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.
Here’s what Shane said to us during our chat ahead of the game:
Q1 – What short of shape / form do you feel Watford are in coming into this game? Feeling confident?
“We’re in okay form. We lost on Boxing Day to Chelsea which you may have seen on TV. We went toe to toe with them but lacked that finishing ability / final ball and produced a big result against West Ham to end their unbeaten run the game before.
“So with 1 win and 1 defeat, we really are looking to get 3 points on Saturday. I am confident of getting the win, but it may not be as straightforward.”
Q2 – Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your current side? Also, is there any ‘ones to watch’ (for good or bad) that us NUFC fans wouldn’t know much about from watching you casually?
“Biggest strengths for me are our attacking players and the midfield.
“Etienne Capoue has had a fantastic season for us as has Roberto Pereyra who’s our leading goalscorer. We also have Gerard Deulofeu who could easily be the difference / match winner on his day.
“Our biggest weakness is our defence. Whilst Cathcart has had a good season, he hasn’t got a good enough partner. Kabasele is out after tangling with the post vs Chelsea and with Mariappa stepping in, it’s definitely an area that Newcastle can exploit.”
Q3 – Which players do you see as the strengths AND weaknesses in this Newcastle’s side? Anyone you’re wary of and anyone you don’t rate?
” I think your biggest strength is Salomon Rondon. He’ll cause us problems on Saturday (surprised he didn’t start vs Liverpool!).
“I have to say Ayoze Perez as well as he was the goalscorer on a poor afternoon in November. I’m a big fan of Lascelles, demonstrates maturity beyond his years.
“I think your biggest weakness are your fullbacks whether that’s Manquillo or Dummett. They’ll potentially be up against Deulofeu and I honestly think he could cause them major problems. Yedlin vs Pereyra is another battle where I see us taking advantage.”
Q4 – What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?
“I think its a game we need to win at home in front of our fans.
“We’ve produced some great performances against the likes of Huddersfield and Cardiff this season and have pressured the big boys and beat Spurs.
“Whilst I said we’d win, I don’t think it’ll be as easy as we think. I’m sure you lot want to see a reaction after your Boxing Day defeat and Rafa is a shrewd operator (who I have a huge amount of respect for). He’ll aim to frustrate us and I can see an ex hornet in Kenedy doing some damage for you.
“I’ll go for a 3-1 win.”
Q5 – Which three sides do you see going down & why?
“I think Fulham will go down despite Ranieri coming in, they should have beaten Wolves and its those kind of matches where you need to grind out results.
“I think Burnley are in real danger, Dyche needs to go if they have any chance of surviving.
“Its a toss up between Huddersfield and Cardiff for the final spot. I’ll go with Huddersfield for now on the basis that they just can’t score goals. Cardiff’s home form may well be enough.”
Q6 – If you could sign one player from this NUFC side, who would you like to see Javi Gracia go for?
“Lascelles and Rondon for me. we need a CB and a ST and so would pick these two.
“On his day, Rondon is an absolute beast and Lascelles has leadership ability and a mature head.”
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?
“(4-4-2) Foster – Kiko, Cathcart, Lascelles, Holebas – Deulofue, Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra – Deeney, Rondon.
“That would be a top 10 side no problem!!”
A big thanks to Shane for chatting to us this week, with it sounding like they key could be exploiting their frailties at centre-back at one end and stop their danger men in midfield running the show at the other.
Next week we’ll have the thoughts of a Man Utd fan before the Red Devils come to St James’ Park for Wednesday night’s late kick off.