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Is your glass half full - or half empty?

By Lee Ryder on Dec 19, 11 10:32 AM


The awful feeling of disappointment swept around St James' Park after the 0-0 draw with Swansea City, however, on reflection the overall picture going into the festive period isn't as gloomy as some people have made out.

No wins in five attempts can be countered by the stat of three defeats in 16 games as the Premier League season reaches the halfway stage.

And should United avoid defeat against West Brom then only two teams can say they've left St James' Park having taken all three points during the year 2011.

In fact, Newcastle are actually eight points better off than this time last season and despite sliding to seventh spot in the Prem, the Magpies can consider themselves as at least Europa League contenders going into the festive games,

Whatever way you look at it, whether Newcastle have evolved as a group or Alan Pardew, John Carver and Steve Stone have transformed things on the pitch (probably a bit of both), Newcastle United are in their best shape for some time.

Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood did a fantastic job against all the odds when leading the Magpies to the title in the Championship.

That was no easy achievement and you only have to look at teams recently relegated in years gone by like Middlesbrough and Birmingham who haven't found life easy in the second tier.

Hughton pulled off a superb job in charge and while the arrival of Pardew was an unpopular one, his stint in charge has coincided with Newcastle changing from a team that could get a result if they were up for it to a team that has became hard to beat.

The 0-0 draw with Swansea was frustrating but in the Premier League you do get days when things just don't go for you.

And the run of five games without a win includes games at Man City and Man United, and title contenders Chelsea.

Of course you'd like to think Newcastle should be beating the likes of Swansea and Norwich, and failure to beat West Brom will also unsettle a few natives further.

Pardew appears to be able to find a way of lifting things at the club's training camp, and while the remainder of the season could yet fizzle out, there's nothing to say that it can't go the other way either - especially with the team spirit within the group.

People close to the club can notice change,

Three years ago, United's training ground was an angry place, former players looked downbeat too much and there wasn't a feeling of optimism.

The last 12 months have resulted in a change in that.

Geordie boys Carver and Stone can see certain things coming where as in the past, there was a lack of local knowledge at the club and costly mistakes were made.

Of course the big test is the January transfer window.

Many feel Cheick Tiote will be sold next month and who is to say there won't be bids for other players.

History says that big bids will be accepted and moved on.

Then it will all be about bringing in new blood.

Whether that happens we'll have to wait and see but while it would be easy to get fizzed up about a 0-0 draw with Swansea, there have certainly been worse seasons.

I don't know about you but if Newcastle are still in the hunt for Europa League places this time next month, I'd say things are going pretty well, on the pitch at least.

10 Comments

carl said:

1/2 full!
come on it could've been 6-0 to the toon
definitely moving forward - last year swansea may have got us on the break (ala blackpool)?
i feel season will move forward with whom we bring IN

David said:

Mine's half full Lee - it's been a strong start to the season and we've got a fair chance to keep it going.

Conditions:
1) We get cover in the upcoming January window for central defence (expected)

2)We add a new 1st choice striker (expected)

3)We lose none of our 'core' players: collocini, tiote, cabaye, krul, ba (a wee bit unsure)

Our reliance on players who want the shirt and play for it every game rather than(much more expensive) overpaid 'names' is the basis for our continuing growth. I'd hope and expect this strategy continues in the January window (and beyond).

Happy Christmas and a fine New Year to all

Andy Barton said:

Mad that anyone could say any different. Breakdown of the 5 not won games:
Man City: Good performance, unfortunate with the timing and nature of the goals before half time. And it's Man City, who have recently broken the record for goals scored in a calendar year and remain unbeaten at home.

Man United: Wildly good defensive display leading to a hugely creditable draw. Ferguson's rubbish about luck afterwards failing to mask what was a fairly even game bar the last 10 minutes, with chances for both sides.

Chelsea: David Luiz should've been off. Both CDs did go off. Result irrelevant.

Norwich: Centre back pairing consisting of a right back and James Perch, 4 goals all conceded from grant holt being bigger than both of them put together, essentially.

Swansea: Something like 17 shots on goal to their 1 - just bad luck that we didn't smash them.

So it's baffling anyone can forget that going into these games we were UNBEATEN and up in 3rd spot, and then criticise based on these results and performances. Let's remember too that at the start of the season, staying up was enough. Anyone criticising needs to take a look at themselves.

Barton said:

Mad that anyone could say any different. Breakdown of the 5 not won games:
Man City: Good performance, unfortunate with the timing and nature of the goals before half time. And it's Man City, who have recently broken the record for goals scored in a calendar year and remain unbeaten at home.
Man United: Wildly good defensive display leading to a hugely creditable draw. Ferguson's rubbish about luck afterwards failing to mask what was a fairly even game bar the last 10 minutes, with chances for both sides.
Chelsea: David Luiz should've been off. Both CDs did go off. Result irrelevant.
Norwich: Centre back pairing consisting of a right back and James Perch, 4 goals all conceded from grant holt being bigger than both of them put together, essentially.
Swansea: Something like 17 shots on goal to their 1 - just bad luck that we didn't smash them.
So it's baffling anyone can forget that going into these games we were UNBEATEN and up in 3rd spot, and then criticise based on these results and performances. Let's remember too that at the start of the season, staying up was enough. Anyone criticising needs to take a look at themselves.

LN2Mag said:

The headline should read "How far can you stretch an elastic band". Because with the likelyhood of players leaving and not being replaced in January, the squad gets stretched thinner and thinner all the time. We are in a good postion, 7th is about par for the course and if we finish in 7th, it will have been a good season. But with the African Nations cup coming up, injuries,, suspension and our best players always open to offers, is it realistic to think we are going to finish in the top half?

Mal said:

The Swansea result was disappointing but not the performance. On another day, with a bit of luck, we would have won. There were positives, not least the return of Tiote and Colo and I thought Perch put in a sound performance which will help his confidence. A win on wednesday would put us on 30 points - no-one seen that coming before xmas. HTL.

Mal said:

The Swansea result was disappointing but not the performance. On another day, with a bit of luck, we would have won. There were positives, not least the return of Tiote and Colo and I thought Perch put in a sound performance which will help his confidence. Santon too looked very good. A win on wednesday would put us on 30 points - no-one seen that coming before xmas. HTL.

Mal said:

The Swansea result was disappointing but not the performance. On another day, with a bit of luck, we would have won. There were positives, not least the return of Tiote and Colo and I thought Perch put in a sound performance which will help his confidence. Santon too looked very good. A win on wednesday would put us on 30 points - no-one seen that coming before xmas. HTL.

Stephen M said:

It is defintely half empty now.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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