Have Newcastle United got their priorities right?

Posted on October 26th, 2010 | 116 Comments |

Hughton: Which way will he turn tomorrow?
Hughton: Which way will he turn tomorrow?
Chris Hughton will begin the toughest week of his NUFC career tomorrow when his United side begin a home double against Arsenal in the Carling Cup before a derby day with Sunderland on Sunday.

Tomorrow night’s last 16 meeting with the Gunners was unexpected for Hughton and arguably a game he did not want his side to have after his second 11 edged Chelsea in a 4-3 thriller at Stamford Bridge.

But here we are facing a mid week game five days before his first derby as the United boss at home to Arsene Wenger’s side.

The big question however is what approach will the mild mannered Magpie boss take tomorrow? Will United again call upon the reserves of our limited squads with the likes of Nile Ranger and Peter Lovenkrands returning.

Or will he gamble against what is sure to be a young Arsenal side, after all If we can get past Arsenal that would leave only Manchester United left from last season’s top 6 assuming they get past struggling Wolves tonight.

Hughton has come under pressure for the first time during his reign in recent weeks following poor home defeats to Stoke City and Blackpool and a derby defeat will not boost his position at the club any more.

But does this mean United must rest our entire side tomorrow night? I am all in favour of bleeding our youngsters into the side through the Carling Cup in the same way Arsenal have done, and the likes of Haris Vukic and Nile Ranger are certainly capable of producing a performance tomorrow night – as shown at Stamford Bridge.

United did not expect to be involved in the draw but luck once again failed us and paired us with yet another giant – but like Chelsea it is no reason to fear them.

Arsene Wenger will of course field a vibrant, exciting, attacking young side who will cause us problems, but far less problems against a strong side.

I just hope Hughton resists the urge to rest the entire side for Sunday, I would love to see the mix similar to Cheslea, a mix of youth with experience, quality and first team football – rocks like Check Tiote and Williamson just to guiude our players.

Fielding a second string team will not gurantee us victory on Sunday but will almost surely gurantee us defeat tomorrow, and if Sunderland were to beat us as well and we were out of the cup, then the resting of key players will be even more fruitless.

carling-cupBragging rights mean so much to both sets of fans of course and rightly so, the pasison and excitement which comes with a tyne-wear derby is something special but can’t United enjoy the best of both worlds?

Its not a case of ignoring the derby day but United have already been given the added bonus of the game being on a Sunday, giving the United side four days to recover what ever the outcome tomorrow night.

No fan needs reminding of United’s wait for silverware and the league cup has become a very possible answer to our prayers due to Chelsea, Manchester City’s, Spurs and Liverpool’s early exits.

The upsets so far tell me the League Cup could spring an upset this year with an underdog making the final and I just hope United fans don’t look back and wonder what might have been.

NUFCBlog Author: Paul Reece Paul Reece has written 14 articles on this blog.

Related Posts:

116 Responses

  1. I would play a stronger side than before, but still rest players like Barton, Tiote, Carroll, Collo, Enrique

    Jonas-Smith-Nolan (or Guthrie)-Routledge

    Bench- Loven, Simpson, RTaylor,etc.

  2. I just dont get NUFC fans. Why have you a vote on should Houghton get the sack? Why do you cry out for instability at your club after the last 10 years?

    Newcastle are doing as well as most people expected and with a stable club should survive. From there you can build. You cannot compete at the top due to the hegemony and overseas money so accept this and support your manager.

    Good luck for the season. Arsenal have picked a strong squad by the way.

  3. I would like a strongish team tomorow, obviously don’t risk the likes of Carroll and Barton but if we are gonna ‘get our priorities right’ I think this is still an important game and the best chance to progress to the latter stages of a proper competition for a very long time. I would be very disappointed if they threw this away because of simply not enough effort. Arsenal traditionally don’t travel well to the North East and I don’t think it will be as easy for them as they think. Plus we can’t exactly wrap everybody in cotton wool, players get injured in training ect and the flip side is that this could be a good workout with 3 days to rest before the derby.

  4. just to let you know,we will not be fielding a young side,as you said would you rather save your players for the derby or have them feeling the strain trying to get through to the next round of the cup.

  5. Normally i would be saying play a second string tomorrow, because Sunday is too important.

    However … the last time we won something (texaco cup in 1975 … whatever that was) was 35 years ago.

    I would want CH to put out a near full squad tomorrow as I think winning something this season would be a better feeling than not winning on Sunday.

    Clearly there are those who will argue … and I understand the mackem tramp thing … but a cup … a real trophy … something silver … a cup run to look back on with affection …

    This is possibly the best chance of winning a trophy for years … go on CH give it a go :)

  6. fred says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm
    I just dont get NUFC fans. Why have you a vote on should Houghton get the sack? Why do you cry out for instability at your club after the last 10 years?

    Agreed I think that vote has been on long enough and should be taken off.

  7. Disagree Shrews, the derby all the way for me…..

    Carling Cup would be nice, it would give us something tangible, but beating Sunderland is bigger and goes deeper than a cup in my opinion….

    Then there is the bigger picture of our PL survival. It is three points closer to another season in the prem…

    £100,000 for winning the Carling Cup?


    £40,000,000 for another year in the prem?

    Same team that played against Chelsea for me like….

  8. fred…the vast majority(94%) don’t want him sacked, I suspect at most clubs there’ll always be a few who aren’t happy with their manager.

    I think we’ll field a mix of young, first team subs and maybe a Colo or Willo at centre half, looking forward to the match and hopefully it’ll match the game v Chelski…with the same outcome ;-)

  9. f### it. I want us to really go for it.


  10. First of all off-topic.

    R.I.P Mr Paul the psychic Octopus. :(

    Secondly,i got gut feeling Wenger will go all out,and we will not face a very young arsenal side.

    beside,wenger wants to give more minutes to some of their first-team players who just came back from injuries.

    We might expect to see Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs could be in line to start, while Laurent Koscielny is also likely to play after recovering from a back problem.

    As for Our side,we do have quite a few of senior players currently as fringe players.

    Hopefully i will be seeing the likes of Xisco,Peter,Ryan taylor starting. With of course Ranger,Haris,Shane etc.

    May we become like WBA and go and try to beat Arsenal.

  11. Not arsed about the cup, league is way more important.
    Whoever we hoy out there will give their best shot, they managed just fine away to chelsea last time. Yea, a cups a cup n’all that, yea, yea, yea, i know.
    Just don’t care.
    I’m sure it’ll change if we get through like.

    we don’t shot of CH, it’s a gauge to see where fans are at.
    Don’t take it so literally mate.

  12. not really toonsy. Plus how can you ever be sure that the 10% arn’t Mackems and Mancs. It’s a misrepresentation designed to cause trouble. I have my opinions which I get attacked for but I don’t deliberately go out to cause trouble, which whoever put that up clearly does.

  13. AngelOfDeath says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    “First of all off-topic.

    R.I.P Mr Paul the psychic Octopus.”

    He was one of our ambassadors to secure the World Cup in 2018. Not any more like.

  14. Unless he loses the locker room, or some other club comes in and sweeps him away, Hughton is going nowhere. Get rid of the pol-no matter how favorable the results are for Hughton.

    NUFC from waterboy to MA have declared staying in the PL is the season priority. Keeping that in mind, CH will field a team on merit and capability, holding most of his big guns in reserve. There was little wrong with the squad that took on Chelsea, and the only tweaks I’d make would be inserting the healthy at the expense of the youngsters, if it is done on merit.

  15. DJG says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    “not really toonsy. Plus how can you ever be sure that the 10% arn’t Mackems and Mancs.”

    I’ve checked the database, DJG.

  16. Toonsy – I really don’t think that league survival will be a problem this year.

    But it would be great to win something … remember sunderland won a proper trophy in 1973 … they were the last ones to win a proper trophy … that’s not good :(

    i would happily foresake a win on sunday for a trophy this year … or even a final would be good :)

  17. £100,000 for winning the Carling Cup?


    £40,000,000 for another year in the prem?

    You’ve got it all wrong their my friend, Most fans don’t know or care about that, they just want to finally win something. Plus try telling the guys that pay £20 tomorow night that ‘sorry folks but sunday is more important’.

  18. fred – because the media like to make things up – and this vote just shows what the fans think of all that crap.
    Now if we were to have a vote on sacking the Daily Mail………

  19. DJG – Ok fair enough, ask Popmpey fans how they see their FA Cup nowadays…. Bear in mind my wifes family are all Pompey mad…..

    I can tell you now what they prefer, and it aint the FA Cup….

  20. Speaking of Batty, he’ll like what I am doing for the 500th. I think a lot of others will aswell. I know Icedog will for sure :)

  21. shrews mag says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    “But it would be great to win something … remember sunderland won a proper trophy in 1973”

    My mate had the FA Cup in his bedroom that year, and one of us dropped the lid. It fell off his heed.

  22. i think everyone can agree that survival is the priority this season. won’t be bothered in the least if we lose tomorrow. fully expected to get beat at chelsea so if we fall to arsenal then so be it. would a little run be nice? yes, but it does take some focus away from the league, especially with such a big match coming up on sunday.

  23. workyticket says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    I’ve checked the database, DJG.

    I bet youv’e checked for me aswell haven’t you ya little critter. Wanna tell the people which way I voted? I bet you’s would have brought it up on here if I wanted him sacked, ye’s are like that arn’t ye’s. :)

    I think you should mention that on the poll in future, just out of fairness like.

  24. magpie6699 says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    “fred – because the media like to make things up – and this vote just shows what the fans think of all that crap.”

    Exactly, magpie.

  25. toonsy says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm
    DJG – Ok fair enough, ask Popmpey fans how they see their FA Cup

    I recon they probably see it as one last piece od unparalled joy before their club hit the skids due to crook owners, doesn’t mean that if they had gone out in the second round they would still be 7th in the prem does it.

  26. I really don’t see why Hughton can’t put out a decent team tomorrow against Arsenal. Colo or Willo would be a great partner for Kadar. Guthrie and Alan Smith will be focused throughout the game to show what they can do and that they’re good enough to stay in the team. Vuckic needs to put put in the hole, with Ranger up top. Lovenkrands and Raylor could even play on the wings!

    Hell, put Carroll or Shola on the bench along with Routledge, Simpson, and Barton.

    Nolan definitely needs to be rested as I’m pretty sure that he’ll be used like he was against West Ham against Sunderland

  27. DJG – I see your point. My mrs’s family sees it entirely differently like. It’s their club like so what would they know…..

  28. Actually they are gonna put out a fairly stong side with the likes of Walcott, Bentdner and Vela. He is desperate to win something after a relative drought for them. So there’s no way we should send out a bunch of youngsters to the slaughter, it would just humiliate them. Have you thought about that toonsy?

  29. I think with every game we have to send a team out the CH thinks can win the game.

    I think every game is important ( fair enough some games more than others ) but we should be concentrating on arsenal not on sunday.

    I would be fairly happy with a team similar enough to the one we sent out against chelsea as it showed it was a competitve side and could win a game of football.

  30. Agree with DJG @35. Arsene Wenger is definitely going to go for this cup as he is getting shat on for not winning anything for 5 years. Dumb, but it’s happening. This cup is definitely within their sites, but with them being 2nd in the league, you would also have to argue that their next league match is very important too.

    I say just use a few youngsters, Kadar, Ranger, Vuckic, and Shane Ferguson. Ferguson mostly because I would dread Jose Enrique not being 100% for the derby!

  31. Even though we’re playing Arsenal at SJP, I think Hughton’s 4-5-1 could be very productive and even positive if we have the right players out there.

  32. I think the same team that played against Chelsea should play. Surely they deserve it as they got us here?

  33. I’m with Toonsy on this one, I think the boys who played & beat Chelski deserve the chance to carry on that run, it’s only fair to them!! What wouldn’t be fair is to bring in the first 11 team to take over the run, especially if & I do mean if we should win it, as they would get all the credit, not the young guys who got us this far!!!!

    As for Sunday, yes it’s an important game but I wonder how many chances of winning silverware in the past have been given up because we’ve had a derby game that weekend?? how many time have we played a far weaker side than we should just so we can beat the Muckems & take the bragging rights home, anyone know that answer???

    We should need to beat the Muckems on the pitch to have bragging rights over them, we’re better than they are, bigger than them & have a far greater fans base, so beating them is like chucking a small fish into a large lake, it’s small fry in the end.. :)

  34. @toonsy: one change.

    Shola shouldn’t play in arsenal match. ;)

    U know i know how impt he is for derby match.

    I am waiting for Xisco to start. :lol:

  35. I wanna see some quality on the bench. What we deffo don’t want is extra time. It would be better to play first teamers and win it in 90mins.

  36. DJG – what happens if we put out a very strong team & they get beaten by the Arsenil Youngsters, how do you think that will affect them mentally when they come to play the Muckems, especially knowing that they’re going to have to play the Arsenil Youngsters again 7 days later???

  37. More or less the team that beat chelsea will be put out with Guthrie.
    & as per, some 1st teamers will be on the bench.
    It’s not about bragging rights v the smb’s, it’s about 3 points.

  38. I think we should have a mixture of first teamers and fringe players my team wold be
    rtaylor colo/williams kadar ferguson

    routledge smith tiote/donald lovenk

  39. There’s no reason why we can’t beat Arsenal AND Sunderland. Their both home games and the lads have 4 days to eat their beans and recover, their not grandads.

  40. Almost forgot guthrie.


    Got chance for a win. :lol:

    Only interested in which strikers will be starting.

  41. a great starting eleven for me would be

    Perch Colo/Willo Kadar Ferguson

    Raylor/Routledge Guthrie Smith Lovenkrands


    That’d be pretty effective, right?

  42. Hmmm,do u all really want Perch to start? :lol:

    I would want James Tavernier to start. ;)

  43. Perch has to play again at some point AOD, if only to rebuild the lads confidence after our “best fans in the lad” cheered the lad off when he got subbed the other week….

  44. Well you could say that about any game. What happens if we get first teamers injured against the mackems and we get beat anyway and go on a poor run of form. Be positive.

  45. Well,if perch starts,hopefully he can contain Nasri/Walcott.

    Like i say,i only eagerly to know who starts upfront. ^_^

    hopefully shola is not involved. :lol:

  46. workyticket says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    DJG says:
    October 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    “not really toonsy. Plus how can you ever be sure that the 10% <<<<< le own up too 9% bot not the othere 1 :)

  47. BATTY you lost faith last sat,you slag,say nowt aboot wed/sun you will get a name like toonsy :)

  48. DJG – I just don’t think out squad is strong enough to battle on more than one front at the minute. IF we stop up we can rebuild again and strengthen the team once more. We are desperately thin in certain areas of the team and injuries in those positions could hurt us significantly…

  49. Ice – 500th is ready, but I’m going to leave this one up a bit longer as it hasn’t long been up :)

  50. Not sure about Routledge getting a start against Arsenal. There’s a chance that Hughton might want to use his pace against against the mackems. Although maybe Raylor could be used. The things that Barton did on the wing beautifully were make great crosses in from the right side, however he was always pulling towards the center of the pitch. I think Raylor would have much better positional sense and send in the same quality of crosses for Andy to get onto

  51. I just don’t get how you have a go at me for being negative all the time and then your so negative about the cup.

  52. dog i reckon we will win tomoz and gan on too win the cup ,plus i reckon we could be in the champs leauge by the end of the season along with westham :)

  53. Toonsy, I think that we can afford to at least stay focused on this cup as there aren’t many games left and we’re in 9th at the moment. I say we play a mostly secondary team against Arsenal except for a few in the back and see how it goes

  54. AndrewT – We are 9th, but we are also only two points off of 18th place.

    For me the league is the priority this season. The Carling Cup can do one, as I have said on many occasions…..

  55. Good to see you’re a fan of the tactical genius that is crafty chris, batty! ;)

    You fickle fcuker!! :)

  56. Ice – To me this has the hallmarks of tomorrow being another kneejerk night.

    Going by what people are saying I reckon that if we go out to a team that are much much better than us then people will start grizzling again….. This is despite Hughton saying that the league is the priority……

  57. True, but I think with only sacrificing 2 or 3 of our staring 11, we can be okay to give the Carling Cup a decent go

  58. I was away at the weekend so I missed all the fun games on the blog.

    Just to recap – chris isn’t clueless anymore, batty is still a WUM, toonsy isn’t going anywhere and Stu is a bell-end as per usual!!??


  59. I think we’d all like to win the cup,but obviously not at the expense of our league place, so a mix of young uns,fringe first teamers with a bit of experience on the bench will do.I take it all those who aren’t bothered about the cup won’t be watching it ? ;-)

    Ice at 68, ya already have way more names than the others mate believe me :-)

  60. I would like to see Vuckic up front for a change. He seems to do well at that position for the reserves. I think he and Ranger would be an excting pairing

  61. Toon Chicken says:
    October 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm
    I was away at the weekend so I missed all the fun games on the blog.

    Just to recap – chris isn’t clueless<<<< he is but a divent want too scare toonsy away :)

  62. Go for the cup, dammit! I want to see a mad parade and geordies gone mad in the streets!


  63. RICHIETON got the age rang m8,but i let you off, it must be a age thing with you,batty has tablets for it :)

  64. Toonsy…in the army I used to walk around with a clipboard,stop every now and again, pretend to look at something, scribble a bit and walk some more.Got away wi it for years :-)

  65. here’s my ideal lineup for tomorrow:

    perch willo/colo kadar ferguson
    raylor guthrie smith lovenkrands

    decent mix of youth and experience and can give us a decent chance without risking too much. gotta give time to the players who’ve got us here i think while at the same time, accepting that this is not a priority.

  66. Rich – I like your style, and it is something I have carried on :lol:

    Sometimes I like to get my hands dirty and show the lads and lasses the way. It keeps them onside. If they see the boss is willing to do their job they will go the extra mile when needed :)

  67. Completely off topic…but i’m coming up to Newcastle for my birthday in January, i’ve got a choice of two games 5th against West Ham or 22nd against Spurs. What day is the best day to go for night out?

  68. Badger – There will be plenty to both nights, but I would go for the Saturday 22nd. More recovery time ;)

  69. Haha – good thinking, i’ve actually got work off from the 5th anyway so it wouldn’t make any difference, lol. Premier Apartments on Thornton St any good?

  70. Badger… defo the saturday one mate, toonsy’s on stage that neet in the pink triangle ;-)

  71. Haha, they’re cheap if a load of you go, so we’re looking at £21 a night, bargain! Any places I should check out? Drinking wise o course

  72. Haha, they’re cheap if a load of you go, so we’re looking at £21 a night, bargain! Any places I should check out? Drinking wise o course?

  73. just hit the bars on the quayside and in The Gate…if ya like a bit of a rough neet the Bigg Market.