Another Jekyll and Hyde Performance From Newcastle United
West Brom 1 Newcastle United 1
Saturday 20 April 3pm
Watch Match Highlights Here
Newcastle United’s failure to put together a full ninety minute performance almost cost them dearly this afternoon.
Any neutral watching the opening 45 minutes would never have Newcastle marked down as relegation possibilities. There was total dominance for the visiting team and it should have been two or three to United by halfway.
A more attacking formation was paying dividends as a fluid formation saw Sissoko and Gouffran supporting Cisse in pressurising the Baggies and forcing them onto the back foot, whichever team was in possession.
Cisse, Sissoko, Taylor and Cabaye all had chances to extend United’s lead but couldn’t quite get the better of Foster.
The home side had been anonymous but in added first half injury time, a fair tackle by Perch was adjudged a foul by the ref, a good yard inside the box, though the official managed to give a free-kick outside the box, a decision that managed to upset everybody on the pitch. You feared the worst but the effort was as feeble as West Brom’s overall first half performance.
The home side threw on Long to mix it up and whatever the reason we saw a completely different second half.
You have to give credit to West Brom but it can’t be a coincidence that yet again Newcastle spent a second half camped almost exclusively around their own box.
Elliot had done OK but his distribution and tendency to punch hadn’t given you much reassurance.
With Newcastle defending so deep they end up facing a succession of corners an dare visibly creaking, the equaliser when it comes though sees a West Brom surge down our left and when they get into the box, Jones takes advantage of the run of the ball to score to the middle of the goal, with possibly Elliot capable of doing better to keep it out.
All the action is at our end and when a substitute appears there are groans in the away end as instead of Ben Arfa we have Shola bizarrely replacing the industrious Gouffran.
Ameobi ends up looking as terrible as he did last Sunday, while Elliot makes a sharp save from an unmarked Morrison’s header.
Ben Arfa finally does make an appearance but the end result is a tactical (unnecessary) change around as Jonas drops to left-back and Haidara leaves the field.
With seconds on the clock, Alan Pardew makes a bizarre last sub as despite defending a corner, Gosling replaces Cabaye. It was clear the whistle would go as soon as the corner had hit the middle, so it seemed a decision that could only potentially go wrong.
I doubt very much whether there is another Premier League club who could be so dominant one half and then not leave their own end for the entire second period, a strange season and a lot of things that don’t add up.
Answers on a postcard.
West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Dorrans, Yacob (Long 46), Morrison, Brunt, Fortune, (Rosenberg 90), Lukaku (Thomas 90)
Newcastle United: Elliot, Debuchy, Mapou, Taylor, Haidara (Ben Arfa 77), Perch, Cabaye (Gosling 90), Jonas, Sissoko, Gouffran (Shola 69), Cisse
Unused Subs: Harper, Williamson, Anita, Campbell
Ref: Mike Jones
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