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Alan Pardew v Liverpool. Not on to a winner.

October 18, 2013 1 comment

Alan Pardew has insisted that Liverpool’s 6-0 trouncing of his Newcastle team at St James’ Park last year has been put behind them ahead of today’s clash.

The Newcastle boss is quoted as saying Liverpool “have got a really great attacking flair and the team is set out to score goals” on Newcastle’s club website.

And it’s exactly that type of astute comment that will ensure Liverpool don’t arrive quaking in their boots. Oh, and the memories of the 6-0 scoreline should help.

Taking a look through Wikipedia the Charlton, West Ham and Newcastle record books on Friday, I make Alan Pardew’s record against Liverpool as played 11; won 2; drawn 2; lost 7 (I can’t find any cup games, FA Cup final apart).

Admittedly that includes the FA Cup final in 2006, lost on penalties after a 3-3 draw after extra time, but I’m counting that as a loss. Because they didn’t share the trophy in the type of style John Terry may have proposed.

Pardew’s first win over Liverpool as Newcastle came in his very first game in charge (3-0; Nolan, Barton, Carroll). Liverpool were woeful. And to make it all the more sweet, Andy Carroll’s performance and third goal probably played a part in Liverpool losing their minds and panic buying paying £35m for him.

Four defeats from four against the reds while at West Ham; a solitary game and point on the last day of a season that had already seen Charlton relegated (Kewell with a 90th minute penalty to level the game); but a rather better record of two wins and a draw from six in his time on Tyneside.

But a hammering last year. And red cards for Debuchy (0-6) and Coloccini (1-1). Also, Suarez and Sturridge only played once each against Newcastle last year, but managed three goals between them. And Stewart Downing started last year and got two assists. TWO ASSISTS.

Coloccini misses out tomorrow through injury, while Gutierrez is on compassionate leave. Coutinho, a star in last year’s 6-0 triumph, is Liverpool’s only concern (does Iago Aspas missing count? Rodgers has already hailed it as his ‘strongest’ squad of the season). Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, substituted last month against Everton at half-time with the team 3-0 down, is expected to come in alongside Mike Williamson.

(Gratuitous Joe Kinnear shot. If he was managing, Newcastle would win 6-0).

Still, if he has another nightmare against a Merseyside team today, at least Montpellier’s chairman Louis Nicollin will be there to console him. Unless he’s predicting Yanga-Mbiwa will have a stinker and need a new club by 2.30pm.

There are reasons for Reds fans not to be overly optimistic though. The 2-0 reverse in April 2012 saw Papiss Cissé score two, and Ben Arfa run the show.

But this is a very different Liverpool team (Flanagan, Spearing, Shelvey, Carroll, Bellamy vs Johnson, Henderson, Allen, Suarez, Sturridge) and Liverpool should have too much. Assuming they don’t get internationalbreakitus.

A win today, followed by another against West Brom at home next week, and the prospect of top-4 looks achievable.

 

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Can Arsenal and Fabregas sweep all before them?

September 15, 2010 4 comments

Fabregas scored two in Arsenal's 6-0 win

Arsenal’s 6-0 win over Braga in tonight’s Champions League gives little clue as to how Arsene Wenger will tackle the likes of  Chelsea in three weeks time; Man Utd or Man City or even Real Madrid and Barcelona later in the European competition. However, few teams can play with the style that Arsenal showed in dispatching the Portugese debutants in the Champions League.

Cesc Fabregas was immense, as always. The man should be applauded for his professionalism after the on-off saga with Barcelona. Still, reporters are asking him whether he is committed to Arsenal. Tonight as he spoke of how the games will get a “lot tougher” this year, all the itv reporter wanted to know was whether the Spaniard was happy at Arsenal to which he replied “I’ve always felt fantastic here. I’m very happy to be here” and then lamented not securing his first career hat-trick.

Jack Wilshere is already turning into a top midfielder. No-one is quite sure how Wenger instills so much confidence in his precocious teenage stars but Wilshere shows absolutely no fear and is already starting to dominate games in a way that the likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Patrick Vieira or even Roy Keane couldn’t at a similar age. But Fabregas could and did.

Chamakh had a good game tonight as well and having scored at the weekend against Bolton will be gaining in confidence every game meaning Arsenal could have themselves a genuine, ‘old-fashioned’ centre-forward who is strong and dominant on his own up front.

However as always, the real question marks over the Arsenal team will be (a) the defence, including Manuel Almunia and (b) fitness. Arsenal have so-far lost the likes of Van Persie, Nasri, Diaby and Vermaelen to injury. As for the defence, it will take time to gel as new boys  Squillaci and Koscielny get used to playing with their Arsenal teammates. Injuries to the central defenders leave Arsenal leaving weak at the back, not to mention the disciplinary record that often lets them down with Koscielny the first to suffer a red card in the opening game against Liverpool.

Up next? Sunderland away on Saturday; Spurs away in the Carling Cup; West Brom (h); Partizan Belgrade (a) and then Chelsea in the big test at Stamford Bridge. All these games will take place within 15 days. It’s been a good start to the season, ten points from 12 and a spanking win in the Champions League opener. Can Arsenal overcome injury problems and keep teams on the back foot? Watch this space.