The Resurgent Toon Army

Eightweeks into the domestic season and Newcastle United find themselves competingfor a place in the top four.
InJanuary the Magpies lost Andy Carroll and the last transfer window saw formerclub captain Kevin Nolan, bad boy Joey Barton and fan favourite Jose Enriqueleave St. James’. With four of the first team regulars leaving, Alan Pardew hasdone well with the resources given to him at the club. The players brought inby the Englishman have worked well in the system and possibly the Toons couldbe gearing up for one of their best seasons, in a long time.
Theirlast game was a 2-2 draw to a Tottenham Hotspur side who came into the gamewith four successive wins. Coming back from a goal down twice, it was evidentthat Pardew’s hard work and discipline had made an impact on the squad. 
Pardewwho took the Job in December 2010 after Chris Hughton was sacked, has madeserious improvements to the club. Famous for leading Newcastle to a 4-4 drawagainst Arsenal (termed as the game of the 2010/11 season by many). Aftersecuring a mid-table position last year (12th), Pardew has managed to bring ina set of foreign recruits who have done well at the club.
Thetransfers :
YohanCabaye:
Yohan Cabaye – signed from French Ligue 1 champions Lille
Thecentre midfielder was bought from French champions Lille. Cabaye wasinstrumental in Lille’s season as the club won the domestic league and theleague cup. He scored 15 goals in the season, earning two caps for France aswell. Cabaye plays in the center of midfield and is described as a ‘box-to-box’midfielder. Not a prolific goal scorer, his work ethic and vision have workedwell at Tyneside. Playing with Cheick Tiote in the middle of the park, Cabayehas provided a sense of stability in midfield. 
Demba Ba:
The mercurial striker has done superbly for Newcastle so far, and would like to continue in this vein
Senegaleseinternational Demba Ba gave a ray of hope to a relegated West Ham United sideduring the second half of the season by scoring 7 goals in just 12 appearancesfor the hammers. Bought by West Ham United in January from 1899 Hoffenheim, hiscameo with the East London club earned him praise for quickly adapating to theEnglish League. Signed by Pardew at the beginning of the season, Ba has alreadymanaged to score 5 goals in his 7 appearances in the league, three of whichcame in a game against Blackburn earlier this season. The 6ft 2in striker is athreat in the air and is also know for his clinical finishing. In terms ofvalue, not the exact replacement for Andy Carroll, but with a bright start tothe season, he may be en route to becoming a first choice striker at the club.
GabrielObertan:
The Frenchman couldn’t make his mark at Old Trafford, but has already become an integral part of Alan Pardew’s side
Oncetouted as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, the Frenchwinger made only 14 league appearances in two years for the Manchester club. Ahighly rated attacking winger, Obertan excelled at Bordeaux, prior to his stintat Manchester United. Signed by Pardew in the summer, the Frenchman yet to earna senior cap is expected to regain his lost form in the English League. At 22,Obertan still has a lot of football ahead of him and having played in all 8games this season already, it is evident that the winger is an important partof Pardew’s attacking set up at the club. 
SylvainMarveaux:
Sylvain Marveaux was signed on a free transfer from Rennes
TheFrench left winger was bought in as a replacement for Wayne Routledge (who wasloaned out to QPR). Marveaux arrived at Newcastle on a free transfer and was asubject of interest from Liverpool (where he failed a medical, some reportsclaim). The 25 year old winger who prefers to play on the left flank is knownmore for his assisting skils rather than scoring. Pardew’s second un-cappedFrenchmen will be fighting for a position on the wing along side countrymanObertan and Argentine winger Jonas Gutierrez.
DavideSanton:
The hugely talented defender will be desperate to prove his worth in English football
A productof the Internazionale youth system and with 7 international caps at the age of20, Santon was signed as an immedeate replacement for Liverpool bound JoseEnrique. A highly rated attacking full back Santon’s last season at the SanSiro saw him being loaned out to Cesena. After returning from the loan Pardewwas quick to sign the Italian as AS Roma were also interested in the servicesof the young full back. Making his debut as a second half substitute in the 2-2draw against Tottenham Hotspur at home, the Italian is yet to start indefence. 
Alongwith these signings Hatem Ben Arfa who was loaned to NUFC last summer was madea permanent deal. Though the midfielder made only 4 appearances last season(scoring 1 goal), the 24 year old has recovered completely and has made 2appearances this season.
Ben Arfa’s first season was cruelly cut short by injury, and he will want to prove his worth in his first full season
 Pardewhas spent his money well at the beginning of the season and the results hasshown this so far. Newcastle United into their second year after a shockrelegation in the 2009/10 season have shown massive improvement under Pardewand it seems like the manager has brought in the right type of players this seasonto take Newcastle to a higher position in the league and possibly even a seasonof European football next year.
Can Alan Pardew lead Newcastle into Europe after almost a decade?

Writing Credits: AP

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