A resounding 6-2 win at home…
Man of the match performance from one of our big money summer signing…
The first four goal haul since Alan Shearer…
A first home goal for our new would-be goal hero…
Another goal to his strike partner and a powerful attacking display from a midfielder who had been singing his own praises but failing to deliver up until now….
That’s it, the problems of Newcastle fans are at an end and it’s onwards and upwards from here. Right? Right???
While no one can deny the win against Norwich was long overdue and a great party piece for the fans to enjoy after so much heartache and frustration, anyone who watched the game may not be as filled with optimism as the result alone suggests they should be.
Six goals is great and there was a special moment for Mitrovic’s controlled chest down and powerful strike, but the defending on Norwich’s part was atrocious at best and all but gifted us the win.
However, the more worrying part is that our defence still looked anything but in control, seemingly capable of conceding at any moment.
In truth, Norwich may have only scored two goals but they had a stonewall penalty claim waved away, hit the post twice and saw a few uncontested long shots sail agonisingly wide. Not great signs for Newcastle fans and I don’t think there was any point when watching that game, when I felt comfortable that we were in control of the game and were going to defend properly.
Janmaat has come in for some stick for his part in the lackadaisical defending, but he is our main attacking threat at the moment, so naturally will be caught out of position now and then.
The worry is how bad his team-mates are at tracking back and covering for his forward runs. Against Norwich, Sissoko stopped running altogether when he should have been busting a gut to get back and put some pressure on the player he was supposed to be marking.
That type of overall team effort is what seems to be missing. The defence may be getting the criticism for their blatant mistakes but we have a few passengers when it comes to defending as a team as well, something which doesn’t help the back four at all.
I was also a little disappointed that despite being on top offensively, Thauvin still didn’t get on the pitch. If there was any game to get him on and get some confidence then it was against a team who showed very little defensive organisation. he certainly couldn’t have done much worse than Sissoko in tracking back, so would have been nice to get him 20 minutes or so near the end.
Once again, we seem to be failing in the fundamentals of bringing players through. Or de Jong, a player that so much has been made of but one who we’ve seen so little of.
One thing is for certain, sitting on the bench will not get players adapting to the English game or their match fitness improved, so we will no doubt see these players thrown in against better opposition when the whole team is being dominated and we wonder why they won’t perform miracles.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to think I’m not grateful for a much needed three points and a boost to the goal difference, but for every positive there was also something that still didn’t sit right, some areas that clearly still need work.
The worry for me is the players believing their own hype going into the derby.
The thought of losing a 6th in a row just doesn’t bear thinking about, but we won’t have as easy a time scoring against an Allardyce side, that will be gunning for another three points against us that has all but kept them up the past two seasons.
Hopefully, McClaren has let the squad enjoy the result, but by now I’m hoping focus is well and truly back on working harder and pointing out what they did wrong, rather than what they did right, we just can’t afford to sit back on a single result, no matter how good it was.
The result was great, the performance was still more than concerning. Let’s hope they continue to work hard and pressure the red n whites come Sunday.
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