Looking For Newcastle’s Killer Instinct
This Saturday’s helping of Premier League football sees Crystal Palace v Newcastle United, a game that looks straightforward on paper, but will be anything but.
Palace look a completely different and far more dangerous outfit under the management of former Stoke boss Tony Pulis, and although I expect us to take 3 points, in order to do so we need to do what we’ve done all season: take the game to them, grabbing the first goal.
However, if Palace manage to grab the first goal in front of their re-ignited Selhurst Park, we could have a massive problem on our hands.
This season so far the Magpies haven’t picked up ANY points from losing positions, which is a worrying statistic. Although nothing should be taken away from the fact we’ve taken the lead an impressive 15 times this season, and have only failed to take maximum points against Hull, Liverpool and Southampton from winning positions, we can’t though always rely on grabbing the first goal and hoping to hang on.
We have done this well so far this season, no doubt. But the nervy endings to games aren’t always welcome – the only PL game that we’ve really managed to inflict a “game over” strike was in the 2-0 triumph against Chelsea. All other victories have only been by a single goal. Whilst I’d take 1-0 and 2-1 victories every day of the week, the opposition are always only once chance away from wiping out our advantage.
Our last game was a prime example of this, Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi both had chances to either double or restore our lead. None were taken and truthfully – we lost two points.
Last season we faced a ‘London bus’ scenario in regards to winning games from losing positions. It never occurred for almost 3 years, then happened three times in three games; in 3-2, 4-2 and 2-1 score-lines against Chelsea, Southampton and Stoke respectively.
There are sure to be plenty more times this season where we concede first – and when this happens, we need to see a response.
Against Swansea in particular, the match was a well-balanced and exciting one to watch, until Swansea took the first goal late in the first half. Then, quite frankly, we looked like we didn’t have the motivation to get back into it throughout the second period.
Even directing memory back to the sour 3-2 reverse hosting Hull City, whilst the game was either level or in our favour we looked threatening. As soon as they took the lead in the second half the game may as well have ended there and then.
In the build up to the game on Saturday I am desperately hoping that Mr Pardew has been drilling the prospect of a tough encounter into the minds of our players.
If we can play the way we can, and have, this season – we should take all 3 points.
I’d love to see a comfortable margin of victory but if we should fall behind, we need to see a reaction.
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