Monday 12 September 8pm (Sky Sports)

QPR 0
Newcastle United 0

“The back four were brilliant again. I’m very pleased, and we’ve got something to lean on because we do look a good, sound unit. I can remember games last year where we didn’t threaten the goal at all and got beat 3-0, but we didn’t tonight and that might be the difference that gets us up the table”. Alan Pardew

Under the heading of ‘you couldn’t make it up’, it takes some beating to have our biggest away match (mackems) up first and not on (non-dodgy )TV, closely followed by west London on a Monday night.

Throw in prices of £40+ and a crowd of 16,211 which is a couple of thousand under capacity, welcome to the sexy all star world of the English Premier League. Without that inbuilt addiction that drives you to watch Newcastle United, or indeed any other team, why on earth would you do this….especially when you are then rewarded with one shot at goal.

Mentioning Leon Best, his excellent turn and decent shot which was tipped round the post, simply reinforces for me my belief that he will do one decent thing every match (second goal v Fulham etc etc) but anything else decent that he is involved in will simply be by pure coincidence.

As for his ‘strike’ partner, the least said the better. Though now you have mentioned him, what a waste of a shirt tonight – his movement was non-existent and as for a threat on goal….

Rather worryingly our best players were once again at the opposite end of the pitch, Ryan Taylor the honourable(?!!) exception. The first half saw Shaun Wright-Phillips absolutely take him apart and SWP was making his first start for a year! The second half saw the winger bizarrely moved to the left  and the threat level therefore reduced to occasional.

The eventual clean sheet was thanks equally toon the one hand  stoic defending from Krul together with his centre-backs, plus on the other woeful finishing by the likes of Bothroyd. Pardew later regretted going with the two up front as it left Tiote and Cabaye outnumbered, on this evidence we’d have been better not burdening anybody with the title of striker.

NUFC’s summer transfer policy of ‘just in time’ (factory speak for having just enough raw materials (players!) that you need at any one time) is now being sorely tested as Ryan Taylor sticks out like a very sore thumb at left-back. A prime case of Alan Pardew saying a little bit too much was after the mackem match when he declared, “We are trying to bring in another left-back, but he will have to be a good one to take Ryan out of the team”!

Scoring free-kicks like those v Scunthorpe and the mackems make Ryan a threat on set-pieces but you’d need a deadball success rate of around 99.9% to make up for his other ‘weaknesses’, particularly on tonight’s evidence. Maybe in the future we will look back at him as being our very own ‘poor man’s Rory Delap’.

Another match, another point, let’s hope our luck all season matches our goal’s charmed life tonight.

Queens Park Rangers: Paddy Kenny, Luke Young, Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore (Matthew Connolly 51), Joey Barton (c), Shaun Derry, Alejandro Faurlin, Shaun Wright-Phillips (Jason Puncheon 88), Jay Bothroyd (DJ Campbell 80), Adel Taarabt.
Subs not used: Brian Murphy, Fitz Hall, Akos Buzsaky, Tommy Smith.

Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 88), Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Sylvain Marveaux 82), Shola Ameobi (Demba Ba 64).

Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Davide Santon, Danny Guthrie, Peter Lovenkrands.

Referee: Phil Dowd

Attendance: 16,211 (1,279 away fans)