Archie’s Alternative Assessment – Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham

Shola with a brilliant sub showing.
First of all apologies for the delay but one of the downsides of spending my life in the sun is that sometimes they actually expect me earn my crust.

As a result, I have decided that as part of this weeks alternative assessment I’m going to introduce you to my world.

That’s why its an “Alternative Assessment”

During a job interview today the candidate was asked to give an example of a recent challenge that he faced at work and how he addressed it. A fairly standard question designed to see if the candidate has an internet connection and had the sense to Google “10 most common interview questions”

He didn’t. His answer went “I worked on the fault for 5 hours and couldn’t fix it, so I went to sleep”

Stick with it – we will get round to the match eventually. I just need to familiarize you with the local lingo first.

After “Thank you”, “Please” and “How Much, you thieving taxi driving b*stard?”, “Insha’alla” is probably the next phrase a foreigner learns in the Middle East.

This means literally “God Willing”.

If someone says they are going to do something they always stick an “Insha’lla” on the end. This is intended along the lines of ‘yes, I’m going to do it as as long as God doesn’t do anything to prevent it’. We’re talking plague, volcano, earthquake, stuff like that.

However – If you are expecting the bloke from Abdullahs Golden White Goods Store on Hamdan street to deliver your fridge and he says he’ll be there at “2pm, Insha’alla”, Then you’re screwed. Because that means it aint gonna happen. In this case it’s because he’s going somewhere else, taking a day off, can’t be arsed, watching the match etc.

“Khallas” means “finished”.

Whether the waiter is clearing the empty beer glasses off the table or you are lying face down unconscious on top of the bint you blagged at “Rock Bottom” the night before, “Khallas” is a fair indication that that festivities have ended and it’s time to move on.

“Mafi Mushkellah” is up there alongside “Insha’alla” as a universal get-out clause.

Literally it means “no problem” – but think of it along the lines of “Hakuna Matata”.

It means no problem when somebody has just done something monumentally dumb and your expression suggests you are about to swing for them.

“Mafi Mushkellah” is what the painter said when he put his gloss paint pot down on our Persian rug, just before he headed out to his car to get his magic cleaning fluid, never to be seen again.

“Mafi Mushkellah” is what the Dentist said when he pulled the wrong tooth and tried to persuade me another one might grow back. I was 38.

“Mafi Mushkellah” is what the builder who put a JCB through my mains water supply said as, as he tried to fill up my water tank from my garden tap, which is, of course, connected to my water tank.

“Mafi Mushkellah” is what the Electrician said when the external security light that he had just installed kept me awake all night switching itself on and off like a strobe, because he had mounted the automatic light sensor in front of the lamp.

Don’t get it?

It gets dark – sensor thinks its nigh and switches the light on. The light shines on sensor, so the sensor now thinks its now daytime and switches the light off. Its dark again so the sensor switches the light on again………..

I think you get the drift.

And on to the match.

I have to say that I, like many others, feared the worst.

I had it down as an arse kicking in the making, and it could have been until that “tactical Guru” that is Alan Pardew brought on Shola after 70 minutes. But more about that particular miracle later.

A draw is a good result against Spurs and I don’t think anyone can argue that. And don’t let anything I’m about to say detract from the result. You know what I’m like, so don’t go acting all surprised.

First of all, October is too early to be looking at the table and jumping up and down.

Tim Krul – 7

A good performance with just a single blemish, but made up for it with a tackle outside the box and an excellent save during the scramble, that kept us in it. The difference between us now and 4 years ago is that back then those goalmouth scrambles were going in.

One of these days, when a player kicks the ball out because someone is injured the ref will give the throw and tell the opposition to get on with it. If the referee doesn’t see a requirement to stop the game for an injury, why does a player think he outranks him?

Danny Simpson – 5

Nothing nice to say, so as my mum used to say, if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t run with scissors.

My mum wasn’t too bright.

Steven Taylor – 6

He’s cost us in the past and he did it again with the same trick he pulled against Wolves. Cost us a goal and possibly even 2 points. I cant understand why someone who is so talented thinks these things are necessary.

In Taylor’s defence, while the rest of the world saw it as a foul, the look on Adebayor’s face suggested that he couldn’t believe the penalty had been given.

Fabricio Coloccini – 7

A solid performance, usual stuff. We get a bit cocky at times and pass our way into trouble. Colo rescued us a couple of times. Played a superb through ball with the outside of his right foot.

Ryan Taylor – 5

As an embryo I remember my football coach shouting through the womb wall “PLAY TO THE WHISTLE”!!

When Taylor just stopped dead and stuck up his hand claiming a throw in, letting Modric tear off up the wing unimpeded, I found myself inventing nicknames for him, most of which ended with either the words “dick” or “knob”. One particularly creative one included both. When did we stop playing to the whistle?

Gabriel Obertan – 7

When we first got him I thought he was quite handy, but he seems to be turning into another Routledge. He was all over – both sides of the field and even back defending, but give him the ball and a couple of people to beat and he seems clueless. Amazing for a bloke with such pace.

Yohan Cabaye – 6

Terrible game. Got mugged for the first goal and with the exception of an attempt on goal in the 33rd minute, that was about it. He was so far off his game Simpson and Ryan Taylor were taking the piss.

Cheik Tiote – 8

Scott Parker is one of my all time favourites. The fans thought he was a god until one day when playing injured he bottled on a 50 – 50 challenge. That was the end of it.

Tiote is what Parker used to be.

His workrate is phenomenal. He can break up play (and the odd player too – he’s not fussy) keeps his head under pressure and is the starting point for most of our moves.

After a few dodgy games he’s getting back where he was before he disappeared off home to get his visa renewed, or whatever the youngsters call it these days.

He got around so much that at one point Stevie Taylor and Coloccini were passing back to him, with Tim Krul having to get out of his way.

My man of the match.

Cracking shot towards the end. One of only a handful of serious attempts.

Jonas Gutierrez – 7

Jonas wasn’t up to his usual standard. But thanks to our 7-2-1 formation We saw quite a bit of him in defence. His running around and falling over was below par but his left footed cross to Ba was stunning.

Leon Best – 5

Still don’t see it. Some players have special skills. He had the odd moment, but it appeared that his special skill on the day was getting into an offside position and staying there.

Demba Ba – 7

He had a good 20 minutes in the first half but then fizzled out. He got on the end of Jonas’s cross and despite Friedel getting behind it, scored another goal.

I said a few weeks ago that I thought he’d just start scoring, but I don’t think we’re there yet.

Shola Ameobi – 8

Life is full of disappointments. When Shola came on after 70 minutes I groaned “WTF?” His first 2 or 3 touches were exactly what I expected – a bumble here and a fall over there and I thought “here we go again”.

Then something rather strange happened. It was almost as if he acquired spontaneous talent. He was going past people, passes were reaching their intended destinations, he remained upright for whole minutes at a time and then, just to really stick it to me, he banged in a sweet shot following a bit of control and what can only be described as an intended change of direction.

What an absolute git. It’s almost as if he did it on purpose!

Ah what the hell – well done Shola!

All that said, remember Tiote’s netbuster against Arsenal in February? Impressive at the time but it hardly heralded the coming of the new Ronaldo!

I suppose that even a blind squirrel stumbles across the odd nut.

Hatem Ben Arfa – 6

Poor little Benny struck me as the kid who was a star in the juniors then moved up and found the big boys to be a bit too difficult. He kept trying and trying but just wasn’t good enough.

From what we have seen before there is better to come, just not on that day. Maybe next week – Insha’alla

Davide Santon – 6

Santon didn’t appear to do an awful lot in his 14 minutes. Maybe he needs time understand the nuances of the local dialect. Things like forty three thousand Geordies screaming “MAAANONNYAFUKKA!”

Mafi Mushkella – he’ll settle.

Pardew – 7

Tactics are an interesting concept. I was creased up yesterday when I read one blogger insisting that our tactic of keeping possession and moving the ball around was a masterstroke. Wow – what an analytical mind this guy must have.

Even I figured out that the alternative – giving the ball away and leaving it where it is – was never really going to be winner.

So what did we do?

Well, when required the 2 wingers came back from midfield and doubled up with our backs and Tiote got in between our 2 centre backs.

Ah yes – the dreaded 7-2-1 formation. That’s always good for a game of pinball in the box.

The experts claim that we played wide and they played narrow through middle. Until of course we played narrow and they went wide. Oh yes – now I see it!

Frankly dead balls were pretty abysmal and how hard can it be to get within 20 yards and have a shot? OK – it might not go in but surely the brief has to be to at least have a pop?

We didn’t see a lot of Bale’s pace, so maybe we were fortunate there, but Modric was a royal pain.

Pardew gets a 7 because after 70 minutes he brought on Ameobi and it changed the game.

My god, did I just say that?

A good result against Wigan and we could be steaming towards November still in the top 4 – Insha’alla.

Now that’s a much more respectable time to start jumping up and down.


39 thoughts on “Archie’s Alternative Assessment – Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham

  1. One of these days, when a player kicks the ball out because someone is injured the ref will give the throw and tell the opposition to get on with it. If the referee doesn’t see a requirement to stop the game for an injury, why does a player think he outranks him? ………………Agreed, but on this occasion Spuds were pressuring and I think Krul saw an opportunity to take the heat out by booting it out for a throw, knowing that they would throw it back to him out of sporting protocol. As for Cabaye….you can’t expect every team to not oppose what you’re doing, and when the opposition have quality players they may well cancel out your quality players….that’s what seemed to be happening here, and apart from the lost possession which resulted in Taylor’s stupid concession of a penalty Cabaye did his job. We cant’ expect all the players to turn in 5 star performances every-week but the results have to show were doing something right!


  2. After reading that summary, I had to assure myself the game I watched wasn’t actually a 7-0 defeat!!

    We out played a top four side for about 70% of the game. And came out of it with a respectable draw.

    I have no problem with an Alternative view, but to simply search with a magnifying glass for every negative in the game – well, thats a bit sad really.


  3. please dont tell me people are saying first on this blog now 😯 😈

    Didnt like the amount of long balls we were doing. Agree with most of your ratings archie but think cabaye is a 5 for me apart from that good read mate.


  4. Archie are you Andy Townsend in disguise as you are in the middle east as I am you will no doubt watch the match on Abu Dhabi sports and listen to Tosser Townsend every week telling us our bubble will burst. I dont know what game you were watching on Sunday mate but on the days performance there was not one Toon player who didnt outply his opposite number. And yes Spurs have quality but i think people are starting to see so have we. We are playing far better football this year and the teams we have beaten so far are the ones we lost points to last year If youre a fan mate be a fan not just a whinge.


  5. r taylor and cabaye would of got higher of me but not bad ,and lets not forget thats one of the best teams we will play ! i agree about best i dont get it either a few gols dont make him “prolific” but we will see 😉


  6. Archie-

    I’m not sure we watched the same game, mate. Sure there were issues, but there will always be issues. The fact that some of our more creative players were unproductive I think is more of a testament to the quality of Spurs in controlling games. They were a team in good form and we could have easily beat them at the death with just a BIT more concentration. Obertan, like Jonas, lacks end product, but he’s not had enough time to settle into our squad. I think this lad will come good after a few games. Cabaye did his job against a very good Spurs side, so I’m not disappointed in that. Fortunately, on his day, Cheik Tiote is absolutely indomitable. And Sunday was definitely his day. I think we’ve just seen the beginning of a new era at the Toon… insha’alla..


  7. Well said OHurley! Disagree on Obertan but much of what you said was pretty shrewd for a yank. On Cabaye having a poor game – He was quiet but so would you be if your job was tracking and tackling one of the best midfields in the country.


  8. Georgio-

    Thanks mate! I’ve made the full conversion to thinking of Football as Football and not throwball 😉 And yeah- to me, Cabaye wasn’t quiet at all. He was the cog in the wheel that made sure that Spurs didn’t engage at full steam. Meanwhile, Tiote the Undefeatable maurauded up and down the pitch wreaking havoc. Brilliant to watch, if I’m honest.


  9. Trouble is I think some fans have the expectation if a player doesn’t score a 30 yard thunderbolt or goes on mazy runs beating 3 or 4 opposition players to lay on a killer pass resulting in a goal….they’ve not played well. Some players are only really noticeable ‘when they’re not there’ ……….mopping up, breaking down plays, preventing slick moves occurring because of timely interceptions…….these are the qualities of a Cabaye very similar to Rob Lee all those years ago!


  10. Also, I work in online marketing and I have it on good authority that NUFC are looking to following the footsteps of Chelsea, Spurs etc and implement an affiliate marketing campaign.


  11. A good amusing read Archie. Overall I thought we slightly outplayed them but not by much. I think this game gives us a real feel for where we might end up though (except if injuries and the ACN really do us in). It now looks like we might end up in the top 8. Santon and Ben Arfa will start to settle as well so we should improve. I would love to see what Marveaux can do as well. Wigan would be a good game to give him at least 30 minutes. I think we will continue to catch teams by surprise this season. Is it possible we will finish ahead of Arsenal? They don’t look right at all.


  12. Archie’s or Arssy’s Assesment?

    Seriously, Ryan Taylor played his heart out and gave it all and got an assist, no mention of that just a pure slating, bullshhit!!!

    Ba was immense in my eyes for about 70mins,

    Taylor was quality again and gave a pen away. WOW. Considering he play’s most of the game around the area it’s always a possibility.

    Santon came on and did a good job on his debut but what do you want him to do?

    Cabaye was quiet, yes, but FFS he aint Xavi/Fabregas and he’s still settling. That was his hardest match to shine in so far.

    Overall I’ve read plenty of these Archie Assesment and there more funny than embarrassing, if that’s your thoughts after watchin the Toon graft for 90mins and get a good point (and remain unbeaten) go f*cking support the Mackems there’s plenty for you to moan about.

    Archies Assesment: -2 – Poor from a Toon fan i’m afraid, I feel sorry for people like this who despite starting and playing well this season blatantly enjoy being a knob and slating people, FFS we’re a couple of points behind Man U so I can see there’s plenty to moan about.


  13. i liked the article.

    dont worry archie, some people just cant take some opinions.

    its his opinion people (an alternative one at that), you dont have to get angry and say he should go and support the mackems



  14. Cam down! Calm down! It’s all just opinions! Just cos you don’t agree it don’t make ’em wrong. I too thought Obertan and Cabaye were poor compared to what they can offer at their best, but Spurs were worried about Cabaye and I’m sure that not only nullified him but some of their potential too. Obertan I can’t fathom – he runs out of ideas very fast. I’d like to see HBA there cutting in on his left foot against Wigan. As for Raylor – well, I think anyone playing out of position at this level deserves a lot of sympathy; he’s done brilliantly in my view. But now either drop him or put him at RB and drop Simmo!


  15. toonarmy87 says:

    Ba was immense in my eyes for about 70mins,

    you have used words such as immense, quality and played heart out to describe ba, taylor and raylor respectively. your opinion, fair enough.

    however i am not going to gush over that performance like some are. im a newcastle united fan, we are not crewe alexandra who got a 2 – 2 draw in an fa cup game at home to spurs. were naturally imo a top 7 club in this league. steady does it – thats all im saying. we drew with spurs at home last year and imo played better in that game than this.

    its embarassing the way we are gushing over a 2 – 2 draw at home to the rioters. yes they are a good team, but I EXPECT as a Newcastle United Fan us to be competing with EVERY team at home.

    So when they do, fairplay and il jump up and down like an idiot as i did when my cous got equalizer, but im not gonna use words like demba ba was IMMENSE and gush like a kid.

    At the same time, when ba, taylor, raylor have a bad run of form (which they will) im niot go say they are all crap and need to be sold either

    level headedness right now is required from us as fans


  16. Archie 😆 what can I say I rarely agree with what you say, but for some strange reason I look forward to your assessment 😕 maybe i’m a bit of a glutton for punishment.
    As per Taylor gets the stick but although you are quick to point out his mistakes even though everyone seen it, you never seem to see the times he saves us, which on Sunday he cleared what would have been a certain goal so he helped us maintain our unbeaten record 😉 but dont let that get in the way of a good old moan 😆


  17. Robert @ 2

    I’m in Abu Dhabi now mate, Been back for 2 years.
    Spent the 5 years before that in Bahrain, 15 before that Abu Dhabi 2 befroe that in Saudi


  18. I enjoyed it Archie. Don’t agree with it all but it would be a crap thread if everyone said “spot on” or “I agree” etc.However just because I disagree I’ll resist the urge to be a cock (some couldn’t) about it and slap you down for daring to be different after matching a result we gained last season.

    Thought Raylor played well, best game I’ve seen him have really. Got turned easily by Defoe, but he won’t be the only one that happens to.

    Cabaye was quiet yet steady away. At fault for the goal, but then so is Colo for passing to Cabaye when he could see he was getting closed down by two players.

    Best was awful. Worst game I’ve seen him have for a long time.

    Other than that pretty much fair enough 🙂


  19. Jim
    The game was scrappy and we did bugger all in the first half.

    With the exception of Tiote I dont think we dominated anyone.


  20. Jim

    Yes I watch on Abu Dhabi sports, however I stop recording when the half time whistle blows. replay any bits I made notes on in the first half and start recording again when the second half starts.

    I dont normally listen to the commentry at half time or even after the match.
    on the TV because I personally think the commentators are only marginally more intelligent and informed with regard to football than my dog Titus.

    Do I think the bubble is going to burst? Hell yes and I enjoy being wrong every week that it doesnt.

    Jim – if you think being a fan is about walking round with a big grin on your face telling everyone what a fantastic day it is an what a pleasure it is to support your team, you’re on a different planet mate.


  21. OHURLEY, agree with you almost a hundred percent mate. Only problem is we didnt beat them, we didnt concentrate. There were so many other things we didnt do that I didnt write about and I also didnt write about what we havent done next week either?

    I think we will improve – I think the likes of Santon and Ben Arfa will get better, but there are a hundred people out there writing that stuff.

    I also disagree big time with comments being posted that Cabaye “is the cog” or “ran the show” or whatever. This week his best contribution was a pretty good impression of what Nolan used to do each week. Annonymity


  22. ToonArmy87 – Orignal name mate, assume you were standing in line behind 86 other original souls.

    Mate – I give my opinion based on what I saw.

    If you are the product of a modern society who believe that it is necessary to run around with a big smile on your face being positive! positive! positive! then all good and well – hope it works for you.

    Unfortunately – In the real world that doesnt work. You have to identify the negatives rather than just pretend they are not there – otherwise you are doomed to just carry on, well, being crap.

    If you dont enjoy my writing i’m kinda confused as to why you keep reading my stuff. Are you hoping I’m just going to get funnier?

    Dont hold your breath mate.


  23. Big Dave

    On my job description it says “Miserable Old Git”

    The guys who work for me accept that if they want a warm pat on the back for doing whats expected of them, they are in the wrong place.

    Same thing goes for the review. Taylor is supposed to be blocking shots, Krul is supposed to be making saves and Ba is supposed to be scoring goals.

    It what they rake in a mill plus a year for. Should we really get too excited when they actually do it?

    Ba Humbug


  24. Annoying I can’t see comments as box won’t expand on iPhone and turning off mobile doesn’t work either – must be an ios5 thing 🙁
    Bit harsh on a few players, if we were 11th we would be doing cartwheels – suppose that’s the downside of being a top 4 club 🙂


  25. Excellent once again Archie.

    Always enjoy them, although I generally think you talk complete bollocks when it comes to the match! 😆


  26. Effing brilliant piece of writing, honesty and humor ( not sure if I need a ‘u’ back there lived in the states too long)with a bit of nouse!!
    So where is it you live?
    Only debateable # was obertans 7 – you must love escargot!
    I’m giving him one more chance to put a cross in that makes it pass the first defender
    15 mazy runs 0 crosses?
    I coached a bit here and there ( all yanks) my mantra ” the only thing that matters is the last thing you do with the ball…. Shoot, pass ( completed), score… That’s the difference with Jonas this year god bless his flowing locks!
    Kevin (Aspen Colorado – Whitley bay)


  27. Great read. Funny as you like, an intelligent chap 😆

    Overall, you are not far off an acurate assessment. We only outplayed tem for about 20 minutes, the rest of it was fairly equal with Spurs shading it and looking slightly more dangerous (Lets not forget they were on away soil and matched us blow for blow until the end)…

    I think Cabeye did more than you realise, ie tracking back and passing but pretty much spot on for the rest, especially Best – who worked hard but made simple mistakes time and again…


  28. Massivly disagree with some of the ratings.

    Ryan Taylor had a great game considering who he had to deal with, yet you pin point one mistake he made and base the rating on that? Not to mention he set up Shola’s goal…

    Best gets a 5? Really? His work rate was top notch, his link up with the midfield was class, dunno if I’m the only one who notices that he has a class first touch as well. I don’t understand how he gets so much sh1t from people.


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