Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Wales, we’ve been speaking to Cardiff fan Scott Salter from www.viewfromtheninian.com (@VFTNinian) about all things NUFC – gaining his thoughts on the club, Rafa Benitez, Newcastle’s team and this weekend’s game.
Without further adieu, here’s what he had to say:
Thoughts on Newcastle United as a club – and Mike Ashley?
“First of all, Newcastle are a great club. The supporters are passionate and loyal and deserve better than what is going on at the moment. I always remember when you guys were in the Championship and your average attendance was astounding and should we applauded.
“Sadly, I think Newcastle has become a bit of a laughing stock with Mike Ashley’s antics. It’s never nice to see a club’s fans and owner at loggerheads – we’ve had it with Vincent Tan, although thankfully those relations have improved. Too many owners look at club’s fans as customers rather than supporters, and sadly I think that is the case with Cashley.
Thoughts on our Newcastle United side?
“I think that you’ve got two or three real quality players, but other than that it’s a relatively poor squad, sorry! If you didn’t have Rafa last year, you would’ve struggled.
“Jamaal Lascelles is a quality defender and I don’t think it’ll be long until a top 6 club comes calling. I’m interested to see how Fabian Schar fares in the Premier League after hearing promising things about him earlier on in his career. Other than that, I think your defence is relatively average.
“Jonjo Shelvey is the obvious talented midfielder, and on his day can make a huge difference. Cardiff will have to be wary of him on Saturday as he could make the difference. I can also see Neil Warnock telling his players to target Shelvey as he could easily get himself into trouble with a bit of pressure.
“I think if you take out Shelvey from midfield, you’re quite weak. Even putting my bias aside, ex-Swansea midfielder Ki isn’t up to much. He’s been living off reputation for a while now and will be a poor signing for you, in my opinion.
“Up top, the signing of Solomon Rondon is a very good one. He’s a player many Cardiff fans wanted this summer and he’ll grab you goals, there’s no doubt about that.”
“If you take away Rondon I don’t think you’ve got much about you. Joselu isn’t a Premier League player and Ayoze Perez flashes hot and cold too much in my opinion.
Thoughts on Rafa Benitez?
“I’ve always liked Rafa. I think he showed at Valencia and Liverpool what a tactical genius he is – obsessing over the minute details. At Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid, I think he had a hard time but a lot of it was unwarranted.
“I think he’s finally being able to shown how good a manager he is once again at Newcastle. To achieve what he has achieved in the face of adversity and that bastard Ashley is unbelievable.
“I can’t see him staying with you beyond this season if Ashley is still in charge.
“It’ll be interesting to see how he and Warnock get on on Saturday – I read that they have fallen out a few times in the past. Expect a fiery touchline on Saturday!”
Thoughts ahead of Saturday’s game?
“I’m really excited for the game and I think that Newcastle is a great first home game for us. The atmosphere will be electric and you guys will be sure to bring plenty of fans down.
“I don’t think it’ll be the most stylish of games – both managers like their sides to be tight at the back and Warnock is famed for his long-ball style of play. I’m confident we can get a point.
“I think that the Cardiff players will be well up for this one after showing a few nerves at Bournemouth.
“If we can play at our best, and show the physical side of our game that bullied so many sides in the Championship, we could rattle Newcastle.
“I think we’ll edge it 2-1.”