I Don’t Like To Compare Us To Sunderland But…
Talking after the Wigan match Alan Pardew had this to say about the game and where Newcastle were at in the build-up to that crucial win;
“I think it buoyed everyone and lifted all of our spirits. We mounted a lot of pressure on ourselves. We shouldn’t have got ourselves in that situation and we won’t again”.
In this day and age of instant communication; Internet, Facebook, Twitter and so on, there is a tendency for a lot of people to have sweeping changes of opinion based on what they’ve just seen.
Newcastle started at a high tempo against Wigan, which they had to, and it was clear it was going to be an open game with goals, in the first few minutes both teams had decent strikes on goal and won corners.
In this kind of match especially, the first goal was crucial and we got it thanks to our best move of the season so far. Quick inter-passing ended up with Papiss Cisse knocked over for the penalty, Demba tucked it away and we were given the massive bonus of seeing Wigan down to ten men, the kind of luck that has deserted us in recent weeks.
Now I don’t want to be a party pooper but once Demba Ba added a quick second, it meant the last seventy or so minutes should guarantee an easy ride and as the opposition tire you can take advantage.
We played well but never really took them apart, in fact the possession figures at the end were only 51/49% in Newcastle’s favour.
We always knew that the home matches with Wigan and QPR had to be home bankers because the other six matches coming up are against Manchesters City and United, Arsenal, Everton and difficult away matches at Fulham and Norwich, where we were stuffed by both last season.
The mackem reference in the title of this piece is because four matches ago, Sunderland beat Fulham 3-1 away after the home side had their best player, Hangeland, sent off early in the game.
Afterwards I couldn’t believe how many pundits and fans were talking about what a turning point this was, great performance, players back in form etc etc…conveniently forgetting why this result/performance might have been different to the dross that had gone before.
Needless to say, the mackems have followed up with defeats by both Norwich and West Brom and a lucky 0-0 against bottom side QPR.
Confidence is great but over confidence/complacency is dangerous.
I hope Alan Pardew is right and Newcastle United don’t get themselves into such a position again, though maybe the reality that needs to be acknowledged is that the Wigan win didn’t even lift us up a place, only created a bit more of a gap to the relegation zone.
A welcome return for a fit Hatem Ben Arfa on Monday night would give everybody a massive lift as we head into this round of matches.
Battling points against Fulham and Manchester City, followed by three points against QPR would have me breathing a little easier, anything less and I’ll still be looking over my shoulder.
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