Newcastle United v Norwich – Match Report
Newcastle United 1 (Ba 19)
Overall Newcastle deserved the win but we had a bit of the good, the bad & the ugly.
What certainly isn’t ugly is Hatem Ben Arfa’s form so far, if he hasn’t been man of the match in every game so far, he’s certainly been our biggest threat going forward overall, a bit strange when you have another player who has scored four goals in five Premier League matches.
Happily the two combined on nineteen minutes to win the three points, Ben Arfa coming in from the right and hitting an imperious through ball which Ba put in the back of the net, mention as well for Papiss Cisse whose dummy run helped open up the space for Demba Ba.
The ‘ugly’ today, must be Cisse’s shocking penalty which went high over Ruddy’s bar. A push on Wiliamson saw the whistle blown and the ball in Hatem’s hands on the stroke of half-time, after a player conference the ball was handed to Papiss and thankfully it didn’t cost us in the end. The players did it for all the right reasons (get Papiss Cisse off the mark for the season) but in actual fact they are really all the wrong reasons (if he misses then Cisse is even more uptight, plus of course I think those playing with big confidence like Ben Arfa would have been much more likely to put it away).
Newcastle created plenty of chances throughout the ninety minutes but Norwich had their moments as well, it was that kind of game.
In an attacking sense, Newcastle impressed, with Ben Arfa predictably at the heart of most of the good things. The way he can just glide past players is unreal, even better dare I say it than Peter Beardsley. Shortly before the goal Anita had swapped with Perch and the Dutchman provided the perfect partner for Ben Arfa to exploit the right hand side.
We have now once again a double threat with the other wing seeing Jonas and Santon looking every bit as good as the Jonas/Enrique double act became, the Italian full-back is looking immaculate and with just a little more attention to detail can become a real goal threat, both in terms of assists and goals.
The second goal just wouldn’t come though and Norwich were given a certain amount of freedom to both thread balls through and put high ones into the box. Harper made a couple of sharp saves while Williamson and Taylor stood firm, this possibly the better type of match to have them both in the team. Neither Morison or Holt got much change out of them and if Taylor doesn’t deservedly make it into the England squad soon he’ll have to contemplate signing for relegation zone Liverpool to ensure his place!
Newcastle had plenty chances to make this game safe but ended up using the substitutes to try and see the game out. Tiote did a job even if he over-elaborated, Shola put in a decent 5 minutes, but Obertan was a liability once again. You don’t want to single any player out but he leaves you with little choice!
In their last away match Norwich deserved all three points at White Hart Lane but had to settle for one, today we edged it – this Premier League has very few sure things any more these days.
Newcastle United: Harper, Perch, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Santon, Ben Arfa (Shola 85mins), Anita (Tiote 76 mins), Cabaye, Jonas, Cisse (Obertan 70 mins), Ba
Unused Subs: Elliot, Tavernier, Bigirimana, Sammy
Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bassong (Turner 8mins), Barnett, Garrido, Snodgrass Johnson, Howson, Surman (Jackson 82 mins), Hoolahan, Morison (Holt 70mins)
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Crowd: 49,402 (1,413 away fans)
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