How good or bad are NUFC and what did the Newcastle v Crystal Palace match tell us either way?
An interesting comparison is the fact that both United and Sunderland played the same opposition at home in the space of a week.
The mackems drew with Palace 0-0 in a terrible match, Newcastle beat Palace 1-0 in a terrible match.
So what was the difference?
Newcastle v Palace
Possession NUFC 73% Palace 27%
Shots NUFC 21 Palace 8
Sunderland v Palace
Possession SAFC 65% Palace 35%
Shots SAFC 19 Palace 12
As you can see, the mackems had similar dominance in terms of both possession and shots but got only one point instead of three.
Hand on heart I sadly have to say that there is very little difference between the Newcastle and Sunderland squads. The one big difference is that we have a small group of players who are clearly a class above anything Sunderland have got but we are so massively over-reliant on them that it is untrue.
Cabaye has obviously gone, Remy isn’t ours and is injured, Krul’s form has suffered this time around and Coloccini has had his injury problems and there’s little doubt that he will be trying to exit this summer yet again.
If you still think that the rest of Newcastle’s squad as a whole are any better than our friends down the road, just look at what happened in the two derby matches, in the second one Newcastle weren’t just beaten but totally outplayed by a rubbish Sunderland team.
So back to the two matches with Palace. The difference for Newcastle was provided by Hatem Ben Arfa, if he hadn’t come on then no way would Newcastle have won.
Hatem is clearly a player with more talent than the mackem squad combined but the big problem for us is that it hasn’t happened nearly enough this season. Partly through his own shortcomings and partly via the manager and coachig staff failing as well.
Newcastle cannot be relying totally on a player as fragile as Ben Arfa to provide the flair that is desperately needed, more players who can also deliver are desperately needed and I’m sure that would then motivate Hatem to step up his game with better players around him.
Without this injection of quality, Newcastle will end up as just another Sunderland and that is something none of us wishes to see.