Following our opening two games of the season, the ‘Opposition Opinion’ is back once again this week, with us getting some thoughts from London ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Chelsea.
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.
This week we’ve been speaking to Chelsea fan Raj Pankhania, with him having the following to say ahead of their trip to St James’ Park:
“We’ve had two wins since Community Shield defeat to City, beating Huddersfield 3-0 and Arsenal 3-2. I’m impressed with our attacking and expansive style of play.
“We’ve been left quite open on counter attack as Kante is being played further forward with just Jorginho sitting.
“It’s work in progress though and we will only get better when they get used to Sarri’s system (especially with Hazard still to come back).
“The lack of cover at the back worries me though. We’ve scored three goals in both our opening games but we could’ve conceded five against Arsenal.
“Our pressing is impressive and I back us when it comes to scoring goals, but our defence worries me at the minute.”
Q2) Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your current side?
“Pedro is pressing really well from the front, his movement is brilliant between full back and centre-back and he’s in great form, scoring two goals i.n our first two games.
“Kante is now playing in a more advanced role which is a risk but it’s worked brilliantly so far.
“Jorginho has taken up his role and has done excellently so far, slotting straight in as our deep-lying playmaker.
“Alonso is being found out defensively. We’re paying a 4 man back four so he doesn’t have that extra centre-back to cover him when he goes forward. Brilliant in attack, however.
“Keep may struggle physically if you rough him up from set pieces. I’d fancy Rondon to cause him problems if you could pin him from corners.”
Q3) Who do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in Newcastle’s side?
“You didn’t strengthen as much as you should have. You brought in plenty players but I’m not convinced how many improve your first team?
“Rondon has Premier League experience. He’ll get more goals and improve his game in a better team and under a better manager like Rafa Benitez. Rafa will build a system around him.
“Shelvey is England’s best passer, but can you get him on the ball? If you get him into the game then I worry, but Kante and Jorginho may crowd him out.
“Yedlin seems to fall asleep a lot, so I see us playing little one two’s around him.
“Will Diame show up is the question? He was brilliant when we played you in May but seemed to disappear when I saw you against Cardiff. He will be key for you.”
Q4) What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?
“I don’t see you causing us too much trouble – I think this is the perfect time to play you to be honest.
“The Cardiff game was awful. I’m sure St James’ will be rocking and I expect you to be much better, but I can’t say I’m fearing you.
“We’ll press high and cause your defence problems. I think we’ll concede but I see us outscoring you comfortably.
“Newcastle 1-3 Chelsea.”
Q5) And finally, how do you see both sides faring over the season? Predictions for rough league position?
“I think we’ll finish 3rd. I can’t see us catching City and Liverpool but I’ve got a good feeling about us and think we’ll be the best of the rest.
“I’d say about 15th for you. You really need to keep Benitez happy but that doesn’t seem to be happening.
“If you don’t sign anyone in January you could be in trouble, but I think you’ll have enough..just about.”
A big thanks to Raj for taking some time this week to speak with us this week!
Next up will be the thoughts of a City fan ahead of our daunting trip to the Etihad next weekend!