Saturday, 16 March 2013

Is the fairy tale possible?

Tomorrow, it'll mark 3 years since Newcastle played Scuthorpe in the Championship. It will also see a french flavoured Newcastle face Wigan after defeating a spirited Anzhi Makhachkala to reach the quarter final of the Europa League in midweek.

What an achievement. What a job Mike Ashley, Derek Llambias, Chris Hughton, Colin Calderwood, Alan Pardew, John Carver and our players have achieved. It's funny to think that this season's achievements are a bit of a disappointment but last season was a fairy tale. Is there a possibility that the next chapter could be about to be written? Could the slipper find the princess? Possibly. Likely? Who cares?

Goalscorer and the man of the match.
In a season where Bradford have reached the Capital One cup final it is clear anything can happen. Fortune favours the brave and brave men make fairy tales great. Newcastle have been this and more in the Europa League. Pardew gambled in Kharkiv and won. Pardew gambled against Anzhi and won. I wonder what he'll do against Benfica? We've got the talent and depth to give it a go as well. The January signings have added quality as well as numbers. They've all hit the ground running; Debuchy and Gouffran are ineligible in Europe but this means that we have them available and hopefully hungrier to play in the Premier League in which we're almost mathematically safe. Haidara has looked decent when he has started, Yanga-Mbiwa and Taylor have been superb at the back and Sissoko has been a monster in the midfield. With Papiss Cisse seemingly getting back amongst the goals and Shola's incredible record in Europe our attack can hurt Europe's defences. If Yohan Cabaye is fit for both legs and Tiote manages to recall how to pass we're in with a shot. The derby days after the 2nd leg will pale into insignificance if we beat the Portuguese side.

In regards to the league, it is both a realistic and sensible goal to aim for 10th. Personally, finishing 17th would suit me if it meant European glory. This season's final league position will not be representative of what this team can achieve. I'm not saying we should throw away our games but importance should not be placed on the Premier League game if there is a Europa League game in midweek. We should look to emulate Swansea when they secured silverware after choosing to rest key players vs Liverpool.

Is it daft to dream? Once upon a time there was a wee club in the North East of England who went by the name of Newcastle United. They slayed dragons, ugly sisters and mackems, can Shola slay Europe?

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