LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Louis Saha of Spurs scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at White Hart Lane on February 11, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Heading into the match, pragmatic Magpie fans were not expecting to take anything away from White Hart Lane. As such, it shouldn't have been a surprise that Newcastle
were defeated lost the match on Saturday. The difficulty was in how the Toon lost. We'll have two full weeks to talk it out, explore our feelings and give each other hugs... so we'll just pop into the early week news instead. Suffice it to say, however, there were a number of puzzling decisions by Our Fearless Leader that we ought to discuss, so keep those ideas in your brain for a bit.
Tottenham Hotspur: Bad Matchup Is Bad
Pardew knows his team are still in an excellent position and while the loss at Spurs was painful, it was a rare off day in a season which Newcastle have already exceeded the expectations of many of those who doubted them in the summer. The United boss told the Chronicle: "We will take it on the chin. "We will take the embarrassment of the headlines on the chin and go to the next game."
Of course this is the responsible reaction to the defeat. One game is three points. What we will need to ultimately react to are the decisions by Alan Pardew (as I mentioned before the jump).
THE current Newcastle United squad has limitations, Alan Pardew admitted today, following the 5-0 loss at Tottenham.
You're shittin' me.*
*I reject that the limitations are as severe as the squad selection indicated at Spurs.
How do we fix it?
"We had no Cabaye, no Tiote and no Ryan Taylor," Pardew told the Gazette. "There was a big part of our midfield missing, and that was pretty evident. It hurt that Cabaye wasn’t playing." United won two of their three games during Cabaye’s suspension, but his absence was felt in North London.
We've said for a long chunk of the season that our starting XI can hang with most starting XIs in the Premier League. This is of course the reaction that we should expect to the match as several key players were out. On the flip side, we should expect not to lost 5-0 regardless of who we put on the pitch. Honestly, this kind of result is a severe expectation adjustor, or at the very least a call to examine perspective. Are we closer to the bottom than we are to the top? Points don't say so... but James Perch starting in center mid when there are several actual center mids (by profession) really makes you stop and think.
Probert was unable to keep a low profile during the game with Spurs and while the Londoners dominated the 5-0 win, the United bench felt hard done by after an episode in the first period. Demba Ba’s free-kick was diverted from goal by Brad Friedel, however, there was no subsequent award of a corner from referee Andre Marriner. As the Newcastle bench protested, Probert’s curt reply was: "Why you telling me?" Probert’s positioning during the defeat at Spurs was also left open to question with the 39-year-old also spotted laughing and joking with the home bench.
So we'll be fine when Yohan comes back. The player absences obviously hurt us. They cannot, however, absolve Alan Pardew from poor squad and tactical decisions. Oh, and bringing Lee Probert into the discussion is quite a bit of a non sequitur.
Chelsea’s earlier defeat had given Newcastle the chance to go above them into fourth. They squandered it, but are still only a point behind the Blues and Arsenal in sixth. "A poor performance at Tottenham doesn’t hide the fact we’ve done well this season and we’re still in the mix with teams who have been Champions League regulars over recent seasons," stressed centre-back Williamson who, like the rest of his team, was given a torrid time by rampant Tottenham. The home side scored three times in the first 21 minutes, former on-loan Newcastle striker Louis Saha scoring twice on his full Spurs debut after joining from Everton. It was a start from which the Magpies never properly recovered.
What is the worst thing that came from the match on Saturday? We were scored on by Louis Saha. Twice. I'm not certain that Saha has scored twice total in the last three years. (Exaggeration purposeful, but you get the point.) Also, it's much less irritating to kick around the perspective ball as supporters without having it be fed to us from the squad.
The Premier League club were so impressed by his progress that they moved quickly to pin him down on a two-and-a-half year professional deal last week. Logan said: "I’ve been at Newcastle for seven years as they spotted me playing for Northbank in a tournament over in the North East. "I’m really pleased with the way things are going, and it’s great to get my first pro contract.
The club had made no bones about their preference to the Academy lads over the Reserves lads, and I believe that this is going to be the first of a number of first professional contracts being offered out over the next couple months.
And the ACON is over
Tiote converted the Ivory Coast’s first penalty, but Arsenal’s Gervinho missed the decisive spot kick in a 8-7 win.
Not to pile on, but based on the body of work this season, did we dodge a bullet not getting Gervinho? Also, if you were a supporter of the Ivory Coast, would you be at all disturbed by the coach's quote down at the bottom of that article?
So we move on. Enjoy your Monday!