LONDON ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Mousa Dembele (L) of Fulham battles for the ball with Jose Enrique Sanchez of Newcastle during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on February 2 2011 in London England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
This week the title of my review may be misleading. I'm trying to be reasonable, I am. I'm trying not to panic. I'm trying not wonder if Newcastle United will be able score even one more goal this season. I'm trying not to wonder what might have happened if Shola Ameobi was injured against Spurs instead of Fulham. I'm trying not to wonder if Andy Carroll would still have been here.
I'm trying not to wonder how at risk we are for relegation.
I said in the preview that this was a very important game for the club in general, and that it was the most important game that Alan Pardew will have managed for NUFC. I'll be referring to it throughout so you may want to take a minute before the jump and watch his post game interview.
Okay, I wrote the intro yesterday and gave my self another 24 hours to come back off the ledge, and I have a bit. Wednesday's match was bad for NUFC, and don't get me wrong I'm still mad about it. But, the match was bad for Fulham too wasn't it? Pardew said that the first goal was always going to win that game, and I think he was right on about that. Sometimes when two teams are closely matched it makes for a really good game, but sometimes it makes for a game like we saw on Wednesday.
Pardew also mentioned the pitch as a culprit of the problems both teams were having. On this point I don't agree. The pitch looked a little rough, but the bigger issue was that neither team could figure a way to be better than the other, and so they both worked at looking less bad than the other. That makes for pretty lousy football. Until Duff scored on that fluke of a play, I was looking forward to another 0-0 draw.
I said in the preview that this may be the most important game in Alan Pardew's young NUFC management career, but it doesn't look like he thought so. In his post game interview (which may be the most important of his young NUFC management career), he was apathetic and flippant. Not only that but he talk a whole bunch without saying anything. This makes me nervous about his investment. We are on the cusp of a serious time of difficulty on Tyneside, and anything less than a full investment will bode very poorly.
We need to mention quickly the bleak situation we find the striker core in. If Shola Ameobi had to be hurt, why couldn't he have done it a week earlier? We now have only three legitimate strikers. I'm sure Pardew is going over the free agent market with a fine toothed comb, but listen, that's going to have to be one hell of a comb to find a striker that can score in the Prem among that group.
In lieu of player comments or grades this week, I'm just going to say that the team still looked to have a lot of solidarity. And if we're going to get through the time ahead we will need to continue that attitude. It may be time to circle the wagons on Tyneside.