Match highlights of the 1-0 victory over Wigan yesterday followed by chatter from Alan Pardew and Roberto Martinez before a summary of the performance from Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson.
I’m not gonna lie, I was expecting a full scale demolition of Wigan today. What I saw instead was a slightly disappointing performance even though we scraped the win.
Yohan Cabaye’s perfect strike sealed the three points for the Magpies, but we looked out of our depth at times. Especially going forward. A few seasons ago, it was in games like this that we weren’t winning. As scrappy as they are, it’s three points in the bag and our unbeaten streak remains.
Our game at the moment relies so much on Cabaye and Cheik Tiote controlling the centre of the park, allowing our wingers free reign to go forward and attack to their hearts content. This is where the problem, for the time being, lies.
Gabriel Obertan had a very disappointing performance, and it was quite ironic that his replacement Sylvain Marveaux, within minutes of coming on, set up Cabaye for the goal. He may have the pace to get down the wings and beat the opposing fullbacks, but his final ball yesterday was very disappointing. There were a number of times when he had worked himself in to a good position only to over hit the cross or not put it in the danger area. When we have a big striker like Demba Ba starting, these need to be targeted at him every single time.
Jonas is in a very rich vein of form at the moment. However, he is often prone to being a little bit over-eager and loses a lot of the ball when going forward, especially in the middle of the park. This is frustrating considering the pace we have on the counter-attack and against the bigger teams, it’s only a matter of time until times like that cost us.
Leon Best had a disappointing game, but it is very encouraging to have two starting strikers with such good goal scoring records. Shola Ameobi was reliable as always, and played his part when helping the Magpies in their search for the win. Hatem Ben Arfa’s performance was also encouraging but, as he showed in the Spurs game last week, he needs to look for the pass a little more often rather than go solo.
With a bit more work on the wing-play, and final delivery, Newcastle will look like an even more formidable opponent, especially at Fortress SJP. The team spirit we have at the club is incredible, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the dressing room. Alan Pardew has worked his magic and we’re still sitting pretty in fourth place.
Long may it continue!