Newcastle United 1 – 0 QPR
Newcastle United 1 (Best 37)
Queens Park Rangers 0
Leon Best’s strike meant it was four wins out United’s last five matches but maybe an even more telling statistic is that the Toon have now kept clean sheets in three of the last four league matches. That has coincided with Coloccini getting a centre-back alongside him once again in the shape of Williamson.
The old adage ‘if you don’t concede goals you don’t lose matches’ coming to the fore.
Alan Pardew once again left Hatem Ben Arfa which certainly left this supporter scratching his head. Shola and Best did produce a goal between them but it was ponderous stuff much of the time either side of the goal.
The goal came on 37 minutes as Guthrie found Best in the box and the striker produced his trick of dragging the ball back before on one touch and bang(!), curled it into the bottom left corner from ten yards.
Newcastle had already lost Yohan Cabaye to a quite dreadful challenge from Sean Derry, how his desperate lunge didn’t produce a red is anybody’s guess. Cabaye was stretchered off with much finger pointing and also plenty verbals according to friends watching on TV.
That enforced substitution with Ben Arfa replacing Cabaye actually had the positive of getting United going, in terms of both the players and the crowd, all riled by a shocking referee. Prior to that it had been turgid stuff as Newcastle struggled to build attacks with a desperate lack of movement up front and the bite of Tiote to get in their faces in midfield.
How Ben Arfa couldn’t get a start out of this list of possibilities is beyond me and once he was in it was he and Santon who were at the heart of most touches of class.
Either Shola must have something wrong with him or else he is carrying a serious injury, his lack of energy/movement/dynamism is enough to send you to sleep. By the end of the match to say he was walking would be an insult to a pensioners’ rambling society.
The second half seemed to see the manager adopt a kind of 4-3-3 formation with Shola the spearhead (don’t laugh) and Best on the left and Ben Arfa on right. This left a midfield three where Gutierrez was given license to roam at times which to me suits his game.
Ben Arfa showed a brilliant burst to take him infield and things should have been settled with ten minutes on the clock, he superbly played in Best who should have possibly shot but chose to slide it across to Shola who somehow missed it, if you were kind you’d say it possibly took a deflection.
“It was never going to be an open game and a game that had the place rocking. As a manger though we love one-nils!’.” Alan Pardew
The defining overview was that Alan Pardew was quite happy to see Newcastle play keep ball for most of the second half without displaying much ambition at all, whether that was out of necessity or choice is up to you to guess.
The visitors huffed and puffed but maybe Wright-Phillips summed them up with a lacklustre performance that saw him end up further and further back, ending up just in front of his back four.
A goal for Best and up to sixth, can those statistics do anything but tell the whole truth?
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor (Dan Gosling 82), Danny Guthrie, Yohan Cabaye (Hatem Ben Arfa 25), Jonas Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi, Leon Best (James Perch 77).
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Mehdi Abeid, Gabriel Obertan.
Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): Paddy Kenny, Luke Young, Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand (c), Clint Hill, Jamie Mackie, Shaun Derry, Akos Buzsaky (Federico Macheda 76), Shaun Wright-Phillips, Heidar Helguson (Tommy Smith 65), Jay Bothroyd.
Subs not used: Radek Cerny, Bradley Orr, Fitz Hall, Hogan Ephraim, DJ Campbell.
Referee: Chris Foy
Attendance: 49,865 (1,300 away fans)
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