I was checking something the other day and happened to have a look at the Newcastle v Liverpool match in December 2010, Alan Pardew’s first match in charge.
I saw the line up and was thinking, surely Adam Campbell couldn’t have been involved then….!
Turns out Sol Campbell played that day, doubt I would have guessed that in a million years. Guess Coloccini must have been injured.
The team that beat Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday 11th December 2010:
Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Campbell, Enrique, Barton, Nolan, Tiote, Jonas, Shola Ameobi, Carroll
Kevin Nolan opened the scoring before Sol Campbell gifted Dirk Kuyt the equaliser, before Barton and Carroll added on each to give Pardew a winning start.
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Wayne Routledge, Alan Smith and Nile Ranger came on as subs and indeed Ranger helped to create the second goal by making a nuisance of himself (neither the first or the last time that has happened…).
I then started to compare that team on Alan Pardew’s first day, with the following eleven who played against Manchester United last week:
Krul, Janmaat, Coloccini, Williamson, Ryan Taylor, Obertan, Sissoko, Abeid, Sammy Ameobi, Riviere, Cisse
I have to say that the biggest difference is the midfield, I know Colback was suspended in that last game but I reckon that Barton, Nolan, Jonas and Tiote (2010 vintage) would have wiped the floor with Obertan, Sissoko, Abeid and Sammy Ameobi.
Taking the twenty two players from the two starting elevens, I would pick this eleven:
Krul, Janmaat, Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Enrique, Barton, Tiote, Sissoko, Jonas, Cisse, Carroll
When Alan Pardew walked out on the club and joined Crystal Palace, he claimed the team had moved on from when he first arrived.
Looking at the respective line-ups I think it is all but impossible to judge one better than the other, what I do think is clear though is that any progress on over four years is marginal at best.