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Newcastle United - Season so far...
By Kieron Roy
Saturday 25 Feb 2012 09:15:00
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The toon started the season off with a draw at home to Arsenal. The next three games were wins for Newcastle, our heads were up for the rest of the season, we were in good form. With an unbeaten run until November we came across Manchester 'money' City. But with the new free signing Ba who was in excellent form, we still had high hopes.


Now I will describe how I think the squad has performed and an overall rating:

Tim Krul: With 9 clean sheets so far, that does not match up to his performance, he is a natural shot stopper. Krul has countless times saved the magpies from defeat and also kept us in the match when most needed. With a massive kick, he has set up many goals, including Ba's first one at Manchester United. It would be a disappointment to see him leave at the end of the season due to his talent, but this season he has been incredible. Overall rating: 9/10.

Fabricio Coloccini: The leader, the big man at the back. Missing out a few matches due to injury, Colo has been nearly impossible to get past. There has been some bad points about his defending which he needs to improve, one is to get more pace about him and two is that he needs to be more affective when he goes up for corners. The Argentine has been very good at last minute challenges and has been very affective, where would we be without him? Overall rating: 7/10.

Mike Williamson: I can not really rate Steven Taylor as he has not played many matches, and is out for the rest of the season. His replacement, our back up defender Mike Williamson. Not the most experienced centre back but is physically big and is effective in the air. Has made a few mistakes at the back which has cost us, but you cant improve if you don't make mistakes. Not much more to say about Mike so I will end it here. Overall rating? 6/10.

Danny Simpson: Simmo the goal line saver. Why I say this? As I remember, 3 times this season he has saved us in the most important games, from the line. A signing from Manchester United, Simmo has been our first choice right back because of his pace and defensive skill, you could make some negatives about his play , like pushing up forward to help the attack but not tracking back quick enough, for example in the Chelsea game. A very big part of the back 4 and of the team, lets just hope he can keep it up. Overall rating? 8/10.

Davide Santon/Ryan Taylor: The reason why I am talking about these 2 in the same paragraph is because they have switched position due to injuries with Gabriel Obertan. Santon, a new signing from Inter. He owns pace and good awareness he has been a good part of the Geordie defence. Overall rating? 7/10.

Jonas Gutierrez: Not the fastest player in the team, and not the most effective this season. With good dribbling skills he has gone past most opponents and has scored in decisive matches. Good at tracking back and holding up the ball to push forward, Jonas has given the ball away too many times for my liking. Overall rating? 5/10.

Yohan Cabaye: Another new signing from Lille, Cabaye is technically gifted on the ball from free-kicks to corners to through balls. Yohan has a lot of assists, and has a great ball control and great vision to pick the pass for our attackers. Sitting in the centre of this season, Cabaye has not only assisted in  big matches but also has finished goals in big matches, such as the Man U game when he finished that great free-kick. Hopefully we can keep him for next season, as we could get into the Europa League he would be in a big part. Overall rating? 7/10.

Cheick Tiote: An animal in many viewers eyes. A physically strong player, with pace and is master at the long shot, this Ivory Coast international has played one of the best out of the whole squad. He has not only helped out in the middle by moving the ball on but has also won the ball back when tracking back to defend and has been a big help towards attacking set pieces. Whilst at the African Cup of Nations we have shown that we have missed him, big time! With big clubs interested in this 25 year old player, it is very unlikely he will not be in a Newcastle shirt next season as he is Champions League standard. Pardrew will have to use his persuasion skills to keep this multi talented player. Overall rating? 9/10.

Hatem Ben Arfa: The reason why I am talking about Ben Arfa here rather than Obertan or Ryan Taylor is because I have seen him play right midfield more than anyone else. Anyway lets start. What can I say? On and off performance for this Frenchman, a skilled and talented player in many ways, very confident on the ball when taking on players this season, and can play that pass that is special to the attackers. Has moments of brilliance this season such as his performance against Blackburn in the Carling Cup fixture, which he picked up Player of the Round in. Not many appearances this season due to not a good team player and is a ball hogger at times. Good comeback from a massive injury last season. Overall rating? 7/10.

Leon Best: He is a substitute striker, and he is a decent player when we need him. A replacement for the main strikers when they are out. This season so far he has scored 4 goals, not the best record as he is not a natural goal scorer but has scored when we needed it. Offers from Celtic (on loan) which he has tuned down due to him wanting to fight for his position, from my perspective, I want him to get games because he is a useful outfit, so I would not mind if he goes on loan. Overall rating? 7/10.

Papiss Demba Cisse: Now this is an interesting one, even though he has only played in 2 games from when we bought him from SC Freiburg. From what I have seen so far, I can see that he is a multi talented player. In his games he has showed great first touch, good vision and a good accurate shot. A good debut goal, what else could you want? That will be it for this player, will be mentioning him more in my Blogs to come. Overall rating? N/A (not enough games to rate)

Demba Ba: GOD! This player is too good. Picked him up for free from the bubble blowers (West Ham) and I bet they are kicking themselves. With 16 goals so far, Ba is currently the third top scorer in the league. Great finishing and good in the air, Ba can finish from any angle. With a perfect hat-trick under his belt, his confidence is sky high and he proves that on the field of play. Missing games for the African Cup of Nations, we have struggled badly. This season he has proved himself to Pardrew, the fans and especially other clubs! I would be disappointed to see him walk out the door for a Champions League team. Well too sum up one of our best players this season, he is a key part to strive forward and get the spot we deserve. Overall rating? 9 and a half out of 10.

Well that is my view on the players so far this season, I'm sure you all have a different aspect.

Now I shall talk about our targets for the rest of the season.

As I can see our odds to get 5th is average. From a fan's perspective I think if we work harder, by improving at the back with pace and controlling the ball in the middle of the park we are eligible to get that Europa League spot. Of course Ba will look to be more of a contender for the Golden Boot.

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