A Tough Place To Get Anything…Stoke v Newcastle
Stoke v Newcastle Match Report
Stoke 1 Newcastle 0 Monday 29 September 8pm
Not really being one for getting that bothered about the style, or otherwise, of our strips – I do however, have to say that this away/third/fourth strip is truly horrendous in the flesh.
Which kind of set the tone for this evening’s ‘entertainment’.
Pre-match on this website there was a feature about the brilliant David Ginola inspired 4-0 win at Stoke in 1995, this rubbish couldn’t be further removed than what seems now an almost mystical era we enjoyed under Kevin Keegan.
Alan Pardew’s insistence on standing constantly outside the dugout in the pouring rain, put him on a par with the unforgettable sight of the wally with the brolly, Steve McClaren. The only difference being the absence of an umbrella.
The Newcastle manager did so little as he stood there, a minimum of encouragement or instructions, I am tempted to believe that he’d been simply ordered by Mike Ashley to stand there come what may, supposedly taking one for the team and relieving the pressure on the players.
Whatever the reason, it didn’t work.
Newcastle were useless and this was against a really poor Stoke team who I think may well be grateful to us come the end of the season unless something dramatic happens, hard to see many teams being as bad as the one from the Potteries.
Whatever formation Alan Pardew was trying to play is all a bit immaterial, up to a point. Gouffran and Cabella appeared to be auditioning for the hide and seek championship as they looked anything but interested in getting involved, while Riviere may be isolated up front, but for more ‘experienced’ supporters he is looking to have all the appeal of an Andreas Andersson or Stephane Guivarch. He does offer virtually nothing every Premier League game so far.
The goal that decided the result saw Janmaat making minimal effort to stop a left foot cross from the right, then Coloccini was rooted to the spot as Crouch had the easiest task of a free header eight yards out. Alan Pardew talked afterwards about the failure to squeeze the box for this goal and with only the one plank in the box to deal with, it shouldn’t have been beyond Colo and the other defenders to do enough to prevent the striker getting to the ball cleanly.
Shortly afterwards Gouffran at last showed his face, only it was in the Newcastle box and he pushed over Moses in an attempt to go for the ball, luckily it was a clear penalty from every single angle apart from the linesman’s.
After that it was just more of the same, Stoke the better team but just as negative as Pardew’s eleven.
Although, the 23rd minute enforced substitution that brought on Arnautovic for Diouf didn’t help matters as he is their most talented player.
However, the fact that he then along with Victor Moses and Crouch, looked a cut above anything attacking-wise Newcastle had/have tells you just how big our problems are.
A long range strike by Janmaat was Newcastle’s only shot on target all night and Begovic made a great save low to his right, but that was just about it.
Then when United tried to press, it quickly becomes apparent why Pardew is so terrified of allowing the team to attack as a unit. When Stoke counter-attacked with the likes of Crouch and Moses, it then becomes clear that there surely can’t be a back four that is slower and so can’t be left isolated without midfield cover. Janmaat might be an exception but certainly Coloccini, Williamson and Dummett looked like they were running through treacle as they tried to get back.
Five minutes to go and the blue and greens almost salvaged an undeserved point, Colback striking the bar from six yards or so when it was easier to score.
As the manager said, this was a tough place to come and try to get a result…the only problem though is I can’t think of anywhere that won’t be tough if this is the level our team have sunk to.
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Coloccini, Williamson, Dummett, Colback, Tiote, Sissoko, Gouffran (Obertan 68), Cabella (Sammy Ameobi 74)), Riviere (Cisse 46)
Unused Subs: Elliot, Anita, Steven Taylor, Armstrong
Ref: Craig Pawson
Crowd: 26,332 (1,570 Newcastle)
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