Newcastle United have put together 40 good minutes or so today - here's hoping that they don't follow trend and look poor in the second half.
The old commentator cliché "Newcastle have had the better of the play, but Tim Krul has been the busier keeper" is a truism for the first half today. The Toon have looked interested and organized going forward, particularly in the form of Hatem Ben Arfa who in spite of not being on the score sheet has had perhaps (for me) his best half in a black-and-white top. In the absence of Yohan Cabaye, one wondered where the creative spark would have come from for United, and HBA answered emphatically. His divine little chip to Demba Ba early on was a signal of his intentions, and the creation just kept on coming. He has been unlucky to not assisted on an opener, and it should be said that his back-post cross would have been that if Sammy Ameobi had crashed the back post instead of demurring to Demba Ba.
On the flip side, Newcastle have looked vulnerable on the counter attack, and it looks as though Michael Laudrup's men are quite happy to take the chances on the break (and also of Mike Williamson). They have had little trouble in finding players on neat through balls, but Tim Krul has been equal to the test so far. 45 minutes left to play, and it's hard to say one club or the other club are favorites for the points at this particular instant.