Sunday 25 March 2012 4pm
West Brom 1
Newcastle United 3 (Cissé 6, 34 Ben Arfa 12)
The front three of Papiss Cissé, Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa gave us a wonderful glimpse of what the future holds if we keep them together.
Every time Newcastle got possession (which was plentiful!) in that first forty five in the opposition half, United looked like they could score.
Only six minutes on the clock and Jonas plays a sweet ball into Ben Arfa who has switched across from the right, a perfect low cross eluded Ba by inches but was lashed home by Cissé.
Another six minutes of Geordie domination was finished off with a flowing move to make it a two goal advantage.
Hatem Ben Arfa picked it up deep and played a cute 1-2 with the outstanding Cabaye, his strength/hunger won the pass which left Newcastle three on two, Ben Arfa teased Olsson (Oaf-sson?) before skipping inside and lashing it in with his left foot, the centre-back left on his backside.
Thirty four minutes on the clock and after some sustained (not getting anywhere) West Brom pressure, Ba was at the heart of another great flowing move forward which ended up with the ball pulled back for Cissé to lash it past Ben Foster from around fifteen yards.
Not just a great scoreline but also some superb play that gave you a really nice feeling.
Minutes to half-time and Coloccini made clear to the bench he was struggling, so no surprise to see Santon on at left-back with Perch moving into the middle alongside Williamson.
Ben Arfa then initiated a quick breakaway that should have made it four, Cissé released only to see Foster block him out of a first ever English Premier League hat-trick.
Maybe it says it all about Newcastle’s performance that the only piece of poor defending let West Brom have their consolation, Long had been impressive at St.James’ Park and after being introduced at half-time it was he who gave the one chink of worry in the whole second-half.
A long hopeful ball saw Williamson running towards Krul and under pressure he inexplicably headed it at the last second as Timmy came to claim it, cheap goal to Long.
That was more or less it in terms of anxiety, though that is easy to say afterwards!
Great performances all over the pitch; Perch and Simpson steady as anything, Cabaye chased everything down and still found time to create as well, Ba and Cissé full of spark as well as tracking back, the list goes on.
The last twenty minutes were eased by the home side going down to ten men as Morrison was helped off with all there home subs having been used.
The only blot(s) were the fact both Coloccini and Cissé were forced off through injury, we’ll find out soon enough whether they were precautions or lasting damage.
A great performance that puts Newcastle level on points with fifth placed Chelsea and eight ahead of Liverpool….will the scousers still be included in the top of the table snapshot on Match Of The Day tonight?
West Bromwich Albion: Ben Foster, Billy Jones, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell, Peter Odemwingie, Youssouf Mulumbu (Paul Scharner 74), James Morrison, Keith Andrews (Shane Long 46), Jerome Thomas (Chris Brunt 46), Marc-Antoine Fortune
Subs not used: Luke Daniels, Nicky Shorey, Craig Dawson, Simon Cox
Newcastle United : Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c) (Davide Santon 46), James Perch, Hatem Ben Arfa (Shola Ameobi 75) , Yohan Cabaye, Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse (Shane Ferguson 79)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling, Haris Vuckic
Referee: Chris Foy