NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Papiss Cisse of Newcastle celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at Sports Direct Arena on February 5, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Good morning, ladies and gents. Whatever issues prevented me from doing the links yesterday have cleared themselves up, so it's a better day already. Today marks the downhill slope toward our top-5 showdown with Spurs, and will also start my descent into nervousness and nihilism. A point would be great, right? In the mean time, we can hope that the smogs do the makems this evening to restore the world to a place of balance.
Today in the links, Jonas has given a substantial enough interview to the Journal that it was broken out into 21 separate articles, Hatem Ben Arfa continues to not fit into the box that Alan Pardew would have him do, and a pretty nice piece on Papiss Cisse- without further ado, let's jump!
The Jonas Chronicles
JONÁS Gutiérrez insists Champions League talk is premature and potentially dangerous to Newcastle United’s season. An uplifting weekend win combined with favourable results elsewhere means United have narrowed the gap to fourth-placed Chelsea down to just a single point ahead of Saturday’s trip to Tottenham. It is form that is convincing the doubters and even prompted Sky’s lead pundit Gary Neville to include Newcastle in the battle for fourth, alongside Arsenal, Liverpool and Andre Villas Boas’ flat-lining Blues.
Ultimately, a season-ending placement in the CL is a #LetsGetCarriedAway type scenario. The longer we hang around, however, the more it becomes something that is out there.I agree with Jonas on this. Don't talk about it. Right now, the Europa League is about as high as we should expect... anything else is just cake.
Gutierrez acknowledges there remain aspects of the game that his new left flank wing man must learn, but he will forgive a player as talented as Santon his foibles. Considering he is the man charged with doing much of the defensive donkey work to back up Santon, it is a telling testimonial. "He loves to get forward. He sometimes has to know the moment to go and the moment to stay back," he said. "But he is young, he will learn that. Sometimes he can go, sometimes he should stay. He's so young, has too much energy and maybe he just wants to show what he can do. "For me, that is incredible. With an offensive player you just have to give him the ball and he will do the rest. He has amazing ability."
Davide is tremendously exciting, and my issue isn't necessarily when he gets caught up field. As Jonas says, he'll work that out as he matures. My issue is that sometimes he gets something my dog suffered from when she was growing up- I call it "puppy brain". Sometimes, inexplicably, he just makes bafflingly bad mistakes while in his home location. Hopefully those fit into the "he'll work it out" category as well.
The Tim Krul Chronicles
"Shay’s one of my heroes," Krul told the Gazette. "(Edwin) Van der Sar has always been my hero, but Shay isn’t far behind. "He looked after me when I arrived at the club, and it was nice to see him after the game. "He’s a legend, for me. He’s fantastic.
Shay is legend. Enough said.
Krul said: "It was a huge week last week. "These games like Villa are the games you have to win. "Maybe last year we’d have drawn these games. "We’ve got the extra quality now on the pitch, and we can grind out results on the pitch. "It’s amazing. We’ve done it all season. The character from the team has been amazing. "Headers, clearances and fantastic goals from the two boys up front."
The Aston Villa match obviously comes to us from the Department of Small Sample Size, but it has given reason for optimism with regards to goals when (if, somehow) Demba 1 gets shut down. The real difficulty with this matchup at this time is that our midfield (which held their own at St. James') is not in place. Guthrie and whomever pairs with him are going to have a tall tall task ahead of them to hold Spurs at bay.
The French Foreign Legion Chronicles
"Hatem still hasn’t quite grasped, in my opinion, this Premier League," Pardew said. "He’s got unbelievable talent, but he’s not used to it. He’s got to fight now to get in this team. "He could still have a massive impact on this season, but we need to see him at his best."
In the cheesy inspirational Hallmark movies, HBA and Pardew come to an understanding, hug and go on to win the league. Unfortunately, it's looking more and more that this situation has no such resolution forthcoming.
Marveaux told the Chronicle: "I don’t know if I will play again this season, because I won’t train for two more months. "I’m not thinking of playing again. I want to do it step by step."
The pessimistic/realistic view of Marveaux's status using his complete quote. The positive view was all over the web yesterday, hoping he would be back before the end of the season. I'd just as soon have him right instead of have him soon.
The Senegal Chronicles
He told reporters: "I never talked to anyone to say I wanted to leave. I was just listening to people saying: 'He's going there, he's going there, he's going there' and I had a big smile on my face. It was funny to me. "The most important thing is being happy with your football and I am happy here. "I look at the table and think 'Fifth? Woah!" We just need to continue our road, continue doing what we're doing this season and see where we are in the end. "We need to keep our focus but as long as we do that, we'll have some very good games. I don't want to talk about exactly where we'll finish because it depends on a lot of things but as long as we keep going we'll be a dangerous side."
It feels like Demba 1 is tremendously happy here on Tyneside... and he feels like a guy for whom that kind of thing matters. Hopefully they get something done to ensure Mr. Ba's continued presence at St. James'
He drew a particularly pertinent piece of praise from his manager, Alan Pardew. "He is a genuine guy," he said. "This is a player who just wants to do well for Newcastle. He hasn't come here with any other agenda than to do well for us and he has had a great start." After his match-winning debut as a substitute, scoring in the 71st minute to defeat Aston Villa, Cissé was relatively nonplussed. In a corridor at St James' Park, along from the home dressing room, he spoke to a local journalist through an interpreter, Olivier Bernard, the former Newcastle full-back. His English is not good but humility translates into any language.
This humility and genuineness really came through in the interview that R4L posted the other day. Much like the rest of the squad, he seems very very easy to like. And he can score great goals with his off-foot... so that's cool too.
Amara Traore has been relieved of his duties as Senegal coach after the country's spectacular failure at the 2012 African Nations Cup.
From the Department of Non-Surprising Events Department.