Newcastle Club Focus – Taylor made for success

Newcastle go into the November international break with their unbeaten run still intact thanks to a stunning goal from Ryan Taylor. The Magpies’ have now extended their unbeaten run in the league to 11 matches – matching the previous achievement set by Kevin Keegan’s ‘Entertainers’ in 1994. The team is now very different 17 years on with Alan Pardew’s side built on the foundations of organisation and discipline compared to Keegan’s model of open attacking football.

Against Everton the Magpies showed both sides of their game, in the first half carving opening the visitors on a number of occasions and then in the second seeing out the game in relative comfort. The result saw Newcastle briefly rise to second in the table but after local rivals Sunderland failed to do them a favour they will have to make do with third.

When the league starts up again in a couple of weeks they face a tough run of fixtures. They face both Manchester sides away from home in consecutive weeks followed by a home game against Chelsea. If they remain unbeaten after that tricky trio then the Geordie faithful can start believing that an unlikely title challenge is on the cards.

If any player has summed up the new Newcastle under Pardew this season then it would be Ryan Taylor. After spending much of the last two seasons as back-up the Scouser has really taken his chance, producing performances above what pundits would have expected from him. With the added ability to come up with spectacular goals at crucial moments Taylor has become something of a fans’ favourite this campaign. It was expected that when Italian international Davide Santon signed from Inter Milan the versatile Taylor would return to his usual bench duties but his recent purple patch has meant that Pardew has had no option but to keep him in the team. Although he may not be the most athletic player playing in the Premier League Taylor’s technical ability means that he is always a threat whenever he is in sight of goal.

Although the international break is not ideal given the club’s current form the recent spate of injuries means that it may be a blessing in disguise. Newcastle ended the game with a much changed midfield with the seemingly indestructible Jonas Gutierrez the only remaining member of the usual quartet. Yohan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveaux both limped off with injuries with less than an hour played. With Cheik Tiote also sidelined the injuries have given a chance for Danny Guthrie to shine and on current form he is worthy of being offered a new contract to keep him on Tyneside.

Cabaye and Leon Best will both have scans on their injuries before joining up with their respective international sides. Best was another player to be subbed through injury and will no doubt be keen to make the Republic of Ireland’s crucial European Championships double header. With France only in friendly action the need for Cabaye to play may be lessened if he is not 100%.

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