Is Alan Pardew Style Too Limited?
So is the Alan Pardew style too limited for Newcastle United?
Just around the corner, Boxing day for Newcastle fans is historically a time for festive hangovers, meat sweats and equally uncomfortable football games.
Despite a more positive outlook this year, with a struggling Stoke side making the trip to St James’, I can forecast a widespread feeling of indigestion throughout the home fans. Not solely due to the bodyweight of Turkey ingested the day before, but recent form has showed us, that the final third of the game is a time for anxiety and severe nail biting.
Newcastle have won 8 games this season and 7 of them have been achieved by a one goal margin. Pardew’s men cannot be criticised too much as they will go into the Christmas period in an impressive 6th position however, Newcastle punters will be putting a genuine turnover of a team at the top of their Christmas lists.
In recent games Pardew appears to hold the reins on his players after taking the lead, whether by one goal or two and while the resolute defence has to be praised for keeping hold of the majority of these deficits, it remains Pardew’s biggest criticism amongst supporters.
Many supporters long for the thrashings Keegan and Robson’s teams displayed, removing any late match anxieties and allowing fans to bask in the knowledge that 3 points were in the bag.
The home win against Norwich seemed to be a perfect example as Pardew’s men seemed camped in their own half after half time, despite having a 2 goal advantage. This proved risky as Newcastle narrowed a 2-1 win at the full time whistle.
The worry for most fans is that this tactic is seen as extremely risky. Were it not for an uncharacteristic miss from top goal scorer Loic Remy on Saturday, Newcastle may have edged another game by a one goal margin, but as it showed, fortune may not always be on their side.
However, all is not lost, Newcastle have one of the highest amounts of shots per game in the league which displays a genuine threat and a decent level of creativity. If Pardew can pair this with a new goal scoring recruit in January’s window and regain Ben Arfa’s touch of class, there is room for improvement.
Newcastle will look at Everton, who stand one position above, but with a significantly larger goal difference of plus 12 following their 4-1 drubbing of Fulham, Newcastle fans will be looking with envy.
Saying ‘We should be winning this game’ is still widespread amongst fans across the country but as even the Premiership heavyweights have found this season, anybody can beat anybody. So while it is painful to see Newcastle cross the line with a proverbial ‘photo finish’ they currently stand in an impressive 6th place with most fans leaving the stadium with a smile on their face…albeit a slightly shaken, wry smile.
Many clubs have wished for a better ‘style’ of football philosophy, hoping for a Nou Camp ethos for their club, which would reflect the personality of the fans.
It is Newcastle’s hard working, driven and at times stubborn philosophy that has allowed them to stand in the way of some of the league’s top teams, bringing some of the biggest upsets in years. It is just harder to swallow when playing against some of the leagues ‘smaller’ teams.
Despite the heartburn suffered through these minute margins, Newcastle fans should take note that the club has enjoyed in recent seasons some of the best goals and victories they have had for years.
Fans may hope for a more aesthetically pleasing brand of football but careful what you wish for. For example Charlton became tired of Alan Curbishley’s boring style of football, never progressing further up the table, and they now find themselves a regular lower league outfit. The same can be said for Allerdyce’s Bolton and Blackburn.
All fans hope for entertaining football but it is not always possible on a shoestring budget.
Hopefully the loyal and long suffering fans will be rewarded with a glut of goals over the Christmas period…
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