The remarkable story of Remy Cabella & Alan Pardew and how the former Newcastle manager can’t cope with flair.
We are all aware of what happened between Pardew and Hatem Ben Arfa, a situation where the manager called into question the player’s attitude and indeed integrity, leading to the Frenchman frozen out and released from his contract.
Likewise, you had the situation of Sylvain Marveaux, another winger/playmaker who many fans felt was never given any real chance in the United first team.
Both of them flair players who Pardew seemed to have no idea how to get the best out of and becoming expensive unused commodities.
However, it is perhaps the case of Remy Cabella that is the strangest one of all.
Alan Pardew clearly seems to be outside his comfort zone when not having wide men who are basically there to protect the full-backs.
He obviously loved playing Yoan Gouffran and similarly Gabriel Obertan was always a player he was itching to get back into the team, only prevented by the sheer weight of public opinion.
Back to the case of Remy Cabella though and have a look at this ten game run of matches and results United had under Pardew, in the final couple of months of his time at St. James’ Park;
Tottenham 1 Newcastle 2 (26 October)
Newcastle 1 Liverpool 0 (1 November)
West Brom 0 Newcastle 2 (9 November)
Newcastle 1 QPR 0 (22 November)
West Ham 1 Newcastle 0 (29 November)
Burnley 1 Newcastle 1 (2 December)
Newcastle 2 Chelsea 1 (6 December)
Arsenal 4 Newcastle 1 (13 December)
Newcastle 0 Sunderland 1 (21 December)
Manchester United 3 Newcastle 1 (26 December)
The three matches in bold are the only three that Remy Cabella started in this ten match run, all of them victories.
On top of this he came on in the following three matches of that run and helped turn two losing positions and a game that was level, into a draw and two wins.
In the game at White Hart Lane, Cabella came on at 46 mins with NUFC 1 down, United going on to win.
Against Liverpool, Cabella came on at 66 mins, scores level, and Perez scored the winner on 73 mins.
At Burnley, Cabella came on at 46 mins with United 1 down, Cisse scored equaliser on 48 mins.
Like Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylvain Marveaux before him, Alan Pardew’s natural reaction to adversity, or even to winning in two of these cases, was to leave out the most creative player.
Many of us have wished that Remy Cabella would have produced more at an earlier part of the season but maybe he was in the last few months, and we just didn’t realise at the time.
Even if he wasn’t always the person making the telling pass, possibly just the fact that his presence equalled a more attacking formation was enough to make a difference in the team’s style of play as well as results.
Ironically, Alan Pardew’s final ever Newcastle match, ended with a victory that came about with Remy Cabella watching from the bench for all but the last few seconds against Everton.
We have surely seen enough of Alan Pardew to realise what he all about but I just hope that John Carver can see the value of attacking intent and make Remy Cabella the focus of his team and formation.
The Newcastle Head Coach appears to have used a mixture of carrot and stick since Cabella’s display against Stoke and subsequent bottle throwing when he was subbed.
Let’s hope he gets the right blend when dealing with the playmaker, as well as when it comes to the wider issue of his team selection and formation.