NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: New Wolves manager Terry Connor (R) makes a point as Alan Pardew looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Sports Direct Arena on February 25, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Another disappointing result for the Magpies leaves us frustrated. No, we did not dominate the game and probably did not deserve to be 2 up so early, but we were. We were up 2 AND at home against one of the worst teams in the Premier League. While Wolves did show some of the 'first-game manager motivation', we should have handled them better. Watching the game, I could literally see the shift in control. Cisse could not run the entire game like he was in the first half, and as soon as he slowed down and was not able to press the back line, Wolves controlled the game. I think what Pardew said in his post match comments (see below) is right on. We looked rusty. Not only have we had a couple weeks off, it was a few of our players first game ever with each other. I feel frustrated and disappointed, but not crushed or worried. We looked good in stretches and Cisse looks to be exactly who we were hoping he would be. More importantly, he looks like he will partner with Ba perfectly up top. I am not happy about the result, but I am not worried either.
The one other point I do want to touch on is something I slightly addressed last week. It seems to me that a lot of fans are taking the stance that "We have had a good season and the boys have been playing well to be where they are. We shouldn't be frustrated by these last few weeks." While I do not disagree with the premise, I do disagree with the attitude. We will not grow if we are complacent where we are (no matter where that is). The fact is not if we were expected to be where we are, but that WE ARE WHERE WE ARE! If we start losing and say "Well, everything now is just equaling out" then we will fall right back to were we "should be".
Some of our players have proved to be top class and we saw the amount of rumors surrounding Ba, Tiote, and Krul during the January transfer window. Imagine what it will be like throughout a whole summer. These players see the top clubs that are interested in them, and there is no way we can keep them unless we convince them that we have the ability to be a top club. We are in a position similar to where Tottenham was recently. They were preforming above expectation and instead of everyone talking of what their future could hold, the talk became "where will Bale go? How much will Chelsea give for Modric?" This will be our story this off season. There were questions about the locker room early in the season, but other things that we have in common with the Spurs are a great man manager and savvy ownership. Tottenham handled it perfectly and have been rewarded this season. Just like leaving is contagious (see Cliche, Nasri, Fabregas . . . ) so is staying. Lets just hope we can take a few notes from Tottenham this off-season.
|6.5||Could do nothing about either goal. Played very confidently and made some solid saves especially in the 60th minute on a shot by Ward that was headed towards the bottom corner. Not to mention he had a poor view on the ball and it took a late deflection. He is demanding strong consideration for a Euro Cup call up from the Netherlands! Someone make some signs!|
|Simpson||6||Would have had a goal on a wonder strike in the 17th if not for a brilliant save by Hennessey. Did get beat easily by Ward on a cutback in the 60th and had the first goal deflect off him to beat Krul. All in all, I thought he had a solid game. He played better than he has been the last few outings and showed tremendous effort.|
|Williamson||4.5||Started poorly in the first minute getting beat easily by Doyle who took a weak effort. He was beaten by Doyle in the 28th on a cross that could have easily (probably should have) been a goal. Gave away cheap fouls. Failed a clearing header and then whiffed on the ball to clear it out on Doyle's goal. Writing this out makes me want to lower his rating, but I'll leave it as it is. Rough day for him and as he said himself "bad day at the office"|
|Coloccini||6||Went forward a few times and produced a lot of quality. Defensively he played "bend, don't break" but it was his passing out of the back that saved his rating.|
|Santon||6||Showed some very patient defensive in the 23th minute, tracked back and helped out while avoiding the penalty. Showed great skills and split open the left side a couple of times. Set Cabaye up for an effort that was blown.|
|Taylor||6||Great cross to Cisse in the 32nd. Should have done better on a cross from Cisse in the 41st when he found himself in front of goal in a 1v1. Was beat easily to allow Wolves first goal off of a Jarvis cut back. Came off in 65th.|
|Cabaye||5.5||Disappointed me a little. Seemed to give the ball away easy at times and disappeared for portions. Great pressure to get our first goal. Not a terrible effort, but did look rusty.|
|Tiote||6||Started strong and sent some great long passes up to Cisse. Trailed off towards the end of the game, but showed how strong he can be in front of the back four and reminded us how much we missed his composure.|
|Guitierrez||7||RELEASE THE KRAKEN! Scored an incredible strike in the 17th and played well going forward. Did not always send in a quality ball or his rating would have been higher, but did cause problems down the left side time and time again. Had trouble with Zubar early, but seemed to figure him out pretty fast.|
|Ba||6||Had a great flick on effort that eventually ended with a Cisse goal. He looks like he enjoys playing with Cisse a lot. They seem to connect well and understand each other. He seemed to struggle when put up top as the lone striker. We have definitely seen better performances from Ba.|
|Cisse||6.5||His goal was all because of his effort. In the first half he was all over the place and ran like a wild man. Had a headed chance in the 32nd that just missed. Sent in some good crosses which looks promising for the future to link up with Ba's beautiful bald head.|
|Ben Arfa||6||On in 65th for Cisse. Frustrating. At times he seems so promising but will only make the safe pass when all other options are exhausted. He did have 3 efforts that were close. He is our most exciting player and reminds me a lot of Adam Johnson when he cuts it back in onto his left.|
|Guthrie||5||On in 65th for Taylor. Gave it away easily at times and did not look the same player he did against Villa a few weeks ago. I was excited to see how he would play off the bench, but it was not what I expected.|
|Ameobi||-||Came on in the 80th for Tiote. Did not get too involved.|
"We never really had a grip of the game but we had a two goal lead and you've got to see that home. We are Newcastle United at home with fifty-two thousand people. You've got to win. Unfortunately, we haven't. There was a bit of rust in us, I thought. Our performance level was a little bit low."
"Newcastle, when you're home team you need to win. It's as simple as that. I spoke at half time about how the game wasn't over because Wolves had fair control of the first half even though we got two goals. We never got to grips in that first 20 minutes. Having said that, it was two poor goals that we conceded and we should have done a lot better."
Mike Williamson via Sunday Sun
"Our back four is as strong as ever!"
"It's not a good day. Now, we have to focus on our next game. We know that it's a derby and we have to remember how to win."
Terry Conor (Wolves Manager)
"We are in the habit of shooting ourselves in the foot and giving ourselves an up hill climb, and after 20 minutes today that is exactly what it was. But it was a real credit to the lads. They were able to stick with it and got to half time. I wouldn't say we played badly in the first half, we just conceded two very sloppy goals. In the second half it was a credit that they were able to produce the second half that they did."