Newcastle: Is It Finally Time We Backed Them For Top Four?
I’ll be totally honest with you, I’ve paid very little attention to Newcastle’s transfer activity this summer, and when their line-up to face Manchester City on Sunday was put in front of me, I was a little confused.
I didn’t purposely ignore Pardew’s shrewd scouting of Ligue 1, but not being a fan of the French league means I’ll most probably know no-one he signs - and I was right in that regard. But there were some new, recognisable faces in black and white that didn’t come from Ligue 1.
For example, Jack Colback’s arrival from neighbours Sunderland caused a small Geordie storm in the North-East, I remember that one well, and of course Dutch defender Daryl Janmaat’s arrival from Feyenoord was a recent, post-World-Cup arrival, so that’s fresh in the mind.
Yes, it may’ve been that I got lost in the hype of the World Cup for the fact I didn’t notice the smaller, lesser known arrivals, but the fact Newcastle were a complete shambles last season also made me care not one bit.
Nonetheless, despite the 2-0 loss, Newcastle, and their new additions, didn’t actually look that bad and for the first time in as long as I can remember, Pardew wasn’t jeered off to a chorus of the boos by the Toon Army choir at half-time and full.
Remy Cabella, a £12million signing from Montpellier, looked bright – despite sporting the worst hairstyle of the weekend (Google it) - whilst Ayoze Perez, another summer arrival, from Spanish side Tenerife, came off the bench and looked lively too.
Pardew also seems to have, if only temporarily, patched over the hole that’s been gaping since Yohan Cabaye’s departure last January with Moussa Sissoko, a gap that was integral to his side’s complete meltdown in the latter months of last season.
On first impressions, the Newcastle debutants look to have improved a side that desperately lacked quality and they did give the reigning champions a good game.
Granted, Newcastle won’t be challenging for the title, but who’s to say they aren’t capable of nabbing a place in the top four?
With Liverpool shipping Luis Suarez off and Manchester United continuing to be the modern day Manchester United we all love to watch, there are, I’d say, five teams gunning for that final position in the top four.
Of course, you wouldn’t be judged if you’d prefer to back Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham or Everton, but with Sky Sports constantly telling us this will be the most exciting season yet, Newcastle might just be the ones to watch.