View on the Visitors - Newcastle United

Newcastle Chronicle’s Newcastle United Editor Mark Douglas lifts the lid on Monday's visitors
Newcastle Chronicle’s Newcastle United Editor Mark Douglas lifts the lid on Monday's visitors

A slow start to the season in terms of points, but they have faced difficult opposition. What have the performances been like?

“It’s funny, despite being near the bottom of the table there is a fair amount of optimism surrounding St. James’ Park because the performances have been pretty good.

"Apart from the Swansea game, there’s definitely a sense that Newcastle are much harder team to beat while looking more dangerous going forward. There’s certainly been a noticeable improvement since last season; they just need three points from somewhere soon.”

What impact have the new signings had and who has impressed you the most?

“Georginio Wijnaldum has had a huge impact so far, he looks like the pick of the new signings. He scored on his debut against Southampton and he looks like he has a bit of everything; technique, energy and he certainly knows how to score.

"Aleksandar Mitrovic has made a different kind of impact but he too looks like a good player. He was very impressive against Manchester United. Chancel Mbemba and Florian Thauvin also look good additions; overall it’s been a good summer in the transfer window.”

Only four league games so far, but what are your initial impressions of Steve McClaren?

“It’s still too early to say really but he’s certainly made improvements. He’s been saying the right things and the board have backed him. It’s hard to make any conclusions yet but overall I’d say he’s done well.” 
West Ham are similar to Newcastle in the way you never really know what to expect, which West Ham players have impressed you this season?

“Dimitri Payet has looked good from what I’ve seen; Newcastle had been looking at him for a while. Diafra Sakho is another player Newcastle had their eye on, he scored a lot last season so he’ll be a threat up front. Mark Noble is a player I’ve long admired; he always works hard and largely goes under the radar.”

What are your fondest memories of visiting the Boleyn Ground?

“It’s just a fantastic, old-fashioned ground; you’re always guaranteed a fantastic atmosphere there. It’s definitely a ground I always look forward to coming to. Luckily from my point of view, Newcastle have tended to do pretty well when I’ve gone. It’s a shame to be losing the Boleyn but I’m sure the new Stadium will be just as special. It’s a great move for West Ham.”

What is your prediction for Monday’s score?

“1-1, which I think Newcastle would take if you offered it to them before kick-off.”