It’s that time of the week again. The ‘Opposition Opinion’ is back, with us getting some thoughts from the East Midlands ahead of today’s huge game with Leicester.
As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this week’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 Leicester fan Gary Doherty, with him having the following to say ahead of their trip to St James’ Park:
“It’s been a mixed start, with three wins and three defeats in six games, but I can’t complain too much. Two of those defeats were by a fine margin against Man Utd and Liverpool.
“We’ve shown plenty in attack, with Vardy, Maddison and Iheanacho a brilliant trio to have in your armoury, but our defence looks very shaky.
“For example, we shipped four at Bournemouth and looked all over the shop in that one at time.
“This was our last away game in the league so I’m hoping we’re much better this time out! Putting Wolves out of the cup at their place in midweek should help, albeit on penalties.”
Q2) Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your current side?
“Vardy is an obvious one but I won’t talk about him much as I’m sure you know all about him. Put it this way, there can’t be many players who’re as emphatic as him in front of goal!
“New boy James Maddison looks top class. His technique is superb and he looks like an absolute star. He can clip in a superb set piece, he can score goals and he can pick a pass. Really impressive player.
“I also like Kelechi Iheanacho a lot. Wasn’t given much game time when he first signed but he seems to score more often than not when he’s given a chance.
“Maguire is another one of our main assets, but the main who’s been partnering him this season has been woeful – Wes Morgan. London buses turn quicker than him! I hope Evans starts ahead of him today. Chilwell’s crosses from LB are on to watch too.
“Another ‘weakness’ – Rachid Ghezzal. We’ve essentially replaced Mahrez with him and it’s a severe downgrade. He looks half decent at times but lacks that spark and is too predictable.”
Q3) Who do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in Newcastle’s side?
“I like Rondon but I see he’s out. Big shame for you as he’s much more of a handful than Joselu.
“Ritchie is a pest, Shelvey has bundles of talent and Jamaal Lascelles is a proper centre-back; no nonsense, clears everything out and a real leader.”
“Weaknesses – I don’t rate Ayoze Perez and never have done. It feels like he’s been playing for you for years, but I swear he’s never been THAT good?
“Joselu isn’t a Premier League striker either really. I know he’s scored a few this season, but he’s the sort of striker who you’d like to play against as a defender if that makes sense. I’m not sure what he offers.”
“Don’t rate Ciaran Clark either – and I read he could start now Fernandez is out. He’s slow and, sorry, but he’s Championship player at best. Vardy could murder him today.”
Q4) What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?
“You always seem to sit deep and focus on defending your own goal than attacking ours.
“That could mean we haven’t got the space to use Vardy and Iheanacho’s pace in behind, but we still have the quality to break you down, with Maddison pulling the strings.
“You’d be silly not to have a go at our defence, though. It doesn’t look great so this could be a case of ‘the best form of defence is attack’.
“I think we’ll score, but I don’t think we’ll keep a clean sheet unfortunately. Scoring draw for me.”
Q5) And finally, how do you see both sides faring over the season? Predictions for rough league position?
“I love some of our signings, but we’re treading water a bit under Puel. Not sure where it’s going to go.
“The likes of Everton, Wolves and Watford look better than us so I’ll say 9th or 10th.
“As for you lads, I think it’ll be a long season to be honest. I know you finished in the top 10 last season, but it felt like you were struggling for most of it. Unless you turn it around, I think you’ll finish 15th or 16th and just get out of trouble.”
A big thanks to Gary for taking some time this week to speak with us this week!
Next up will be the thoughts of a Man Utd fan ahead of our trip to Old Trafford next weekend.