Not Fergie Time…Papiss Time!
For the third home game in a row, not in Fergie time but in Papiss time, Cisse stepped up to the plate and brought the house down at St James’. The two previous wins were brilliant and the atmosphere was incredible but there was something extra in the sheer elation that followed on Sunday.
Players, coaches and even Pardew were throwing themselves into the crowd knowing how important this result was in the context of this week, not least the season. I wrote an article last week saying how important I thought it was that the fans kept with the team till the end and that’s exactly what happened.
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To be honest I doubt if any other team could have been carried by a cauldron of noise to a victory quite like that. Given what Cisse had done with chances up to that point there was very few of us would have expected that result from the number 9. It’s difficult to analysis his overall performance, on the one hand he squandered chance after chance but his determination and workrate was exceptional and to have the confidence to flick the ball over the defender and finish like that shows the difference a natural goal scorer can make.
Despite that the man of the match for me had to be Gutierrez. Credit where credit’s due, he was exceptional second half from the left-back position, providing some powerful runs that made the Argentine such a big part of this team in days gone by. The performance adds further evidence to the argument that LB is now his best position.
To be honest I can’t wait for the next two games. Part of me has one eye on the derby and I’m literally shaking at the prospect of beating them again and sending both our seasons in different directions. However, Thursday night now seems a little bit more winnable than it was after last Thursday. I don’t have any doubt that if we play like we did in the first leg and second half against Fulham and carry a bit of luck, we can get through.
Throw into the mix the unexpected possible return of HBA and suddenly things are looking up for Newcastle. While it’s unlikely he will feature on Thursday, an appearance on Sunday could be devastating.
Just imagine the atmosphere on Sunday if we beat Benfica, I don’t think any Newcastle fan would doubt our chances of success. The first of three wins in the bag, now bring on the next two and potentially one of the best weeks in modern times as a Newcastle fan.
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