Just a few days on from Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park, the ‘Opposition Opinion’ returns with some thoughts from the Midlands ahead of today’s visit of West Brom.
As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this weekend’s game, chatting to 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 Baggies fan Danny, who has had the following to say ahead of his side’s trip to St James’:
Q1) What sort of shape do you feel you’re in coming into Saturday’s game? It must be a difficult time to be a Baggies fan right now, but I see your league form has actually improved since Moore took charge..
“There’s definitely a feel-good factor back at the minute. Darren Moore’s a modern day legend and having him in charge of the team has clearly got the players and fans up for games once again.
“We’re sort of a stage where we cannot lose anymore and that relief in pressure could see us put in a couple more solid performances before he season ends.”
Q2) Monday’s performance at Everton aside, we’re in very good form – especially at St James’ after winning four on the bounce. We’ll be up for it in a bid to secure a top 10 finish, but do you think your boys will be? Is there belief you could pull off the great escape or do you feel as though your fate is already sealed..
“The fans definitely feel that relegation is inevitable and have done since early February.
“All we can aim for now is to not finish bottom, but that doesn’t really sound like a lot to be motivated about.
“You have been playing really well since January and even though we’ve beat Man United and drawn with Liverpool, this will definitely be a harder game for the players to get up for.”
Q3) What do you make of Newcastle’s current side and the thought of facing us on Saturday? Which players do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in this NUFC side?
“Newcastle’s weakness is definitely up front. Dwight Gayle and Joselu are not PL quality and – if Mike Ashley allows it – Rafa should definitely make strengthening that area of his squad a priority in the summer.
“Newcastle’s strength is probably in the wide areas and centre of midfield. Jonjo Shelvey should be on the plane to Russia given Oxlade-Chamerlain’s blow and Kenedy’s arrival at SJP has been a major factor in the recent results.
“Matt Ritchie played well against us at the Hawthorns earlier this season, so he is also someone for us to watch out for.”
4) Likewise, who are the players to watch out for in your West Brom side? Anyone in-form players for us to watch out for and anyone you’d be looking to ‘get at’ if you were Rafa Benitez?
“Matt Phillips has been woeful all season but Moore has got him playing well again. He may be trying to put himself in the shop window but he is someone who could cause problems for Newcastle. Phillips v Dummett will be the battle to watch this weekend.
“Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon have also started to hit the target more regularly and James McClean is having one of his best spells in the blue and white stripes.”
“Weaknesses – Definitely Ahmed Hegazi. He has been a real liability at he back at times. He fails to maintain discipline and often leaves Craig Dawson to sweep up after him. I’m surprised he’s not banned for this weekend after his antics against Liverpool.
“He’s someone like Ayoze Perez could have a field day against him.”
Q5) How do you see the match panning out? Score prediction?
“My head says Newcastle win, but my heart says West Brom will cause a shock.
“In that case, I’ll go with 1-1!”
Q6) Jake Livermore – he’s been getting in the England squad and it’s left so many Newcastle fans absolutely baffled as it’s come at Jonjo Shelvey’s expense. Could you elaborate on that one..
“Jake Livermore was brilliant against Liverpool last week but that is really as good as it has got with him in a West Brom shirt.
“He’s been poor this season and has not really offered a lot in both an attacking sense or defensive one.
“I’ve already mentioned that Shelvey should be in the England squad for Russia. Livermore should be nowhere near it.”
Q7) And finally, Alan Pardew – He’s a man so many of our supporters love to hate and it seems like he’s one of the main reasons you’re facing the drop. What are your thoughts on him and his eventful time (for the wrong reasons) at West Brom..
“I stand by the club’s decision to sack Tony Pulis. We were in a real rut with him and he should have been sent packing earlier than he was.
“The timing of sacking Pulis and decision to replace him with Pardew is ultimately why we’re going down.
“The bloke is a clown and hopefully he never gets a job in the PL again. I wouldn’t even wish him on Villa or Wolves!”
A big thanks to Danny for taking some time to speak to this week, giving us another good read to whet our appetite for today’s game.
We’ll be back next week with the thoughts of a Watford fan ahead of our trip to Vicarage Road next weekend.