Newcastle United – Has that plan B still not been spotted?
Well, after weeks of positivity we really do crash and burn in typical Newcastle United style, leaving fans who only 5 days ago had such high hopes of going into Christmas with Wembley still possible and a healthy premier league position.
The positives… the league position, despite the disaster of another derby defeat, means we are not yet in a relegation battle.
In my eyes, despite what Alan Pardew has said, we were not the better team, indeed most of the clear cut chances fell the way of those in red and white, Adam Johnson himself could and should have had a hat-trick.
For sure we tried and once again our young Spaniard lead the way, he is without doubt heading for the top; his control, skill and vision are quite astonishing for one so young.
I once wrote an article asking if we had a plan B, clearly we don’t, our successes this season have been based on hitting good teams on the break, however it does not work against not so good teams, how can you hit a team on the break who is not attacking?
Pardew’s teams have an inability to break teams down who show little ambition, that might seem an odd thing to say given the fact Sunderland had at least 5 clear cut chances yesterday, but it is just how I see things.
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I also sense Pardew sends teams out with a slightly negative approach, why else would the again very ineffectual Gouffran again keep his place, before LAST Christmas he did contribute with the odd goal but now I am afraid he gives nothing.
We all feared the worst before kick off yesterday, I thought again the team looked fairly solid but after Wednesday I had a nagging doubt.
Our top man this season, Moussa Sissoko, was singled out for some harsh treatment by the Sunderland midfield, it was a clever Poyet tactic and it worked as a succession of Sunderland players clattered into him, in an effort to negate his influence on the game.
I know in our midfield we have ‘hard man’ Cheick Tiote, but he wastes his bookings on thoughtless and needless fouls. Sunderland came with an intention to commit fouls yesterday and in fairness they got away with it, and as soon as Cattermole reached his limit of fouls he was promptly replaced – it is a typical Poyet tactic and it is effective!
Gus Poyet clearly has the indian sign over us, but more worryingly is he outthinks Alan Pardew with ease, what will be different at the return game down there?
I mentioned Tiote before and in my honest opinion we do not perform so well with him in the team, Mehdi Abeid before his unfortunate injury was looking a very promising alternative. When Tiote was at his best he won the ball and simply gave it, now he wants 20 touches and dribbles himself into a blind alley, one word I have heard many fans use is ‘liability’.
It is difficult to be too hard on the players as they have given us some great moments up until a week or 2 ago, but no doubt an opportunity has been wasted, where is the Plan B when you have been found out?
To prevent yet another season ending in January the squad needs a little freshening up, we dare not burn out the gem that is Ayoze Perez, but we need to give some support, possibly a target man who has some physical presence (Connor Wickham used his physicality to try to hurt Newcastle’s young GK yesterday, an extension of Gus Poyets tactic) , we don’t have anyone able to do that, Intimidate the opposition goalkeeper.
While everyone will feel doom and gloom this morning, there is a bright side, again I point to the age of the squad, this team can go a long way, there is massive potential, and with one or 2 additions we could yet have some fun in 2015, but that is up to Mike Ashley, will he see this and invest just a few quid?
Or will he just keep coining it in and doing the bare minimum to keep us in the premier league? Answers not needed on a postcard!
I have to take my hat off to Alan Pardew however , he said the gravy would taste lumpy on Christmas Day should the unthinkable happen, well Alan it did (again) and you can be sure that Christmas is soured just a little.
My final thought is a drunken mumble from my mate Glen yesterday, not renowned for saying anything off any real substance normally, but he mumbled yesterday;
“At the end of the day we are rightly fed up, but tomorrow we will wake up, and nothing will have changed, we are above them in the league, the beer will still be cool and refreshing, and we don’t live in Sunderland.”
He then went off into a four letter rant, but I got his point, he is actually right, life could indeed be a lot worse.
So to quote a line from a song, we have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and start all over again, and what better place than Old Trafford to do this – Mr Pardew you owe us a repeat of last season.
Merry Christmas everyone.
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