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Don’t want to pop anybody’s balloons but was the scoreline only difference on Saturday?

6 years ago
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I obviously don’t want to pop anybody’s balloons but wasn’t Saturday’s Newcastle v Leicester clash just more of the same?

Very limited opposition that Newcastle seemed largely clueless to break down, no inspiration form the midfield, the defence still looking sieve-like, then the poor opposition eventually realising that our team isn’t very good and largely dictating play in that second half.

The obvious (and only) differences for me were that Obertan scored a goal out of nothing and for once this was combined with the other team failing to put the ball in the net despite numerous chances.

Other than that I didn’t see anything that made fans sit up and take notice, or for the majority, get off their seats.

Obviously it was a big plus getting three points against another team who are very likely to be bottom six just like Newcastle but as for any signs of real improvement, I just can’t see it.

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Obertan did quite well but if anything that just made even more abundantly clear how clueless the likes of Gouffran, Colback, Anita and Sissoko are when it comes to the crucial midfield area.

It also became frighteningly obvious how fragile our midfield is without Cheick Tiote. As the game opened up in the second half, you could have driven the proverbial double decker bus through the middle of our midfield and if we play against somebody decent with Saturday’s set-up, it could get very messy.

The other main positive in the Newcastle team was actually also a bit of a negative as well.

I have been amongst the vast majority who thought it a no-brainer that Massadio Haidara should start ahead of Paul Dummett. However, Dummett actually played very well I thought, though it helped that he wasn’t up against any quality, which is when he gets the run around on most occasions.

Sadly, on the downside, when Dummett was forced off with the after-effects of the knock he was carrying, Haidara was terrible and almost gifted Leicester an equaliser with shocking positional play and not even able to do the simplest task of staying with his man.

While a display like Saturday’s proved, with big slices of luck (Krul left stranded with cross that hit woodwork and Leicester player freezing when left one on one with the Newcastle keeper in first half etc.) we can just about crawl past Leicester (which must be seen as one of half dozen most winnable matches), I see no more optimism moving forward than I did before this weekend’s win.

Spurs and Liverpool have had erratic starts to the season, but I see Newcastle as just the kind of team to give them the confidence of a comfortable victory, with Pardew’s United sitting deep and letting the opposition play it about before eventually (or quickly) picking the right pass that sets in motion heavy defeats.

I really hope that I am proved wrong by Pardew and his Newcastle team, but that level of performance against Leicester is not good enough, and it is all very well the manager and players talking about all the hard work they are doing – but every club does that and at some point you do need some semblance of class/quality.

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