17After a few weeks away thanks to yet another international break, the ‘Opposition Opinion’ is back once again this week, with us getting the thoughts of a Burnley fan ahead of our trip to Turf Moor tomorrow night.
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 Clarets fan Neil McCarthur, who had the following to say during out chat this week:
Q1 – What have you made of your start to the new season and What short of shape are you guys in coming into this game?
“Something really is missing at the minute for us.
“We were brilliant last season, being full of energy and so organised at the back, but we look tired and a little flat this year.
“The Europa League qualification process took its toll on us, with our season essentially starting in July because of it!
“We got a good point and clean sheet in the 0-0 draw at Leicester last time out (and I’m hoping this is something we can build on), but we’ve not won any of our last five and look far more beatable this season unfortunately.”
Q2) – Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your current side? Any ‘ones to watch’ (for good or for bad) that most NUFC fans wouldn’t know about from watching you on Match of the Day?
‘Our strength is definitely at the back, although we’ve not been quite so convincing this season.
‘Tarkowski is our star man for me, so you’ll be glad to hear he’s injured! That being said, Ben Mee is solid, but he might not have enough to deal with Rondon if he’s as good as he looked against Bournemouth!
‘I like Defour. Solid midfielder whose good work goes unnoticed and same applies for Cork.
‘Gudmundsson is a decent winger and our biggest threat on his day, however we lack goal scorers up top. I’m not convinced Vokes, Barnes or Wood will ever get into double figures in the league.’
Q3) – Which players do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in Newcastle’s side?
‘I’m a fan of Rondon. He’s a real handful and an absolute unit. He hasn’t always convinced in front of goal but he looked unstoppable when I watched your win over Bournemouth on Match of the Day.
‘Ritchie is another good player who puts in good deliveries which Rondon will thrive on.
‘Kenedy has potential but he and Perez seem a bit too inconsistent for me. One minute I watch them and think they look real talents, the next minute they can’t make a simple pass.
‘Like us (when we’re good), your defence is your strong point. Diame protects it well, but you have some really solid centre-backs. Lascelles is surely due an England call-up and Fernandez looks like a very shrewd buy. I think Gudmundsson could get at Yedlin, mind.’
Q4) – What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?
‘I can’t say I’m very confident!’
‘I’ll be surprised if there’s more than two goals. If this happens, I’ll be shocked! That said, you lot are on a high and we are struggling and unreliable at home all of a sudden, so I wouldn’t like to say how this will pan out!
‘Two teams who don’t have a great deal of quality, so it may come down to who works harder, is more organised and, more importantly, takes their chances.
‘I worry you’ll get the better of us, but I’ll say a 1-1 draw. It won’t be a classic!’
Q5) – With is currently bottom of the pile, we’re already hoping there’s three worse than us come May next year. Do you think you will go down? Which three sides do you see being relegated?
‘I can’t lie, I’m fearing the worst right now.
‘The combination of struggling for goals and clean sheets isn’t a good one. I feel like our players don’t quite know how we can better last season so are a little deflated.
‘I’ll remain optimistic and say we’ll just stay up, with Huddersfield, Cardiff and Southampton going down.
‘I think you’ll be fine. Your squad is better than some suggest and with Benitez in charge you have the edge over just about every side in the mix. You’re lucky to have him!’
Q6) – If you could sign one player from this NUFC side, who would you like to see Sean Dyche go for?
‘I believe we could do with a big target man similar to what Lambert used to be for us, so would like somebody like Rondon, or even Joselu just to bring that different option.’
Q7) – Finally, if you had our two squads to choose from and were asked to pick the best possible side, what would you starting 11 be?
‘(4231) Dubravka – Lowton, Lascelles, Tarkowski, Dummett – Defour, Shelvey – Ritchie, Perez, Gudmundsson – Rondon’
‘I know I said I didn’t rate Perez too highly but he’s’
A big thanks to Neil for taking some time this week to speak to us. He doesn’t sound too confident, which could bode well ahead of tomorrow’s game.
Next up will be the thoughts of a West Ham fan ahead of next weekend’s game at St James’ Park.
(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)