Who would have thought, a year after promotion back into the top-flight league, Newcastle United would be the team to beat (alongside Manchester City – but then there’s not much surprise there). Particularly with a team not many would have rated, at least on paper, at the start of the season.
After selling their prized possession in Andy Carroll, and earning a tidy sum in the process, many expected (including Alan Pardew, the manager) to have picked up a quality, reputable striker to replace him and bring in the new dawn for Newcastle football. However, Mike Ashley, the much lambasted owner, was not so forthcoming, and apart from a few minor expenditures, has not relinquished much of the Carroll funds to purchase a proven star. This may have been the blessing this once great footballing side needed, as it has meant that the current squad, plus the addition of french midfielder Yohan Cabaye, and former West Ham frontman Demba Ba, have been able to gel more and thus have exploded into this season’s premiership with an unbeatable streak.
…wonderful free-flowing, passing style of football…
In fact it is the latter addition, Mr Ba, who has been the form player of late, netting two hat-tricks so far this season. The midfield have also been exciting in attack. People may have said Joey Barton’s departure would affect the midfield, and his transfer would weaken the side, but quite the contrary, they have developed a wonderful free-flowing, passing style of football that many in the league would seek to emulate. With the likes of the ever-mercurial Jonas Gutierrez causing mayhem each time he runs with ball-at-feet, alongside the free-flowing Gabriel Obertan and of course Cabaye, the midfield have been menacing defences each time they play.
In defence, the captain, Coloccini and the two Taylor’s, alongside Danny Simpson, have been a mostly inpenetrable force, keeping their line and moving forward in attack in equal measure. The real unsung hero of this un-glamorous outfit, is most definitely the Dutch keeper, Tim Krul, who has performed outstandingly so far, pulling off some truly impressive saves and close range shot-blocks.
…managed to prove themselves worthy of their spot…
Many would not have predicted this from a bunch of players such as the Newcastle team, but they have so far managed to prove themselves worthy of their spot in the league. Perhaps it is the manager, perhaps the unlikely chemistry of this disparate squad, or perhaps it is just time for Newcastle to re-emerge from their 15 years of anonymity and show the country once again that they are the pride of the North-East.
Images courtesy of Newcastle United and Jonas Gutierrez