you like.
    I know he’s been linked with Arsenal in the past, but I think they are fine for playmakers. I reckon Arsenal need a good ball winner in there more than Cabaye.

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  6. Sharpy17 I reckon you right there mate. Cabaye would do well at Manu if given the chance. I am enjoying watching Manu suffer at the moment.

    Kim I would be sad to see Toite go. I reckon he still has a part to play this season. 12 million will only rest in our account till summer and I would rather have him here.

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  7. Kim – I think Arsenal are more in need of a Tiote type midfielder than Cabs. Can’t believe they threw their lead tonight.
    Napoli are supposed to be front runners for Toots though and they are ready to pay Β£12m.

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  8. Good to see all the ex footballers including KK praising Pards for his management skills. I can see them, they can see them but most on here are blind 😎

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  9. Mds agreed, we have struggled to break down determined defences for a long time, even with cabaye. Hopefully siem and cabella have that bit of class and patience to break them down – bennyvwas never patient enough.

    Georgio yeah I would like a little more entertainment but think you are right, pardew defo favours the counter attack. Iys better than hoofball though and if we can keep winning ill be happy..

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  10. Sharpy, to be fair sissoko did start with us in the middle, but he often mucked up his forward runs with a heavy touch. I think his time on the wing has given him time to work on a few things. He defo looks the part now though. Goof is an odd one, lets not forget he was getting rave reviews this time last year for his efforts on the wing, has he lost his hunger? Defo would prefer to see aarrons or Sammy out there though, as they can actually cross!

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  11. Newkie – every game I watched 2nd half of last season and the start of this one Sissoko was on the right and Goof on the left. To be fair, he was creating chances – 3rd, only Silva and Nasri creating more. But despite that, it’s not his position and he never looked natural or comfortable there. Same goes for Goof, who is best as a 2nd striker – only Pardew doesn’t play with one. I think Goof will come back better after a rest though.

    Troy – I believe KK used the words ‘the board stuck with Pardew for whatever reason’ and ‘Pardew has shown he’s got character’ – it’s hardly a ringing endorsement.

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  12. Sharpy@90, The ” what ever the reason ” = He’s cheap and does what he’s told. I suspect KK knows this all too well.

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  13. Sharpy I’m a big fan of Goofy, he did very well for us last season, got some nice goals. He just seems out of steam at the moment, maybe he needs a little rest, hopefully he comes back like before.

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  14. Sharpy-like I said when we bought him, he started off in the centre and attacking midfield, but got shifted out wide after a number of disappointing performances amongst the one stormer he did have there and so we could try and integrate our other centre mids . He got punted out wide and while he’s not a natural winger, like you said, he consistently created chances for Remy, Cisse et al. I remember seeing something that without Remy we had the worst chance conversion in the league with our strikers – showing that the chances were being made, usually by sissoko’s cut backs. He couldn’t cross for toffee but he did well and it allowed him to improve on his touch and decision making imo.

    Anita seems to have finally been given the push from our side which has allowed Sissoko back in the middle, and long may it continue. I just don’t think Anita is cut out for this league, he’s been here like three years now.

    As for Goof as a second striker, personally right now I’d have Riv, Cisse and Ayoze all ahead of him, he’s a solid player in a number of roles but I just don’t think he’ll ever be any more than that – and Ashley is happy with that with the minimal outlay he has spent, I expect he will want to see Aarons, Armstrong and Ayoze progress so he can get big money in the future. I’m sure Pardew will have been made well aware of it.

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  15. Kim – Goof is out of steam and out of position. A break will do him good, but if Pardew keeps playing him on the left he’ll continue to struggle IMO.
    I think last nights result means we are actually better than Madrid!. They were playing Lpool reserves last night and only won 1-0 πŸ˜›

    Kim – despite what Troy may want to believe, I don’t hate Pardew and I don’t think he’s ****. He has been hamstrung by Ashley and the board and saw his better players sold from under him. He is not tactically brilliant, but there are worse. But my biggest issue has always been that he doesn’t utilise his squad – until recently that is.

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  16. I still expect us to be struggling in a relegation battle until at least January. My views of the squad are still the same. Shit.

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  17. Troy – the last game of the season is the 24th May – so if you think the relegation battle will only last until Jan, that still gives plenty of time to make the top 10 πŸ˜†

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  18. Speaking of how Pardew sets up a team, Pardew traditionally sets up a team around a key player or a couple of key players.

    From Andy to Ba to Cabs to Remy to De Jong? With De Jong injured who is he modelling the team around?

    Is the lack of key player currently on the park allowing the team to play (finally) as a team?

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  19. Griff – you make a good point mate. Rather than an individual player I think his current ‘secret weapon’ is his pacy wingers and he’s set his side out the to fully accomodate those. I think Sissoko is pretty pivotal to this set up at the moment though.

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  20. If Tiote and Anita leave in January, we have Bigi, Vuckic in reserves and they would be useful, during ACN

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  21. I suspect that is the case too Sharpy. So does this setup mean we need more of a poacher type as the lone striker? Hence the recent success of Perez?

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  22. Dam only 23c today,hope Sharpy has some de-icer left poor lad.
    I think the team more or less fell into place with the kids pace and 100%effort helping the rest of the team than planning by pardew.imo

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  23. Cholo – I personally don’t think Vukic is good enough and Bigi hasn’t developed in the way most hoped. I have no issue with selling Tiote and Anita, but I don’t think Vukic and Bigi are good enough replacements personally. By all means give them time, but for me we should buy at least one midfielder to replace those 2 – which should still allow a route through for Vukic or Bigi.

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  24. Ice – agree with that – fell into place. Sometimes that’s just what happens. Pardew hasn’t suddenly turned into a brilliant manager. It’s just Cab and Riv were really poor, De jong out, Cisse, Tiote Willo injured. His hand was forced and he got lucky.

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  25. Its the pacey wingers that have made the difference. Teams can’t push so high up the park against us because of our counter attacks. Liverpool tried it and we should have scored a second against them when Cabella was put through.. also it really keeps the opposition wide defensive players under check as they are less willing to overlap and push forward..
    best form of defence is attack! πŸ˜‰

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  26. Cholo: Why are you trying to usher Anita and Tiote out the door? Abeid made his premier league debut on Saturday and now is a locked on first choice? I know Anita has struggled but nobody struggled more than Obertan who wasn’t even picked for the NZ tour, a pre-season friendly tour for Gods sake and he was left to train with the reserves. If this tells us anything, it tells us Pardew is fickle as f@ck, so Anita could definitely still feature. And why would we want to get rid of a squad player like Anita, isn’t that the point of a squad to have options, especially in case of injuries? Pardew doesn’t seem to rate Bigi or Vuckic at the moment. They haven’t featured even for a struggling team or in the cup, but this might change because as I said Pardew is fickle as f@ck.

    On the other hand, I do agree with dropping Anita because he needed a kick up the @arse.

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  27. Agree about the young players and injuries call.. no way Abeid would have got a run otherwise. ?.

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  28. Staying with Anita. I think he looks a tidy player but I am not sure what is role is? Is he a defensive mid or a play maker? Is he cover for Tiote or Colback or Janmaat? If the team could define his role, I think we might get more out of him and that is down to the coaches. He was bought as one of these “versatile” players but that often hinders a players development in my opinion.

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  29. Griff – I think it certainly suits the CFs we have at the club at the moment mate. To a degree I think we still play with a lone striker, it’s just not the big target man we’d need if we played through the middle or the more direct route.
    I think the likes of Cisse, Perez, Armaz and Rivière are all pacy and like playing facing the opposition goal. They all like running in behind the defence or getting across defenders in the box.
    With wide men like Sammy, Oba, Cabella and Aarons in the squad they all play to our forwards strengths. With those players we can play 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 and change the system within the 90mins if needs be.

    What frustrated me was that Oba and Sammy were in the squad last season and Pardew had ample opportunity to try this system then too. But he was too busy feeling sorry for himself at the loss of Cabaye. He brought Gosling and Shola into the side – 2 players he knew was leave at the end of the season, in a desperate attempt to keep things going. He didnt have the vision or outstanding of his squad to try something different. He stuck with a system that wasnt working for 5-6 months – then continued with it at the start of this season.
    Life’s about learning from mistakes, let’s hope Pardew has learnt from his.

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  30. Agreed Sharpy. This set up was forced on him. Like I said, Pardew prefers to craft a team around a key player. As we all know he is none too strong on Plan B πŸ˜‰

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  31. Anita is a good footballer, but he really isn’t physically strong enough for the EPL in my opinion. Winning that midfield battle or at least competing in there is crucial. But when Anita is in there I think he’s a passenger sometimes. I think we cut our losses and allow Anita to go back to Holland where he can compete, and we get a replacement.

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  32. I think the time has passed for Vuckic, I think he’s just far too injury prone. He couldn’t even nail a place down in league one and you have to think he and Campbell will have a tough time ahead if Armstrong is ahead of them already in playing AM/Striker.

    I’d let Anita go now (not his fault but we should never have got him in the first place) and let Tiote go if he wants to go – the situation seems a bit weird to me. We’ve kept Colo when he wanted out and it’s not really worked out, no sense doing it again. I’m hoping Tiote wants to stay though, i still think we could find a place for him in the first 11.

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  33. Aussie @108

    100% correct. Not just pace. But wingers with a bit of attacking intent.

    Problem is Jonas, Gouffran, Obertan, all of them used to have attacking intent until Pardew coached them into second wing backs.

    Really hope he doesn’t do the same to Sammy and Aarons because even in the game against Spurs I heard him tell Sammy that he was pushing too far forward.

    Sit back and you invite pressure and leave no outlet. I hope he’s realized that now.

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  34. troy

    for the last 12 months you have said the same thing over & over again.

    i used to enjoy reading your comments – there now just the same as your view of the squad.****

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  35. JJ-Jonas used to have attacking intent despite the fact he only ever really grabbed a goal or two each season, even before Pardew? He’s never been a prolific scorer or assister in his career, just a solid outlet and grafter.

    I don’t think Obertan has changed much in his time here – it’s all about confidence and recently he seemed to have that, relying on the instict to attack rather than dithering as he used to when he joined us. Goof is an odd one though. Did Pardew run him into the ground? Is it his own complacency? Not sure really.

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  36. Sharpy-15 mil to a non PL club I would take it, as always with the caveat that it needs to be reinvested in the squad. It should allow us to buy a central defender of real quality and cover his “wages and agents” in the fee too.

    People are saying Abeid can replace him after only a couple of matches – I wouldn’t be fully confident of that, but we need a defender more than another midfielder with Sissoko, Colback, Abeid, Anita, Biggy all able to play at DM, even if they won’t all be up to his standard.

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  37. Roy,

    Couldn’t agree more. As an avid reader of the blog I am beginning to get frustrated having to skim past the dozens petty comments and arguments caused by Troy’s steadfast approach to turn often insightful comments and discussions into a paltry d!ck measuring competition.

    Not everyone has to agree, that’s the beauty of a forum, but if you’ve nothing constructive to say then feel free to vent on the comments sction of the Chron instead. πŸ˜‰ 😐 😑 😈 πŸ™‚ πŸ™ πŸ™„ πŸ˜›

    As for this season, I’m still undecided on Pardew, especially looking at the December fixture list (most of last seasons top 6) but pleased that we’re playing marginally better football and winning. For the first time in a while I’m actually looking forward to the next game!

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  38. Newkie – Β£15m to Napoli I’d defo take, if it was reinvested. Equally, if Roma came in for Santon I’d take a Β£10m plus fee. I’d take Β£4-5m for Anita. That would give around around Β£30m to reinvest. A CB, midfielder and wide man. Then sign Danny Ings on a free.

    Matey – Dec looks worrying granted, but what do you think is realistic from Nov mate?. I reckon 7 points from 9 is achievable personally. If we can get that, then anything we get from Dec is a bonus.

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  39. Troy you confuse me at times. How can you call the players **** when they have beaten Leicester, Spurs, City and Liverpool ? There not easy team’s to beat by a long shot. I am proud of the players and hope there good form continues. It the happiest I have felt in a long time. I just want to know why are loan hasn’t gone down and where’s the profits gone over the last three season’s. No-one can answer that question.

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  40. The first ten fixtures tell us that precictng points from Nov and Dec is going to be tricky – I’m going for 15 points from the next ten fixtures, (give the game I’ll settle low for 11 and getting past Spiuts in the LC), but that could mean losing to QPR and winning at the Emirates for all I know!

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  41. Hope we get a result from the Baggies game, they seem to be a bogey team for us. Should we lose then it’s momentum lost as it’s the international break again πŸ™„ Is it me or this season even more stop start than normal πŸ˜•

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  42. Vurnon Anita ‏

    “Stop making up story’s !! #diostagrandi let’s keep on winning #nufc”

    Another Ryder story blown apart, Not as bad as the Jonas showdown talks “exclusive” a few weeks back but more abysmal journalism…

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  43. Seems that way to me, Kim – Baggies would be a good game to win, although they’re far from pushovers. One game at a time, hope he sticks with Colback, Abeid, Sissoko, then can select any two of the pacy Ameobi, Cabella, Aarons to start behind Perez, odd one out to come on later…

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  44. Sharpy – Yeah, 7 is achievable and I’d be fairly content with 5. Draws at WBA and West Ham would be respectable given their form and can’t see anything other than 3pts from QPR at home.

    Having watched a few of the other Prem games this season I’ve preferred watching the ‘smaller’ teams over the big guns, Southampton especially. Some good football and more goals in the bottom half. Going to be an interesting run in?

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  45. Matey – I bet the likes of Ashley has enjoyed Saints this season as well mate. Huge changes to their team and big fees coming into the club. Yet they didnt go out and spent huge money on players coming in – and no massive individual fee for any one player. I like them coz there is no superstar in that team – just 11 players working hard for each other. I think that’s kinda what we’ve got going on at the moment as well.

    Yeah, I’d settle for 5 points as well – it would continue the unbeaten run as well. I think if we can aim to try and get around 25 points by the 1st Jan then that would be a good first half of the season considering how it started like.

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  46. Sharpy@125- if we could sell Santon for 10 mil then I would drive him there myself. He’s a good player and a likeable lad, but Dummett and Haidara are both more than capable of nailing the spot down themselves and right now I’d have both of them ahead in the pecking order, despite Santon’s “pedigree” and the fact he is arguably the most talented with the ball at his feet.

    We need to get rid of one of those three and make some money to invest elsewhere.

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  47. CC – what’s the made up story Anita refers to mate?.

    Journos are cheeky *******s aren’t they?!. Having a go at Rodgers for his team selection last night – they lost 1-0. His best 11 lost 0-3 the week previous game and they were at home!!. Where do they get off!!.

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  48. Newkie – they reckon that’s what Roma are willing to pay for him coz they aren’t happy with how Ashley Cole is doing. For me the other option would be to move him into the 3 man midfield if we sell Tiote. I actually think he could be a great fit in there.

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  49. Newkie: I like Santon, but as a left back you can predict with 99% accuracy that he will cut inside when he attacks. Dummett and Haidara have more variety and will take the man on outside.

    I don’t see any reason to sell any of our squad except to line the fat man’s pockets. Having Santon or Anita as backup makes sense to me. We have seen with De Jong and Obertan how easy it is to sustain an injury. Neither were even touched and are out for months. Same with Santon himself, I don’t even know that we were ever told his injury was so bad?

    I mean, why do we have to sell? If we sell in January, unless we are in big trouble, Ashley will trouser the cash until at least the summer. It happened with Carroll and Cabaye.

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  50. CC – I never saw that article mate. Good on Anita for showing them up though.

    I did see the article that said Abied is getting his international call up though. Congrats young man!!. To think we were ready to sell him for 300k in the summer πŸ™„

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  51. Roy & matey,

    That’s the great thing about blogs. You get people like me on that don’t give two ****s what people think. πŸ˜›

    You wouldn’t believe how much many on here grate on me. It works both ways. πŸ˜‰

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  52. It doesn’t work both ways Troy. You grate on many whereas nobody cares if they grate on you πŸ™‚ I thought you had a think skin. You did when I tried to rile you, which is the only thing that has ever impressed me about you.

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  53. Eric

    Seriously, nothing bothers me about anything said on the blog. That’s what I always find amazing that people actually get upset or take exception to comments.
    I don’t for one second think you’re a moron like you come across on here. You’re probably a canny kid in real life. πŸ˜€

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  54. Way to go Troy. He says:

    “That’s the great thing about blogs. You get people like me on that don’t give two ****s what people think. πŸ˜›
    You wouldn’t believe how much many on here grate on me.

    Says he isn’t bothered what people say and then in the very next sentence says people grate on him. No wonder we don’t know what he is talking about half the time. He said Pardew should be sacked if we lost the Leicester game, but now he told everyone Pardew would come good. In the Troy world, if we win it is all due to Pardew, if we lose it is because we have a crap squad. You can’t argue with that because he has himself covered both ways, even though it is a false argument.

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  55. *Troy – fair comment.

    Newkie – With the left backs, its both strange and welcome that we have 3 reasonable players for that position compared with elsewhere in the team. Options as I see it are:

    1. try one of Haidara/Santon further forward in a couple of lower profile games and see how they do.
    2. start playing Dummett as a CB more often as Pards has hinted at with recent games. Better long term option than Willo surely?
    3. sell one of them.

    Or any combination of the 3?

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  56. Eric – as your old friend Hattie might say, “Time to let it go my friend.”

    I agree with you though about potential sales. We just don’t have to and actually can’t afford too especially with ACN next year.

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  57. And Troy: I don’t like Pardew, I don’t like his patter and how he blames everybody else. I don’t like the way he goes on long runs of awful football and results as shown by his numerous past sackings.

    However, if we play good football and string some more wins together I will accept he has turned over a new leaf and make a deal with the devil. I am a total whore that way when it comes to NUFC. So, onwards and upwards, Alan is the greatest πŸ™‚

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  58. Georgio: I am not sure if the qualifying is done but we could potentially lose Cisse, Tiote and Abeid for the ACN. Just one more reason we need cover.

    The only reason I can see for us to sell Tiote in January is for maximum value because he is not Champions League cup tied and might have value to Arsenal, Roma or even Liverpool.

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  59. Sharpy-fair enough, he’d be a hell of a lot cheaper in the long run than keeping Cole on big wages too. I know what you mean about the midfield, think he’s played there once or twice and ideally he’d be like Jonas was when used as the outlet in the midfield three two years ago. He and Sissoko storming forward from the centre with Aarrons and Cabella on the wings would cause trouble..but if we could get 10 mil for him now I’d take that and try and improve other areas, he’s essentially a third choice left back now.

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  60. Eric

    Many on here grate on me but I never feel the urge to bring it to their attention particularly when I’m not even conversing with them. However, many feel the urge to tell me yet they rarely contribute anything towards the blog or they complain they can’t get on the blog because of me, yet when they get on they talk about cosy nights in and what’s on TV. It’s incredible. πŸ˜€

    As far Pards goes, I’ve been consistent throughout. πŸ˜‰

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