Newcastle United v Sunderland – Match Report
Newcastle United 0 Sunderland 3
Sunday 14 April 12 Noon
Watch Match ‘Highlights’ Here
I thought the only way Newcastle wouldn’t win today is if they beat themselves and unfortunately they went down that route.
Colo and Santon may be out injured and Ben Arfa only fit enough for the bench but Newcastle pretty much had their big names on the pitch but in a number of cases it was just that, the names and not the ability of the individuals.
Cabaye has been struggling in recent matches and that continued today, clearly out of sorts and possibly lacking fitness he struggled to get into the game. His midfield partner, Cheick Tiote, was a little better but he’s unlikely to produce the moment of magic that unlocks the opposition defence.
With Gouffran looking increasingly anonymous and Marveaux once again disappointing when getting a start, Newcastle’s reliance on the goals of Cisse and the running of Sissoko becomes far too predictable.
Newcastle actually started ok but as often in these matches the play became disjointed and a series of free-kicks meant it was a stop-start opening period. Cisse just failed to get to a long through ball whilst the tactic of trying to get Debuchy down the right side was a tough one as the mackems’ best player, on-loan Danny Rose, was his match.
While United were looking ponderous, the mackems were no better, only for a poor Jonas crossfield pass to be intercepted. Sessegnon ran at the heart of the Newcastle defence and while his shot form outside the area was accurate, I was still surprised when Krul failed to stop it reaching the corner.
The mackem fans had already shown their shortcomings by throwing various missiles down into the Newcastle fans and this was followed by a smoke bomb when the goal went in.
Newcastle almost instantly equalised as Cisse turned onto a pass in the box and if he’d mishit it then he’d have scored but instead Mignolet diverted it wide without knowing much about it. Seconds later and Sissoko makes an excellent run down the left and his pullback is met left footed by Cisse and Mignolet makes another top class save.
It is almost two for the visitors as Cuellar meets a corner and brings out a great reflex save from Krul, then at the other end Jonas hits a cross/shot that is heading for the top corner before Mignolet once again keeps Newcastle out.
Though it hasn’t influenced the scoreline, Newcastle have had slightly the worst of the decisions and now they are ahead there is the predictable sight of players lying down in agony only to run back on after wasting a few minutes.
Half-time sees Gouffran substituted as per usual and Shola enters the fray, not my idea of progress as I’d like to have seen Haidara come in at full-back and Jonas pushed up the pitch to give us better balance and a threat.
The substitution has done little for the black & whites and things go from bad to worse when Krul lands awkwardly with what looks like, and proves to be, a dislocated shoulder. A nightmare for the player as Elliot replaces him and only one sub left for Alan Pardew.
With half an hour left the ball is in the mackem net, a Marveaux free-kick eventually ends up at Cisse’s feet and he finishes, but the flag goes straight up, receiving texts from mates watching in the pub isn’t exactly comforting , the unanimous verdict is that the goal should have stood.
The final throw of the dice sees Ben Arfa on for Cabaye and instantly he wakes Newcastle up as he ghosts past players even at half speed and half fitness. He starts a move which ends with Debuchy heading back across goal but Ben Arfa put his header over.
Seventeen minutes left and in a repeat of the first half, Sissoko powers down the left and cuts the ball back for Cisse, this time he gets power but lashes it wide. A minute later Newcastle backed off as Johnson cut inside, his left footed drive flying into the top corner. With 82 minutes on the clock Vaughan’s first time strike flies across Elliot into his other top corner, not a great performance by Newcastle but this is very reminiscent of our 4-1 win at their place when United were average at best.
Newcastle United: Krul (Elliot 57), Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Mapou, Gutierrez, Tiote, Cabaye (Ben Arfa 63), Marveaux, Sissoko, Gouffran (Shola 46), Cisse
Unused Subs: Haidara, Perch, Anita, Campbell
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley (Colback 55), Cuellar (Mangane 72), O’Shea, Rose, N’Diaye, Larsson, Johnson, Sessegnon, McClean (Vaughan 65), Graham
Ref: Howard Webb
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