Wednesday 21 December 2011 7.45pm
Watch match highlights here
Newcastle United 2 (Ba 34,81)
West Brom 3
Well we got goals, unlike the last two home matches, only problem was that West Brom got more!
One of our pre-match predictions was that there would be 3 or more goals in the first-half, well done to anybody who took our advice as they got paid out at 6-1 thanks to our betting partner BET365, only problem was that 2 of the 3 goals were for the visitors.
The Baggies didn’t spring any surprises, they just buzzed around and looked lively, which today was enough to take three points.
They didn’t deserve it and arguably Newcastle merited three points never mind one, though as we all know you don’t always get what you should in football.
West Brom scored a breakaway goal when our attack faltered to put them one up, only for Ba to score a superb twenty plus yards free-kick to level.
A standard textbook free-kick was headed back across goal by Scharner for McAuley to head home unchallenged, Newcastle later equalising with a class one two between Ba and Ben Arfa with ten minutes remaining.
This was almost unhinged when Vuckic seized on a ball thirty yards out and hit a lovely thirty yard flighted shot that Foster somehow got over the bar. At 1-2 the Slovenian had almost equalised on the stroke of half-time as his thunderbolt smashed back off the angle with Ba just failing to put the rebound in.
It may sound harsh but it is just stating the obvious, Vuckic had some decent touches but an inexperienced youngster is never going to give you what the likes of French international Yohan Cabaye gives the team.
Four minutes left though and a break down the left saw a very tidy move which ended with Scharner finishing from close range.
“Maybe the win is playing on our minds – we want that under our belts. We were desperate at times. We have to be more patient and more controlled. We were throwing numbers forward and got caught at times.” Alan Pardew
As I’ve mentioned; Vuckic is no Cabaye, just as Perch is no Steven Taylor. Obertan is no…..nothing according to many fans around me, getting blamed for everything from every misplaced pass by any teammate, to the world economy and why toast always falls butter side down.
Observations…..Davide Santon looks a real player and his forward surging runs are a class above some of our play, his replacement by Ryan Taylor at half-time can only be through injury, can’t it?
Leon Best was a willing workhorse but that kind of sums it up, he is not good enough and repeatedly hitting aimless long balls in the general direction of his heed was like…repeatedly hitting aimless long balls.
Ben Arfa showed some great touches as he beat his man 2 out of every 3 times which will do for me, rather than aimless long balls…
The bottom line though is that we (manager, players, fans) are all paying the price for under-investment in players, an extra two first team players would have helped paper over a lot of the cracks that have appeared in recent weeks.
Can the team/squad bounce back? The answer is a resounding yes but only if we have our best players on the pitch, it is all or nothing.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, James Perch, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon (Ryan Taylor 46), Gabriel Obertan (Shola Ameobi 72), Haris Vuckic, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Hatem Ben Arfa 61), Demba Ba.
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Mike Williamson, Mehdi Abeid, Sammy Ameobi.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Ben Foster, Steven Reid (Billy Jones 7), Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey, Jerome Thomas (Graham Dorrans 69), Youssouf Mulumbu (George Thorne 76), Paul Scharner, Chris Brunt (c), Peter Odemwingie, Shane Long.
Subs not used: Marton Fulop, Craig Dawson, Marc-Antonie Fortune, Simon Cox.
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: 51,060 (800 away fans)