Following on from article focussing on Cabaye’s wise words in the press, I was very impressed with the display that he put in the side in today’s game.
In fact I was very impressed with a number of players in the team that secured the win against the Cottagers. For me though Yohan Cabaye was my man of the match.
Our French magician played a pivotal role in helping our side gain this victory. His first time shot from a throw in forced Mark Schwarzer into a save that pushed his effort onto the bar before landing in the path of Leon Best to give us the lead. It was a notable contribution from the Frenchman but it wasn’t limited to just that one shot.
During our cup tie earlier in the week at Glanford Park I’d been overawed by the way that Cabaye played. His touch was brilliant, he hardly lost the ball, he had a high passing range and had vision that enabled him to see where his team-mates where. This was again the case in today’s game as he passed the ball accurately and everything he seemed to do looked easy for him.
It appears that Cabaye is getting to grips with the English game now that he has played four games for the Toon. His body language depicted that of a man who looks very comfortable on the ball and comfortable in his new surroundings. The former Lille man broke up attacks and his work rate was one of a very a high standard which shows that he is prepared to put the effort in. He is not your typical hissy-fitting Frenchman.
Tim Krul is another who had an outstanding game. Today really showed why he has been given the number one spot by Alan Pardew. The Dutch international produced reaction saves that kept us in the game and show that he is a top quality keeper. His performances in the four games so far this season clearly show me that he is the number one goalie at the club. He was unfortunate with the goal, but it’s an error that I’m sure he will learn from and other than that he put in a brilliant display yet again for the Magpies.
Our defence looked very solid too. Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor were on top form today. They prevented Fulham from gaining the upper hand in the first half. Their headers out were very strong and one tackle from Steven Taylor was right in the box and he produced a sliding tackle that was top notch to prevent a shot on goal.
Coloccini was decisive at particular times in the first half and this was shown when he came thundering out of his defensive third with the ball to try and put the home side on the front foot. That highlighted to me that he made a decision as captain to get the team moving a bit more by actions rather than words.
Ryan Taylor again looked solid at left-back and even ventured further up field. He seemed to link very well with Jonas when we were on the attack and perhaps that partnership may flourish a bit more now that Jonas and Ryan work together. They seemed to understand how each other plays and to me it didn’t feel like Jonas had to come back and defend all the time. He was able to venture into the final third much more than he has in our previous matches and enabled the side to use another option when on the attack.
Jonas Gutierrez again put in another performance that confirms that he always gives a hundred percent for the Black and White Army. He was attacking the Cottagers fullbacks and even had a rare headed shot on goal during the first half. The Argentine international showed that he is a grafter and that his performances so far show that he wants to give his all for the team. Gutierrez is a key member of our team.
Gabriel Obertan produced a tidy shift for the side today. He was virtually unknown in the first twenty minutes of the game but once he drifted in he found himself on the ball a lot more he became more effective. He was further involved towards the end of the first half when Newcastle had their best spell as he cut in and fired a low cross into the Fulham box. As the game wore on the French U21 international grew into the game and when Haris Vuckic found himself thrust into the fold they produced some lovely play that showed that they were on the same wavelength. It was unfortunate that Haris had to leave the pitch due to injury but that partnership may blossom if they find they play together as it looked like they were beginning to link very well. Gabriel also tracked back in order to help the defence out which was helpful for a below=par Danny Simpson.
There were many positives to take out of today’s match and now going into the international break we find ourselves in a very good position.
Of course there are areas where we do need to strengthen our squad. But with three games gone and a total of seven points I am delighted with our start to the season.