Newcastle United: Trouble in the Toon

January 22, 2013 in Premier League

Newcastle are now the only team in the Premier League not to have recorded an away win this season. After a dismal second half against Reading, this allowed the visitors (who were the only other side without an away win) to take three points back to Berkshire.

 The first half went brilliantly for the Toon. Yohan Cabaye started for the first time in around two months, and they managed to keep the ball well, as well as being able to get forward, with Adam Federici keeping Reading in the game during the first 45 minutes, saving numerous efforts from Papiss Cissé, until the returning hero, Yohan Cabaye, managed to put the ball in the back of the net from a free kick. But still, Reading went in to the break only trailing by one goal, and as any football fan saw, last weekend, Reading can produce one hell of a comeback! But still, Newcastle left the first half feeling confident, after a fairly dominant display, limiting Reading to only a couple of shots off target. And with 70% of possession at half time, it was looking comfortable indeed.

One person who obviously hadn’t seen that comeback last week though, was Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew. Halfway through the second half, he substituted Sylvain Marveaux, one of Newcastle’s best attacking players during the first half, and the one who earned the Yohan Cabaye free kick, with James Perch. Now fair enough, Perchinho has had some decent displays for the Geordies this season, but when you’re 1-0 up against a side that we all know has goals in, shouldn’t you be looking for a second, rather than, with 25 minutes still to play, making sure you don’t concede? This of course got numerous boos by a raucous crowd, who haven’t been best pleased with Pards this season. And to pile on from that, he substituted Yohan Cabaye, for young midfielder Gael Bigirimana. I can understand that, I don’t like it, but if Cabaye was tired, seeing as it was his first start in two months, then fair enough. But Cabaye was easily Newcastle’s most influential player in this game, and you can see how much he has clearly been missed. But in my opinion, both of these substitutes were big mistakes, and it’s not the first time Alan Pardew has done this. Seeing as it’s not the first time, the Newcastle faithful really got on Pardew’s case, with loud boos echoing around St. James’ Park, all towards the man in charge. And surely enough, Reading came back, stuck two goals past the Geordies, and left everyone in SJP with a numb feeling, realising that it’s sink or swim time for the Toon.

I’ll admit, when Pardew took over from Chris Hughton, I didn’t see what he bought to the table, but he really turned my opinion on its head last season, when he managed to guide the Toon Army to 5th in the league, something they hadn’t done since 2003/2004. But this season has seen a paper thin squad get ripped apart by injuries, so I’ve reserved judgement. I’ve been one of the people who has stuck by the manager, and said “Look, when Newcastle get Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Taylor back, they’ll be fine!” But I can see now that isn’t the case. Taylor was on the bench today, and on the pitch was Mike Williamson, who everybody says is an underrated centre back. He’s not underrated, he really isn’t, he’s clumsy on the ball, and he gifts opportunities to the opposition. He might be a decent centre back for a Championship side, but he shouldn’t be walking into a Premier League team, especially not one with the supposed calibre of Newcastle United. And on Saturday, yet again, he gifted the opposition a goal, when he simply let the ball through him so Le Fondre could bundle it in, seemingly with his arm. Something has to be done to stop the rot, but the club are making strides in the transfer market..

Obviously, the world and his wife saw Remy snatched from Newcastle’s grasp by ‘Arry Redknapp and his band of merry men. But apart from that, Newcastle have secured the signing of French international, and best friend of Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy. Along with that, a fee of €7.5m and terms have been have been agreed with Montpellier captain, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who was supposed to arrive on Tyneside today for a medical, but as of writing, no sightings of him have been recorded, with the club putting it down to the bad weather. Also, another deal has been struck for Massadio Haidara, a 20 year old left back, believed to be in the region of £2.5m. On top of that, more news has come through today, that Newcastle have agreed personal terms with Moussa Sissoko, but at the moment, nobody is sure whether that is a transfer or a pre contract deal, as his current deal with Toulouse runs out in June.

In spite of all of this though, Pardew has made some severe tactical errors recently, and a lot of people are wondering if he is the man for the job anymore. The club, and numerous ex-footballers, including Alan Shearer, have backed Pardew, saying firing him would do more harm than good. It’s a very tricky one to call, as I do believe there could be other managers better suited for the job, but it’s a case of whether letting Pardew go will disrupt morale further, if that’s at all possible! Obviously there are a couple of free agents that could do a wonderful job, RDM, Nigel Adkins, etc, but with Pardew’s eight year contract in place, don’t expect to see that happen any time soon.

And that, ladies and gentleman is all we have time for today! As always, hit me up on Twitter @drl_nufc, where I…ah f*** it, where I moan about Newcastle and talk a lot of s***. Take care y’all, thanks for reading.