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Pardew And His Players – Beware Of Stalking Lions

8 years ago
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The coverage of the EPL in the Middle East is now being provided by Al Jazeera Sports out of Qatar.

Qatar seem very keen to buy anything and everything related to football these days. Whether it’s teams, coverage or even the World Cup, they seem to have bought the lot.

Now here’s the good bit – as part of the package we also get Richard Keys and Andy Gray to entertain us.

You can imagine that conversation cant you?

“You were fired for what? Come and work with us. We need good men like you!”

Anyway – I like to start with a little humour, so we’ll dive in with a joke, and no, I don’t mean our performance.

David Attenborough is crouching in the long grass on the plains of the Serengeti with his cameraman filming giraffes playing poker, or something else equally as interesting, when they realize that they have been stalked by a Lion, which is now behind them, only twenty yards away and ready to move in for the kill.

As Attenborough is walking away slowly facing the Lion, he notices the cameraman taking a pair of Nike running shoes from his backpack.

Attenborough says “you don’t really think that you can outrun a Lion wearing them do you”.

The Cameraman replies “No, but I’m pretty sure I can outrun you!”.

It appears, one game into the season that we are going to have to concentrate on outrunning the Attenboroughs, rather than the Lions.

There’s no other way to put it. The performance was abysmal.

Pardew has suggested that the transfer window should close before the beginning of the season, as it is distracting his players. Personally I think it should close in April. Next April. Then maybe we could get a couple of players in.

Let’s start with the positives.

I thought Cisse looked rather fetching in his Wonga Shirt.

That’s about it really.

The talking point of course has to be the sending off of Steven Taylor. Having escaped an earlier possible penalty and then a more blatant second one, Stevie obviously took first of all great pride in showing Aguero exactly which part of his arm he had used to stop the ball, and then he seemed to take an equal proportion of offence when Aguero called him a cheating Geordie b**tard, or some such other continental term of endearment.

It would be interesting to find out what he actually said, but it could hardly warrant Taylor cuffing him on the back of the head in front of the ref.

Tayls – if you are reading this I’d suggest that you tell the FA that you only intended to nudge him  on the shoulder to put him off balance as he ran across you. Surely they can’t blame you because he’s only 4 ft tall and where his shoulder should have been , he keeps his head, can they?

On the positive side – we might get another centre back in now before the window closes.

Hey – this glass half full sh** could work!.

Unfortunately – there are not a lot of other positives in my notebook.

4 players put in reasonable performances while the rest were pretty much sub-par, and while we may be proud of our reputation as being a tough team when we’re up against the classier teams, there was very little to be proud of out there against City on Monday night.

Events of the second half are hardly worth discussing with the possible exception of the superb efforts of Paul Dummett. First game of the season and half the team looked as if they’d rather be somewhere else, but obviously the youngster made the most of it and covered more grass than Cheech and Chong.

What I’ll do today is just list the players in order of performance from best to worst, at least in my opinion anyway,  which I’ve become accustomed to being told is just that, but hey – let’s give it a go anyway!

Ben Arfa – poor Benny was essentially a one man band out there. With City crowding him he had no one to pass to and the frustration showed at every turn. Easily our best player despite reports of him being a 19 stone donkey pre-season.

Tiote – OK – 3 nil down, down to 10 men and 20 minutes to go he got mugged a couple of times, but he was the nearest thing we had to a midfielder and controlled our midfield. I was surprised we didn’t see Marveaux.

Dummett – hardly the refinement of Ben Arfa but a damn sight more effort than most.

On a little earlier than he might have expected but did a good job. This is what playing for the club should be about.

Krul – I’m a little on the fence here. It’s easy to look good when you are playing behind a poor defence, but a couple of times he stayed when he should have gone, and went when he shouldn’t. Plus his distribution was pretty bad. But some decent saves.

Sissoko – the best of the worst. Is this the same guy who impressed in his first couple of games with the club?

Gouffran – Apart from the offside goal not much to shout about.

Sammyobi – only had half an hour but ably demonstrated his “Ameobi-ness”.

Yanga M’biwa – while we’re waiting for him to settle in can we get someone else? He scares me.

Colo – While he may have stated that he’s happy to stay, he certainly doesn’t look it. He was all over the place and most notably running AWAY from the ball when he should have been running towards it

Jonas – Can’t figure him out. Maybe heavier boots would help keep him upright a bit longer.

Anita – I’m sure he is talented but we just don’t see it. His passing was horrendous.

Cisse – isolated a lot of the time but…

Debuchy – obviously pigged off because his mate’s leaving, but could have at least tried to look as if he was enjoying himself.

Taylor – Completely out of control. I’d rather hoped that the days of giving away penalties and rubbing his stomach were over, but obviously not.

My ongoing admiration for Tiote continues. I was tempted to just completely ignore anything that happened after 3-0 as the conditions were not typical, but he got mugged a couple of times in the second half, but that said it was probably 3 times less than the other players wearing Black and White.

His passing was solid, he played a few nice through balls and he had a 30 yard shot that tested Hart. That’s 2 shots he’s had on target now. You can’t fault his determination.

In our defence (or what was left of it) City were sharp, they have a number of serious speed merchants playing for them, and we never really adapted to the way they pass the ball. I think it’s called “forwards”.

Not everyone will come even close to their game.

Did Cisse have a single attempt on goal?

With just a few minutes to go the stats showed that we were 20 – 5 down on attempts on goal. And I think 2 of those were goal kicks from Krul.

We have to be more creative.

We have to be willing to shoot from distance.

As the saying goes – you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

I think we can be fairly sure that this season City will be one of half a dozen Lions that we need to watch for. Next week we have West Ham . Come on boys, get the trainers on.

On the positive side, Joe Kinnear may have woken up by then.

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