The last time that Alan Pardew looked a little hot under the collar was after he crowd-surfed into the West stand after Papiss Cisse grabbed a stoppage-time winner against Fulham. He emerged from the jubilant Newcastle supporters looking like an exhausted member of Madness, after three encores, including an extended version of ‘It Must Be Love’.
So while Rodgers continues to choose Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey and Fabio Borini to break down the walls of European football, while having no use for the world class Nuri Sahin, surely Newcastle should look no further than bringing their misunderstood striker back home.
Now, not to sound petulant, but despite such a gracious ovation, it felt like amongst those grateful hand slaps, another subliminal – much more serious – rallying cry reverberated around St James’ Park (through gritted teeth): “We’re clapping you, but we’d better beat Sunderland on Sunday now…”
Two weeks ago Pardew described his striker’s performance as “awful,” but acknowledged his composure in front of goal. As long as Newcastle’s number nine keeps scoring, then the fans will not complain, but it seems a risky game that he is playing.
For starters, just 15 out of 45 corners in the last six games (before Wigan) were accurate; therefore a significant portion of the blame lies with Cabaye. Yet Geordie fans wouldn’t have any other man over the set-piece, this is made evident by the standing ovation the Frenchman earns every time he trots over to take one.