Ahead of the huge match between Manchester United<Newcastle United on Sunday at St James Park (Sports Direct Arena), Truly Reds have invited Ed Harrison from the excellent Newcastle United F C blog to answer some questions on both football clubs.
We thank Ed Harrison taking time out from his busy schedule to participate in the Q & A:
Truly Reds: What are your thoughts on Manchester United’s start to the season so far , including the Capital One Cup defeat of Newcastle United?
Ed Harrison: It seems to have been steady start so far – 3rd top with 12 points form 6 games and 4 point off Chelsea is a decent start to the season.
As far as the Capital One win against us, I thought we played well and it could have gone either way, and when you look at a replay of the game both sides missed some great chances.
TR: Last season was fantastic for Newcastle United finishing 5th in the Premier League , punching above their weight . Expectation for this coming season?
EH: We’d like to do the same again but we’ve a mediocre start but we’ve also been without some of our star players Like Coloccini and Cabaye and Tim Krul is also out at the moment, but we played very well in beating Bordeaux on Thursday night, and probably out best performance of the season so far, with Bordeaux unbeaten in their last 17 games going back to April.
T R: Who is responsible for the scouting at Newcastle United to secure players like Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote to name just 4?
EH: Graham Carr is the Chief Scout and he joined us in February of 2010 and he’s been great and he’s very important to Newcastle. But don’t think of trying to get him because he was born in the Newcastle are and Mike Ashley just signed him up to an eight year contract – Mike’s not daft.
T R: Alan Pardew arrived on Tyneside as an unpopular replacement for Chris Hughton your views on Alan Pardew and the job he has done, he appears to have won the fans over.
E H: I as probably the biggest advocate of not signing Alan Pardew in one of our polls he got about 3% of the vote – and I didn’t think he would be any good because he had never been really successful at any of this former clubs and they were all smaller than Newcastle. But Alan’s been magnificent, and picked up from where Chris Hughton left off. I think Alan and Chris have both been inspired by the Newcastle fans
and the City – football is the lifeblood of both the fans and the city. Yes – Alan’s very popular with the fans – now he just has to keep on winning – laugh.
T R: Your opinion of Sir Alex Ferguson.
EH: The greatest manager Britain has ever produced – you just cannot argue with his record – which is simply phenomenal – I’ll leave it at that.
TR: Where do you think both United’s will finish in the league?
E H: I’m expecting Manchester United to win the league, after what happened on the last day of the season last season. And I know the goal difference will not be a factor this time around. I’d be surprised if the Red Devils don’t with the Premier League this season.
T R: Newcastle United had the most penalties given against them last
season in the Premier League nine in total, the reason.
E H: Not sure why – but we were hardly lucky in too many games last season – well apart from the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. That showed how good our goalkeeper Tim Krul is by the way.
T R: Tim Krul or David de Gea as the better goalkeeper. Taking into account the Dutchman had 15 clean sheets last term, Newcastle United’s best ever total in a 38 game season. Manchester United had 20 clean sheets in the league.
E H: Tim Krul is the better goalkeeper at the moment – David is still weak on crosses and he gets pushed off the ball too much when he goes for the ball. He needs to adapt from the way things were in Spain. But don’t get me wrong de Gea is very talented – but right now Tim Krul is the more complete goalkeeper – and he will get better too once he plays for Holland more – he’s now the official number one Dutch goalkeeper.
T R: Newcastle United’s major honors 4 League titles; 6 FA Cups; Fairs Cup 1969. Silverware this season or a Champions league place.
E H: Since you were polite in not saying it – I will – we haven’t won anything since we won the Fairs Cup back in 1969 – a game I watched at St.James Park in the home leg. The Premier League is the major priority so I don’t; see us winning anything in the Cups since w we are essentially playing a second eleven. It will be difficult to make top four this season. But I was wrong about Alan Pardew…..
T R: The key players for Newcastle United that Manchester United will have to watch carefully on Sunday.
EH: Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse are the three main threats – with Ben Arfa in great form so far this season. And you found out about Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye last January at St. James’ Park. Cheick Tiote is another very solid defensive midfielder.
T R : Gabriel Obertan , hit or miss?
E H : Still not sure, since he has some great games and then looks mediocre. He had his best game for Newcastle on Thursday night against Bordeaux, and that will see him get some playing time on Sunday – but only as a sub. He’s a talented boy – but inconsistent and he doesn’t always
make good decisions in various situations.
T R : Good business was done by selling Andy Carroll for £ 35 million to Liverpool .Would you welcome Carroll back after his loan spell at West Ham.
EH : Excellent businesses by Mike Ashley,, If we ever got Andy back he’d be welcomed back – although there may be some fans who will never forgive for leaving. But he’s far too expensive if Liverpool want 18M for him – no way would Newcastle pay that amount when we got Demba Ba on a free transfer and Papiss Cisse for around 9M. Andy will probably end up at West Ham if the Hammers are willing to pay
that amount of money for him.
T R : Mike Ashley your view on the controversial owner of Newcastle United.
E H : Well he made every mistake you could make in his first two years at the club and we were relegated. But since the summer of 2009, Newcastle have even become a well run club and done very well – much better than we could have hoped for back in those dark days of the summer in 2009. Some fans will never take to him – but he’s done a good job for the club financially.
T R : During the period December 15th through to January 1st Newcastle United face tough opposition , Manchester City and United plus Arsenal and Everton .Make or break time for Newcastle in determining where they finish in the league . What players stay at the football club after January. Your view Ed?
E H: That was the same as last year when we had to play Man City Chelsea and other top clubs – but we didn’t do too bad, and I think we’ll do OK this time around too.
We want to keep all our players and that’s a major task for Newcastle now – but it seems that Demba Ba release clause is active again – and some clubs could come in for him. He’s the most likely player to leave – but if he wants to leave so be it – we only want players who want to play in those famous black and white stripes. But we’ll need to draft somebody in if Demba leaves – we are hoping he’ll
sign a new deal before January rolls around.
T R : Fantasy time, you have a choice of three of Manchester United’s players to move to Newcastle.
E H: Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Chris Smalling
T R: Newcastle United have a fantastic vociferous loyal support. Who are the best away supporters to visit St James Park?
E H : I’ll probably be shot at dawn for saying this – but in truth it
would be Sunderland supporters.
T R : Your view on naming football stadiums in association with business’s Sports Direct , Etihad , Emirates , Britannia and Liberty as examples.
E H: I understand very well why the clubs do it to bring in the extra revenue but not at hallowed grounds like Old Trafford or St. James’ Park – Mike Ashley has made St. James a billboard for Sports Direct – he’s overdone it. Not for new stadiums that’s a different, and it’s done over here in America all the time.
I always refer to our ground as St. James’ Park – we’ve been there since we were formed back in 1882 when Newcastle East End and Newcastle West end united as one club – hence the name.
T R : Is the Europa League competition a distraction from the league and other domestic tournaments?
EH: No – if we are to become great again – we have to be in Europe every season, so this is some training on how to play two games a week again. Our squad is still far too small but we have some top youngsters starting to show through – which is great.
T R : Finally Ed , your scoreline prediction for the huge match on Sunday.
E H: 2-0 to Newcastle – but no – let the better side win – Newcastle again!
Truly Reds: We can’t possibly agree on your predicted scoreline Ed 😉
Thank you for your time , may the best team win again , Manchester United.
Manchester United v Newcastle United.
St James Park.
Sunday 7th October 2012 .
Kick off 4 .00 pm BST .
Manchester United will have the Ryan Giggs , Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick available for the Barclays Premier League game. Scholes was rested for the Champions League game against Cluj, midweek while Giggs and Carrick did not travel also through illness.
Still out injured Antonio Valencia , Ashley Young , Chris Smalling , Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones are not available for selection. Jonny Evans who had a dead leg ,could feature on Sunday to partner Rio Ferdinand.
Newcastle United dealt a 3 – 0 beating to the Reds last term and Manchester United will be seeking retribution.
Alan Pardew rested for their Europa league game against Bordeaux on Thursday evening Davide Santon , midfielders Hatem Ben Arfa , Jonas Gutierrez and striker Demba Ba. Newcastle United will be full of confidence recording a 3 -0 win against the French side.
Out with injury for Newcastle are no1 goal – keeper Tim Krul , defenders Steven Taylor , Fabricio Coloccini and the versatile Ryan Taylor.
Newcastle United from: Harper , Alnwick ,Simpson ,Tavernier , Ferguson ,Perch , Williamson ,Santon ,Tiote ,Cabaye, Gutierrez , Ben Arfa ,Anita ,Bigirimana , Gosling , Marveaux , Obertan , Vuckic , Abeid, Amalfitano , Ba , Cisse , Shola Ameobi , Campbell .
Manchester United from: De Gea , Lindegaard , Rafael , Buttner , Evra , Ferdinand , Evans , Wootton , Keane , Powell , Cleverley , Anderson , Fletcher , Nani , Carrick , Scholes , Giggs , Tunnicliffe , Lingard , Hernandez , Rooney , Welbeck , Van Persie , Kagawa .
Newcastle United League form: LDDWD
Manchester United League form: WWWWL
Key danger men: Demba Ba scoring 5 times in his last three matches , with 6 goals for the season so far.
Who will win on Sunday?