Saturday 10 December 2011 3pm
Norwich City 4
Newcastle United 2 (Ba 45,70)
“I think there was extra emphasis on them to go and attack knowing we didn’t have out three first choice centre halves on the pitch and I think that’s unusual and I think any premier league team is going to struggle with that” Alan Pardew
In the lead up to the match we said that if Newcastle controlled possession then that would equal a decent result.
Well, despite Gosling’s sending off with 25 minutes to go, we did ‘control’ possession but only by 51% to 49%.
It was maybe a match where you could take out of it what you will. United played some good football at times but ended up conceding more goals than in any other match this season.
Norwich became Stokewich as they changed tactics to a two big knackers up front and unfortunately it worked. I don’t particularly rate Williamson but if we’d had somebody there to literally just stand and head the ball away then we’d have almost certainly done better on the day.
Simpson and Perch did ok as individuals at centre-half but without an experienced/natural head at the heart of your defence you are always going to be struggling.
The linesman cocked up on their first goal when he awarded a corner but you can’t then just blame that when your defence fails to deal with a standard corner.
Cabaye and Ba were class and they combined to make it 1-1 but overall the squad are very much struggling to cope with the short-sighted limitations of the summer transfer dealing. We all knew we needed at least an extra defender (or two) and forward plus another midfielder/wide man but Pardew wasn’t given the freedom to bring those players in.
“It was a bit of a rash challenge by Dan” Alan Pardew
The other positives today were the usual high energy display of Gutierrez and a good showing of Santon at left-back, while Gosling did ok until he gave the referee the chance to red card him at 3-1 down.
The issue today though was soft goals from standard crosses that should have been dealt with, as a team they didn’t defend to anywhere near their ability but they do just need to pick themselves up and play for both manager and supporters.
The ten man Newcastle had the home side on the ropes for ten minutes and at 2-3 we looked the better team, a soft sixth goal followed and all that work proved to be for nothing.
“We should have done better regardless of the personnel we had out” Alan Pardew
Those clean sheets of the early games may becoming a distant memory for some but with reasonable backing from Mike Ashley, Alan Pardew will be able to shuffle the pack and make the ability and team spirit count for best of the rest (seventh) or possibly even better.
Norwich City: (4-4-2): John Ruddy, Kyle Naughton, Zak Whitbread (Leon Barnett 83), Russell Martin, Marc Tierney, David Fox, Andrew Crofts, Andrew Surman (Bradley Johnson 77), Wes Hoolahan (Simoen Jackson 85), Steven Morison, Grant Holt (c).
Subs not used: Declan Rudd, Anthony Pilkington, Elliott Bennett, Aaron Wilbraham.
Newcastle United: (4-4-2): Tim Krul, Ryan Taylor, James Perch, Danny Simpson, Davide Santon (Shane Ferguson 90+2), Gabriel Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 81), Dan Gosling, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez (c), Shola Ameobi (Alan Smith 90), Demba Ba.
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Hatem Ben Arfa, Peter Lovenkrands, Leon Best.
Referee: Martin Atkinson