What do we think of the Newcastle engine room?

Posted on October 27th, 2009 | 60 Comments |

Looking and feeling a little rusty in the middle?
Looking and feeling a little rusty in the middle?
Yesterday’s review of the current squad, took a look at the Newcastle defence, an area that this season we’ve been surprisingly strong in, given our poor reputation in recent years.

Tonight looks at arguably the fulcrum of a successful team, the midfield, the place that could and should control a game and dictate the style of play. That doesn’t bode well for our side at the moment because arguably, we have a midfield full of players who are very similar and lack pace. Therefore, the pace is often pedestrian and the game often goes stale.

Looking at the current crop, it really makes you pine for some of our former midfielders who have graced the hallowed St James’ turf in the last couple of decades. Reminisce about the grace of French wingers David Ginola and Laurent Robert. Recall the guts, determination and drive of Robert Lee and Gary Speed. Consider the guile we had in Emre, albeit fleetingly, and the sheer brilliance of Nobby Solano. Even having pure pace ala James Milner, Keith Gillespie to worry the opposition. You can even look at some of the less popular characters. We would kill for the pace of Kieron Dyer and dare I say, I could forgive Jermaine Jenas. Possibly even Damien Duff is a big miss? Maybe that’s stretching it…..

Anyway, that was the past, what about the present? –

Kevin Nolan – It’s difficult to be anything other than impressed with elements of Kevin Nolan in a Toon shirt this year. He looks committed, he’s saying the right things and appears to be a great influence on the youngsters and the rest of the squad. His goal return speaks for itself and he has won games almost on his own. Just imagine what he could be like if he got more than half-fit…….. rating so far – 8/10

Joey Barton – Ahhh the badly-behaved engima…….what to say about the one man who still divides fans to this day between those who want him long gone and those willing to let him repent and reform. And yet his ability, the one thing we always thought both sides could agree on, though not about whether it was enough to warrant him staying, is sorely lacking. Yes, he’s potentially a very good player but when will that finally be realised? At the moment he looks a shadow of what we were hoping for. His injury just yet another reason to be sidelined, along with other well-documented problems. So far not so good for me…….. rating so far – 5/10

Nicky Butt – The majority of Newcastle fans appear to have given up on Nicky Butt but personally I still wanted to give him time. I believed, and probably still do, that he has experience and quality left to offer at this level. However, he hasn’t been great this season, although pre-season injury probably upset his preparations and he looks sluggish. His lack of pace times can leave him exposed with nippier opposition…….. rating so far – 6/10

Danny Guthrie – When he first came, he looked the slick, accomplished midfielder you might expect to come out of Liverpool’s academy. Despite a lack of pace, his touch and passing was extremely tidy and his set plays effective. He did go off the boil last season, as did many, but I don’t often see him hide and he’s started to influence games more this term. Had his best game on Saturday against Doncaster……… rating so far – 7/10

Kazenga Lua Lua – Fringe player who looked like breaking into the first eleven, amid clamour from the stands, to inject a little pace into the side. Does like to get at the opposition but hasn’t proved that he knows when to run with it and when to drop it off. Hopefully still one for the future……… rating so far – 5/10

Geremi – Technically still very good, but unfortunately, his legs seemed to have gone before he got here. Playing cameo roles when required this season and even looked like staking a claim for a permanent place after a decent spell but illness put paid to that. Picking up obscene wages all the while. What more to say?……… rating so far – 5/10

Alan Smith – Along with Enrique and Nile Ranger, my pick of the bunch in black and white this season. Many wrote him off and I’m happy to admit, though I supported him all along, I genuinely thought the only happy ending would be if we parted ways, and since proved horribly wrong. He has been the indomitable captain marvel in the middle of the park all season. Snapping, swearing, supporting, putting himself where it hurts in every game he’s played, and breaking up play and using the ball well. Nobody can be anything but happy with what Smudge offers us right now?……… rating so far – 9/10

Jonas Gutierrez – From best to worst, certainly in terms of expectations. I believe we’re still unclear on what ‘Spiderman’ cost us but despite his international status, whatever it is was, it’s sure to have been too much. He had one great game at Man Utd last season, a handful of decent games followed and otherwise hugely disappointing. Overplaying, play-acting, flattering to deceive, no delivery and about as likely to score as this sale saga finishing anytime soon………. rating so far – 4/10

So once again, I’ve rambled, enough of my reviews.

What do you lot think?

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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60 Responses

  1. is ashley going to stoke it in jan or is he hoping he will make make it.
    lads watch tis it will cheer you up.

  2. IMO are best team from what ive seen this season is






    No Ranger!

    And bbm to give Jonas 4 and Barton, Lualua and Geremi a 5 is actually a joke!

  3. Toon_Factor says:
    October 27, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    What has Gutierrez done in your opinion this season. Well last season for that matter too?

    He hasn’t created any goals, he hasn’t sored and and he’s been injured too.

    I love his work rate but wingers are there to create and score.

    Although I agree about Geremi. How has he got more than 1?

  4. TF did you look at me ytube clip,plus your line up is shite m8.did you factor lol that strolla is in jured ,wheres niles our best forward but greatly over looked.stick to pialla you no the fish dish with rice.

  5. BBM my pick of the bunch is the same as yours I am so glad for smith that he is at longlast showing what he can do. As for butts engine its as bad as a Renault lol

  6. hitman – aye, it looks aboot as real as Ashley’s vision for the Toon.

    Not sure what’s funnier, the fact the missus and my 4 year old both hammered me at bowling on the Wii or the dog farting and looking disgusted with the smell.

    Off to pump some iron in the garage, or maybe just pump generally.

  7. Stu – the old ‘uns are the best. Like worky and Hugh. And probably hitman and batty. Maybe even Big Dave….

    Just pulling ya legs ladies ;)

    Hey BD – feckin £1741 for my car mate. My ears started bleeding when I heard.

  8. Last season it was Gutierrez first season in English football and despite not scoring he got 5 assists (the most in our squad) and without him last season we barely got into the opponents half may I add.

    This season Im not sure how many assists he has as I cant find a record of it but I remember him getting two against Crystal Palace

    Anyway he has a very high workrate, he can thread the ball through defences (unlike anyone else in midfield), because of his skill and trickiness it means most teams have to put two men on him which leaves space on the field, he wins free kicks, he gets a few assists now and then, he’s shooting more I noticed and Enrique seems to play better when he’s on the field, the list goes on.

    Finally if we had a decent manager, who brought a good, flowing style of play with movement not the usual long ball then he would be a lot better, sometimes it seems were playing in slow motion as non of players seem to run into space and drive forward. How many times do you see him with the ball looking for someone to pass to? its only Enrique as he’s the only one who runs into space! If Martinez was are manager Guttierez would be fantastic!

  9. bbm,from what i have heard your a bit of a wimp,well thats what stardy told me like,now see if you where true why not invite me for a training sesh.lol

  10. 15 Toon_Factor says:
    October 27, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I don’t think I’ve read such a hearty defence for a player who has failed to live up to his reputaton by such huge margin!

    I remember Palace, R Taylor scored a great goal form outside the box so that’s one less assist you thought he had. I don’t know abiut the other goal though.

  11. bowburnmag says:
    October 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm
    Stu – the old ‘uns are the best. Like worky and Hugh. And probably hitman and batty. Maybe even Big Dave….

    Just pulling ya legs ladies

    Hey BD – feckin £1741 for my car mate. My ears started bleeding when I heard
    <<<<< fckin hell they must have seen you coming

  12. Hitman
    “did you factor lol that strolla is injured”

    Yes I did you stupid div, I said this is our best team from what ive seen this season and has Ameobi played this season? Yes and scored 4 goals that’s 4 more than Ranger. Jesus!

    Can’t believe I told batty you’re an intelligent version of him, I do apologies Batty! You’re as thick as they come hitman.

  13. hitman says:
    October 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm
    bbm,from what i have heard your a bit of a wimp,well thats what stardy told me like,now see if you where true why not invite me for a training sesh.lol
    <<<<< hes not into male naked mud wrestling thats why :lol:

  14. 18 batty says:
    October 27, 2009 at 9:34 pm
    bowburnmag says:
    October 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm
    Stu – the old ‘uns are the best. Like worky and Hugh. And probably hitman and batty. Maybe even Big Dave….

    Just pulling ya legs ladies

    Hey BD – feckin £1741 for my car mate. My ears started bleeding when I heard
    <<<<< fckin hell they must have seen you coming

    Aye in a fckin Bentley!

  15. Stuart79

    At Palace, Jonas passed the ball across field to Ryan Taylor who shot and scored, that seems like an assist to me

  16. batts lad im fit as a fiddle m8,TF you silly man look at the team you put out on here,thats what i was getting at. WORKY YOU MAKE IT HARD.

  17. hitman says:
    October 27, 2009 at 9:41 pm
    batts lad im fit as a fiddle
    <<<<< dont u meen your on the fiddle lol

  18. hitman – I’m no Mr Universe like Hugh, who likes to bench-press blocks of flats.

    Just trying to look a bit more muscular than a fifteen year old schoolgirl. It’s work-in-progress. Done nowt for months because of the Great North Run and footy.

    T_F – Jonas flatters mate, honestly. I’ve watched him quite a bit this season. He’s pushing ten buttons when he only needs to press two. Could be great but needs to get rid of bad habits. I always advocadted him as a right wing back to be honest. But I’m not sure he can tackle.

  19. Toon_Factor says:
    October 27, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    At Palace, Jonas passed the ball across field to Ryan Taylor who shot and scored, that seems like an assist to me

    Aye that move was started by Steven Taylor so we’ll give him an assist too eh?

    Fckin Gutierrez. He’s havin mare at the mo.

  20. BBM thats ok m8 id probly bench press ya,plus i did the great north run for mcmillan.but aye wont go into that.
    i lost me wife too breast cancer a few years back like, thats why i suppourt mcmillan.

  21. BBM – My take on this is that Moat is still waitig for an answer.

    The Telegraph said yesterday that his offer had been rejected, now they say he cannot get hold of Ashley t get a decision.

    Seymour Pierce have also been finding it difficult to get in touch with him too.

    I find him a complete bizarre human being.

  22. Reet then, my ratings:

    Kevin Nolan – 8/10: Can’t knock his goal scoring.

    Joey Barton – 3/10: Can’t think what he’s done that’s good this season except make up the numbers a few times before he got injured.

    Nicky Butt – 3/10: Hasn’t impressed me at all this season. Slow and gives the ball away too often.

    Danny Guthrie – 7/10: Yep, agree with you there.

    Kazenga Lua Lua – ?/10: Not seen him enough.

    Geremi – 4/10: Played a few decent balls but looks off the pace these days.

    Alan Smith – 9/10: Great season so far. Lots of hard work and enthusiasm. Great at supporting defence … can go forward too.

    Jonas Gutierrez – 6/10: Makes Enrique. Appreciate opinions that he lacks final ball but work-rate is high and I think he’ll come good.

  23. hitman – sorry to hear that pal. Can’t imagine anything being harder to come to terms with than losing the missus or the little one. Not sure how I’d cope. You seem like a pretty strong bloke though, so I can only hope you’re getting through it best you can mate. Some sad stories at that run, has me bloody welling up for the day.

  24. Hughton appointed manager and Ashley takes club off market!

    He is to invest £20m into the club this week.

  25. What a fckin panto!

    I guess he has no option if nobody is prepared to buy the club.

    Their also looking at naming rights for the stadium and a new sponsor after this season.

    A good suggestion to Ashley – Get rid of that buffoon Llambias!

  26. “as well as welcoming offers for the stadium naming rights for next season.”

    It’ll be the “Sports Direct” stand and the “Greggs” stand.

  27. I doubt The £20 million will be going on transfers, but they have worded the statement to make you think it will.

  28. Sports direct stadium!

    Surely even he wouldn’t do that?

    How much of this £20m is going to the first team?

    I’m relieved it’s over but I still just wonder about the long term with Ashley.

    What hppens if we go up? He’s spent a bloody fortune already and he will have to spend another fortune for us to stay in the PL. I don’t think he’ll do that.



  30. Their also looking at naming rights for the stadium and a new sponsor after this seasonhow do you know that im sure it didnt say that in the statement did it ??

  31. TF.

    Changing it from St. James’ Park… To what, any company with money they can give to Ashley?

    No more Adidas kits.

    Not even a proper manager. Hughton’s appointment is a money saving farce if I ever saw one.

    This is a joke.

  32. andyNUFC

    I dont agree with changing the stadiums name and stuff but i’ll support my team forever

  33. Newcastle 2 – 0 Crystal Palace : gutierrez 2 assists…

    RYAN TAYLOR gets off the mark for the Magpies as, collecting a GUTIERREZ cross from the left 20 yards out, he measures a dipping left-foot strike to perfection with the ball gliding inches above the out-stretched fingertips of Flahavan – what a start for Chris Hughton’s men!

    2min – NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): It takes the Geordies just 99 seconds to break the deadlock! JONAS GUTIERREZ clips a delightful ball in behind a static Palace backline allowing Kevin Nolan, venturing deep into enemy territory, to dispatch through the legs of Flahaven for his first for the club – what a start!

    gutierrez has made 2 goals from 7 games this season and that is not to bad if you think about his injury he got in the huddersfeil game, but like the rest of the team has not kept his early form of the season. but that in mind, if you look at the fact he goes deeper in to the wing than any other of the wingers at our club and streches other teams out more than anybody, its an insult to him to be rated under joey barton geremi butt and lualua, if you look at their contribution togheter they have yet to score a goal and they have one assist from a joey barton corner that went to a penalty.. you are way off when you give him a 4 jonas! why should his preasure be higher then guthrie, (who had a string of bad games this season) barton, butt and geremi when they have been in the english game for many years and jonas coming from la liga, needs time to figure out the english game.. he isn’t superman.. :)

  34. a, did’nt read the earlyer posts, just a reply to the article :P

    ashley staying.. i will still support the team, just glad this mess is over. the only thing that concerns me is that the 20 mill he is putting in to the club is the same amount that moat would get from the barcleys overdraft… :P