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Everton at Newcastle: Q&A with Coming Home Newcastle

RBM's Q&A with SB Nation blog Coming Home Newcastle, with writer John telling us what's been happening at St. James' Park.

Stu Forster

RBM's Q&A with SB Nation blog <a href="" >Coming Home Newcastle</a>, with writer <a href="" target="new">John</a> telling us what's been happening at St. James' Park ahead of Everton's game at Newcastle on Wednesday.

RBM - It seems to be going all wrong at St. James' Park this season. The personnel is mostly the same from last year, what happened?

CHN - Fergie said it himself when he noted that Newcastle had lost their "element of surprise." Teams know what to expect from Pardew and Newcastle now, so the shock and awe we were able to implement last year is a non-factor. I think this becomes wildly apparent watching Newcastle in Europe; the first time we played Bordeaux, we crushed them, once Bordeaux knew what to expect, they beat us pretty handily. I think that, coupled with the injuries (I didn't think we would miss Ryan Taylor nearly this much) and just general poor form, made it so that this season has been an ongoing struggle bus.

RBM - How has the European adventure been for Newcastle? Did that play a part in the team's struggles in the Premier League?

CHN - Europe has been pretty dang awesome to watch, and Newcastle had a very strong performance in the group despite dropping that final clunker against Bordeaux (when both teams had already qualified). I think Pardew and Co. are going to go gangbusters in Europe, as it may stand as Newcastle's only measure of a "successful" season, especially if the other benchmark is avoiding relegation.
I actually don't think that the European fixtures have had that much effect on our horrific League form. I believe those issues are stemming from systematic talent problems against the back line. If it has any effect, it's simply a tangential fitness issue regarding playing two matches in five days, but most of the players seemed fine. Hell, we had had a few days off before the Arsenal fixture and we still were completely drained by the final ten minutes (woof). Hit the treadmills, boys.

RBM - The poor performance of the defence has been a big issue this season for the Toon. Is there a tactical issue here with Alan Pardew?

CHN - It seems to me that the issue may actually be more with Steve Stone and the training pitch. Our boys are fine on the back line when it comes to placement, and after giving up the two set piece goals to Manchester United early on, Pardew and crew seem to have those at least relatively more under control. I think our players are simply making howlers of mistakes, which is a reflection of the coach, sure, but I think it's a "tactical" issue so much as it is a "you need to play better football and move your feet the right direction." It's poor form, plain and simple.

RBM - Mike Ashley astounded everyone, Pardew included, with that now infamous 8 year contract. As a fan what are your feelings about that?

CHN - Mixed bag, for sure. I was thrilled about it, as I think consistency and calm is EXACTLY what Tyneside needed. Pardew and his crew (Stone and head scout Graham Carr, in particular) have proven that they have the planning, gumption, and wherewithal to bring Newcastle some future glory. It's unfortunate that the extension coincided with such a poor run of form for the team, but I think everything will be OK. Some are definitely calling for Pardew's head, but that is as to be expected at SJP (brought to you by Sports Direct). I love Alan Pardew and think he is the right man for the job. He'll have a statue by the time he is done, just you watch.

RBM - Speaking of Ashley, has he committed to any money for Pardew in the upcoming transfer window? Which players have you been linked with?

CHN - Matheiu Debuchy seems to be a sure thing, which is WONDERFUL. The combination of him and Santon on the wings of the defense has the potential to be special, all due respect to the hard working Danny Simpson. Other than that, no huge names have been in the words, though Demba Ba's departure seems imminent. I love Ba, but good riddance. His departure will allow Cisse to shine like we know he can, and it will free up roster space for the electric Sammy Ameobi to get some more work in. I haven't heard any other big names, but I really hope we bring in a CB as well, because while Perch and Williamson are trying their hardest, they just can't compare to Colocinni and Taylor when they're healthy.

RBM - Finally, a score prediction for the game? Who do you expect to shine, and what are you expecting from the two sides?

CHN - Definitely terrified of Jelavic and Fellaini, but I can definitely see Timmy making a horrible error (and then reacting with a horrifying stream of profanities... like he does). Newcastle and Everton are both desperate, for different reasons. Everton wants to stay in the Europe spots while West Brom and Swansea hit their stride, and Newcastle definitely want to avoid the talks of dropping. I think it's a hard fought match that ends 1-1.