First of all, welcome to the Boleyn Ground. Newcastle United will, of course, be visiting East London’s finest ground for the last time ever before the move to the Olympic Stadium.
Question One… Are you happy with Steve McClaren so far? Admittedly, I’ve only good news from the Geordies so far.
McClaren was not my first choice, I can’t imagine he was high up anyone’s list if I’m honest, but he’s been a breath of fresh air since he started work. I know we are yet to win a game in the league so far but we’ve had a really tough start and have performed well in three of the four games. We seem to be wanting to play football which is change from that last two or three years and I think once we get a win we may go on a bit of a run. McClaren is trying to connect with supporters, something that was lacking from him now at Palace and John Carver who would rather fight the fans instead of speak to us.
Question Two… What are your aims for this season? Surely, Newcastle have to be aiming at a higher top half of the table finish?
The board have set McClaren a target of a top 8 finish and a trophy this season. I think that’s a tough task for him this year but if we were to achieve it I would be very pleased. When you look at the likes of Swansea etc I think it may be difficult to get the target in the league. I don’t think we will see the struggles we were subject to last year but I think somewhere between 10th and 13th is more realistic, we still have a dodgy defence! I’d like us to take the cups seriously for a change, sick of getting beat in the early rounds and putting out teams of players who aren’t good enough.
Question Three… If there is one player that West Ham United should look out for on Monday, who would you say?
Gini Wijnaldum – newly crowned Dutch player of the year (Memphis who?!) he’s been a bit quiet since his debut goal but he is a class act. Signed from PSV for £14.5m he’s definitely the “marquee” signing of the summer. He played for the Netherlands in their recent matches so I’m hoping he can put that disappointment to one side and show us what we already know.
Question Four/Five… Are you wary of any West Ham United players? Would you like any West Ham players in your team?
Payet seems to be the stand out for you so far this season and he’ll get a lot of joy against Haidara who really isn’t very good. I’m pleased we won’t be facing Nolan as former players usually score against us! If Carroll was fit to start I’d be worried too due to our lack of height. I’d take Payet and Kouyate for sure here if I could have a pick.
Finally. Question Six… Prediction?
I’d love a win to get our season up and running but I can’t see you losing three home games in a row. I’m going to say 1-1 Payet for you and Cisse for us.
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