One of the big question marks before the start of the season was where our hunger, fight and desire would come from. Well I think that has been answered in truth.
Joey Barton is the one who will pick up the headlines for all the wrong sorts of fighting, but it shouldn’t be ignored that all round the pitch on Saturday there was a serious of committed if unspectacular performances.
This team is going to need time to gel and to get to know each other. It would have helped if we had an actual proper pre-season that wasn’t full of trouble and strife and all things not so nice, but we are where we are and whilst there were some rusty performances against Arsenal there were also hints that things will get better with time.
Yohan Cabaye has come in for criticism from sections of the fans after his debut performance, but the pleasing thing for me is that he recognised that he was short on fitness and insists that he will work on it to ensure that he isn’t caught out again. Cheik Tiote said much the same thing after the match.
It’s not a lack of ability that is the problem. It’s a lack of fitness and understanding – both will come with time.
In these times it will be spirit that pulls us through until the fitness and ability can can come to the fore. Fortunately we have players who are still committed to the cause, and that was evident on Saturday.
“You certainly couldn’t fault our spirit on Saturday,” Pardew told The Journal. “Look at Jonas, running 50 metres in the second minute of injury time to make sure that Walcott didn’t get a cross in. That gives you the indication that things are okay.”
“We will fight in every corner of the pitch for the black and white. And I thought that was apparent.”
Newcastle must retain the sense of spirit and fight as we head to Sunderland at the weekend. Nothing less that 100% will do although some sites are arguing that a loss should result in Alan Pardew getting the boot. Go figure. Welcome back JFK eh?
Personally I’m not in that camp and hope that with another week of training and getting to know each other along with the seemingly imminent arrival of a left-back and, God forbid, a striker that we’ll look a much better, much sharper outfit at Stadium of Shite on Saturday lunchtime.
This talk of “fight” and “spirit” will be needed come the weekend.