Newcastle United started strongly and finished almost irresistibly.

If only we had a defence to match our attack; where Ba, Cisse and Ben Arfa look as potent as any in the premiership.

Too often the defending is desperate and when it cracks it is catastrophic – as it was at Fulham, Spurs, Wigan and home to Chelsea.

These bad results are reflected in a poor goal difference which in a tight group at the top could have been crucial.

I could and would have been worse but for Tim Krul’s blocking and shot stopping. Mike Williamson’s lack of pace and Colo’s physical shortcomings often see them defending frantically, bobbing about like corks in a stormy sea before being submerged.

Two typical examples of their weaknesses were against Wigan; Williamson was outjumped by the much smaller Voctor Moses and Coloccini miskicked a clearance straight to the same player, costing us the first two goals.

At home to Stoke we could also have been two goals down due to Colo’s slack marking if it hadn’t been for Stoke’s poor finishing (as Tony Pulis pointed out post-match) before riding out easy winners thanks to the strong finishing of Cabaye and Cisse.

We have seen a similar pattern in other games where we have been outplayed but scored great goals from only a few chances, such is the brilliance of finishing by Cisse, Ben Arfa and Demba Ba (earlier in the season).

  • devils advocate

    15 clean sheets

  • 2 goal

    Our defence was the key to our start of the season. It is only since Cisse’s arrival and the shift to a 4-3-3 that the attack has become so potent. In the first half of the season HBA wasn’t playing and Ba was being partnered by Best or Shola. We were winning by small margins and it was the defence rather than attack winning us games. Our goal difference really wouldn’t be that bad if you discount the 4 smashings we received and I’d rather be hammered a few times in a season than every game concede twice. We’re now a completely different side to the one at the start of the season but you can’t simply forget how well they did for us!

  • Andy

    I think this is very harsh, whereas I acknowledge we need more strength in this department, we kept 6 clean sheets out of 8 towards the end of the season – this is one of the best organised defences we’ve had for some time.

  • Wowski13

    Pardew brought up the fact that Newcastle had 15 clean sheets, that is nearly half of our games. The defence has been excellent all year and really only let us down in the Fulham, Spurs and Wigan games away, and the West Brom game at home. Defensively we weren’t too bad against Chelsea until we lost Taylor to injury. Chelsea had only scored one up until that point. Don’t let a few lopsided scorelines cloud what has otherwise been an excellent defensive season, which has quite often featured players playing out of position!

  • Tom C

    Put into perspective, Joe Hart won the Golden Gloves award with 17 clean sheets.

  • Sparky55

    what if…what if…what if…

    15 clean sheets is excellent by any stretch of the imagination.  Yes our defending has been frantic at times, yes Colo gets bullied a bit, yes Williamson is a bit slow on the ground and more so upstairs in his head…BUT WE STILL DID BRILLIANTLY WELL LAST YEAR!

    Pards is not stupid…he knows we need more strength and depth at the back…we all know this…it’s very very obvious…so lets just let the manager get on with it and celebrate how well we actually did last year…we don’t need stupid posts like this stating the bleeding obvious!

  • Garageflower

    Jesus Christ,glass half full day or what?

  • I agree with the writer. Newcastle United have got one of the weakest defenses in England and we do need at least two good defenders, one left back and one right back as Simpison may leave the club and Santon is the only left back that Alan Pardew can rely on. If you can see Newcastle United do not have players to play on the flanks. We also need to sign midfielders and strikers. Europa League is a very tough competition and Newcastle United will play to win it at the end.

  • Long Beach CA Toon

    danny simpson seven goal line clearances !!!!!!!!
    ryan taylor part time left back full time hero
    perchino finding salvation and a role in a premier league club
    williamson playing above and beyond his abilities
    steven taylor with his head finally planted on his shoulders
    tim krul breaking stephen harpers heart but performing incredibly
    captain colo keeping the ship steady

    I wish we had this defense for the last decade ………

  • Mal

    Having read this I’m wondering how we managed to finish 5th.

  • Alric

    Just a stupid incidental… Does anyone realise that  ‘Par Dieu’ is French for ‘By God’! I think we should spread the word and have a few banners up to encourage our French lads even more.

  • mets

    Very poor article. If a side can keep 15 clean sheets at this level the defence has to be good