Newcastle United: A Review of the Magpies Premier League Return
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As Newcastle United have all but secured their Premier League it seems the time to review their season.
From the highs of a demolition derby victory to the lows of losing 5-1 at the Reebok stadium this season has had just about every twist and turn possible.
United looked set from some much needed stability at the club—and then sacked the man who had brought.
The Magpies then discovered the No. 9 of English football—then sold him for a British record £35 million.
It is rarely quiet at St James and United don't do simply but it has not been all chaos. Joey Barton has endeared himself to the Geordie nation, Kevin Nolan has wrote himself into club history and in the brief moments we seen him Hatem Ben Arfa proved a hit with the St James Faith full.
Newcastle United 5 Sunderland 1: October 31st, 2010, St James Park.
Just One of a number of amazing results this season. Even the most die hard of Newcastle United's fans did not expect this.
Kevin Nolan's hat trick ensured he became the latest 'cult hero' while Shola Amoebi continued to be our Derby king with another brace.
Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 4, October 27th 2010, St James -
Not the obvious choice to many Newcastle fans in a season when we lost 5-1 to Bolton among other disappointments.
However I select this just based on what I think was a missed opportunity after the earlier round''s 4-3 victory over Chelsea. I really believed we should have fielded a stronger side - after all a semi final spot was up for grabs.
Barton is finally looking like the player we all knew he could be on Tyneside. His future seemed over if Alan Shearer was appointed manager but he has transformed himself into a star at St James.
Letting his football do the talking his exclusion from any end of year awards of teams of the year's has left many United fans frustrated.
You know a new player has done well when a club rewards him with a six and a half year deal after just six months at the club.
The highlight of the year will be his stunning and incredible strike which made it 4-4 against Arsenal at St James.
Manchester United and Chelsea have both seen themselves linked to the tough tackling, no nonsense midfielder who has collected over a dozen yellow cards this season.
Cheick Tiote vs Arsenal
United pulled of the unthinkable after finding themselves 4-0 down to a side who looked on course from the Premier League title.
Recovering to 4-3 those who stayed at St James erupted with ecstasy as Tiote smashed home United equaliser from the edge of the box in the 87th minute.
Best Young Player
For all the Mike Ashley's is disliked by United fans, one thing he has got right is the youth policy at the club with a number of great youngsters.
Irishman Ferguson is just one of those along with Nile Ranger, Phil Airey, Haris Vuckic, Dan Gosling Tim Krul and Fraser Foster to name just some.
Restricted to just a handful of cameo's he has still done enough to impress those who have seen him this season.
Biggest Talking Points of the Year
Chris Hughton Sacking/Andy Carroll's sale to Liverpool
Two moments this year threatened to send United to self destruction; Chris Hughton's sacking and Andy Carroll's sale.
Both times United, with stronger hungrier players then last time around, simply got on with their football.
Hughton's sacking was soon forgot about but United chants of 'you let your city down' to Carroll highlighted the emotions last weekend.
Who has been United best player?
Steve Harper: 7/10 - In and out of the time this season. Solid when fit our long serving No.1 who has proved again his Premier League class although his injuries and age are worrying.
Tim Krul - 7/10 - Respectable performances from the Dutchman when called upon this season. Faces a battle with Fraser Foster to be our future no.1 when Harper calls it a day.
Fabricio Coloccini - 7/10 - A another solid performer in the Premier, made himself first choice centre back in the side alongside Mike Williamson.
Sol Campbell - 5/10 - Looked a Shadow of the powering defender he once was. At 36 has struggled to make any real impact at St James and has been restricted to just 4 league starts.
Mike Williamson - 7/10 - Finally given his chance in the Premier League. Hard working and honest the former Portsmouth man has forged a good partnership with Colo in defence.
Steven Taylor - 6/10 - Another season spoiled with injuries for the local lad in defence. Popular with the United fans needs to shake injuries off and have solid season next year.
Danny Simpson - 7/10 - An automatic choice at right back all season, former Manchester United defender Simpson has been impressive in the Premier League leading to calls for an International call up.
James Perch - 5/10 - Became the first player to be booked for collecting five yellow cards from his first five games. Struggled to break into the team since with just four more starts. A summer move could be likely.
Jose Enrique - 8/10 - Made more Premier League appearances then any other player this season, 'the bull' has proved his Premiership class after a great season in the Championship. Out of contract in a year's time his future at the club remains in the balance.
Shane Ferguson - 7/10 - Has shown potential to be possible long term replacement to Enrique in brief glimpses we have seen from the Irish youngster.
Kevin Nolan - 9/10 - A great season from United's captain who has hit 12 goals this season. Four goals in two games against Sunderland have endeared him to fans. Help keep club on right path after Hughton and Carroll departed.
Joey Barton - 9/10 - Finally proving what a top player he is after shaking off injuries and off field problems which have blighted his career on Tyneside. Countless assists to his name this season - rumoured attraction from Liverpool will worry United fans.
Alan Smith - 5/10 - Simply not the player he used to be but I will always be a fan of his effort and determination. Finished the season with an injury would be surprised to see him in a Newcastle shirt next season. Rangers or return to Leeds a possibility?
Who should United keep at St James next year?
Dan Gosling - N/A - It does not seem fair to give a rating to a player who has been restricted to just once sub appearance all season due to injury. Huge potential and a massive coup to land the former Everton midfielder. A fit season next year and he could prove a bargain buy.
Ryan Taylor - 6/10 - A utility man at St James. capable of filling in across the back four and midfield from Wigan man Taylor has fell out of favour this season but his ability on dead ball's are still good as ever. May be on his way out this summer.
Jonas Guttierez - 7/10 - Jonas has proved to be a frustrating player on Tyneside. A fantastic against Manchester United three years ago promised to much but a lack of goals have fans questioning his quality. Always gives 100 percent for United though and stuck with the club last year.
Cheick Tiote - 8/10 - Fantastic signing already proved a bargain at £3.5million but his heavy collection of yellow cards have seen him miss a lot of big games. Tied to a six and half year contract could see the United team build around him in coming years.
Stephen Ireland - N/A - Similar position to Dan Gosling, we may never know if Ireland would have been a hit on Tyneside. It is a gamble from Alan Pardew whether the sign the midfielder in the summer after just two sub appearances on Tyneside. Joining the club on a 'pay as you play' deal at least means Ireland did not cost much.
Hatem Ben Arfa - 6/10 - Injured through no fault of his own, Frenchman Ben Arfa showed enough in his four appearances this season that he is worth over £5million of Mike Ashley's money. Exciting to watch, hopefully will prove to me more David Ginola then Laurent Robert.
Shola Amoebi - 7/10 - Shola has been as frustrating as ever this season with just five league goals. However highlights include continuing his great record against Sunderland and his double against Chelsea in the League Cup. Injuries again have not helped our long serving striker.
Leon Best - 7/10 - Six goals from nine league starts is not a bad record. His Hat trick against West Ham (on his first start for the club) prove of his quality. Best has been another player not helped by injuries of the pressure of replacing Andy Carroll in attack.
Peter Lovenkrands - 6/10 - Will be forever popular with United fans after his goals in the Championship but has struggled to repeat the form in the Premier League. Not really a striker or midfielder has filled in respectably when asked.
Nile Ranger - 6/10 - Still not the finished product. Ranger has made 21 sub appearances this season (triple the nearest player to that) but has scored just once. A spell out on loan in the Championship would do the forward the world of good. I still believe he has a big future on tyneside.
Shefki Kuqi - 5/10 - A signing ridiculed by man the former Blackburn and most recently Swansea forward could not believe his luck when United came calling during a injury crisis. Six less the memorable sub appearances have followed - hopes of being the new Antoine Sibierski when he arrived but won't be hear next season.
Who was the better manager?
Chris Hughton - 7/10 - Steared United to their Premier League return, saw us to 5-1 wins over Sunderland and 4-3 over Chelsea and his reward was the sack. Low points included defeats to Bolton and West Brom which ultimately cost his job.
Alan Pardew - 8/10 - Faced an impossible job to keep club on right track after Hughton sacking. Lost star striker Carroll and forced to end campaign with championship attack. Needs credit for guiding club to safety.
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