Archie’s Alternative Assessment – Stoke City 1-3 Newcastle

Ba grabs his second of the night
It was interesting to see the green painted over pitch markings at Stoke.

Apparently now that they are playing with the “Big Boys” in the Europa league Stoke have to play on a “Big Boys” pitch and can no longer use the smaller under 12s pitch they have become so used to in the Premiership.

They certainly won’t get the same mileage out of Rory Delap who won’t be able to just drop the ball on the penalty spot from a real half way line. I hear Stevie Taylor walked across to Pardew after 10 minutes and said “I need to come off, I think I’m still concussed. I’m seeing lines all over the place.”

Isn’t it rather strange that in a game that is so strictly regulated the pitch size can vary by so much? Not only that, but also the fact that Stoke’s pitch is acceptable to our authorities, but not the Europeans?

All sounds very “straight bananas” and “kilos” to me.

A bit like going round to Phil “The Power” Taylor’s house and finding he’s put all the numbers in different places on his dartboard, or playing tennis at Andy Murray’s and finding the net’s 6 inches higher.

Tim Krul -6

A couple of fumbles and some dodgy punches put a dampener on his game. OK he can hardly be blamed for letting in the penalty but it was a very uncertain performance from our new Super-Custodian. Having said that I think most keepers would have struggled with Peter Crouch in front of them and Jon Walters sharing their underpants.

Danny Simpson – 7

Absent in the first half but turned up after about 50 minutes. A major improvement over last week. He disappears off up the other end now and again but I suspect that‘s not him – more likely one of those “tactic” things that we keep hear about.

Steven Taylor -7

Not a big performance from the Phantom but nothing noteworthy of the negative variety either.

Having had a few kicks in the head in the past I would think that Taylor considers the protection of the mask more a new found freedom than an inhibitor.

Fabricio Coloccini – 8

I think Colo played a corker – not enough for Man Of The Match, but certainly not far off. I have criticized Steven Taylor in the past for his heroics – throwing himself around the park, diving here and there like an extra on the beach in Saving Private Ryan. I think it is symptomatic of someone who is always a yard away from where he should be. You don’t see that with Colo. He’s involved in the action a lot more with probably three times the touches of Taylor, but less than half the dramatics. Excellent positional sense and reads the game well. He’s where he’s supposed to be.

Wouldn’t put money on him in a sprint though. I can type faster than he can run. That’s why it takes me two days to produce one of these reports.

Ryan Taylor -7

Good first half, quieter second half. Worked well supported by Jonas, and has to be feeling a little smug having served up a few canny long chucks that would have had Delap drooling.

Jonas Guttierez – 9

Played a different game to his normal style and came out a hero. Jonas wasn’t all arms and legs, mazy dribbles and falling over this week. Instead he was covering, tackling, closing down. And falling over.

With a work rate akin to that of Norman Wisdom, Jonas didn’t stop for the entire ninety odd minutes, tracking back and forward up and down the left wing, but also helping out in the box trying to keep Krul’s underpants relatively free of the red and white curse for corners and throws.

Danny Guthrie – 6

Not a great performance but he certainly didn’t disgrace himself. It can’t be easy running round the pitch trying to fill the boots of the great Cheik Tiote, but he fared well. A couple of minor slips, but fortunately nothing Bramblesque,

Gabriel Obertan – 7

Another improved performance this week as Obertan relied more on his speed than his skills.

The cross for the first goal was sublime if a little behind the Ba and there were other glimpses of promise. Built for speed, Gabby needs to take a flying run and not try to jinx his way through the pack. He’s a bit like my old Capri, once he gets going there’s not stopping him. With the Capri it was a leak in the master cylinder.

Yohan Cabaye – 7

A little off form – but put in the effort. I was surprised to see him come off but maybe he was struggling with a debilitating illness. Maybe, flu, or a stomach bug, or being French?

Leon Best – 8

Butch and Sundance, Bert and Ernie, Batman and Robin, Thelma and Louise, Demba and Leon.

I am a lot happier with Best since he appears to have stopped trying to score goals and has just instead become Ba’s sidekick. OK on Monday night he was actually trying to score when he passed to Ba for his second, but Best is contributing a whole lot more and in a more productive way playing second fiddle. Surprisingly he holds the ball up well and plays some intelligent balls. Why surprisingly? I didn’t think he had it in him.

Demba Ba – 8

OK – quick quiz. Could this be any easier?

He got his first Toon hat-trick just a couple of months after his debut and his second a month later. Who could it possibly be?

Yes – it COULD be Demba Ba but I was actually thinking Andy Cole, signed by Keegan in February ‘93, knocking in three against Barnsley in April then three more against Leicester in the May. And we all know what he went on to do.

The great Andy Cole, goal-scorer extraordinaire and columnist-extra ordinary (in this case meaning VERY ordinary) scored an awful lot of goals from inside ten yards on his way to becoming a Toon Legend.

I did mention a couple of weeks ago that I thought that once Ba got into the habit of scoring goals he would just keep on scoring. This was not quite what I had in mind but lets hope he continues.

As with a number of others he put in a good shift. Yes – I’m a miserable [email protected] for not giving him a 9 but first of all, you knew that already, and secondly, the effort expended by Jonas was considerably more that put in by Ba. Scoring goals doesn’t impress me as much as commitment. He scored two from six yards out and a penalty. If even one of them had involved the need to check where the posts were I might have given him more.

Sammy Ameobi – 7

Liked the little that I saw – he was energetic and forceful, think he has potential but deserves a bit longer on the pitch now and again. Of course, some would suggest that he wouldn’t have got the five minutes if we weren’t 3-1 up.

Just goes to show that remaining upright for extended periods has been mastered by at least one of the Ameobi family.

James Perch – 6

Is it possible that Pardew thought Whelan was becoming a little too involved and sent Perch on to nobble him?

Within 10 seconds of coming on Perch was in on Whelan with both feet off the ground, getting away with just a yellow card, and Whelan spent the rest of the game looking over his shoulder, not a good thing for a midfielder.

“What If I get sent off and banned Boss?”

“Well it’s not like we’ll miss you”

Perch hardly had another touch all game. The ball I mean.

Alan Pardew – 8

I try not to comment on the Manager’s tactics too much because I think a lot of the time we decide what we think they may have been based on what everyone does. A bit of a cart before the cause and effect horse one might say. Pretty obvious I know, but a trap we all seem to fall into.

When we play crap do we really think that Alan Pardew got them together before the match and said “right , I want you to back off, give them room and give them lots of free kicks around the box. Cheik, if you can just wander round kicking people you could be home by five. Stevie, a handball in the box is always good for ratings and Demba, what’s with all this shooting? Take it easy, pass it to their defence now and again”

Having said that – Jonas seemed to shelve any plans he may have had to attack with most ventures starting via Cabaye and Obertan, a good move that paid dividends, unlike my investments at the moment. Cheers Greece!

I wouldn’t say he played as a second left-back as has been suggested elsewhere, but he was back when needed.

The most notable “alleged” “tactics” from my view were the use of Best as the target man, holding the ball up very well and then the speed with which all players closed down the whole Stoke midfield. All seven of them.

Nice to see we had a few cracks from distance. I’d rather see Ryan Taylor hitting the corner flag from 20 yards out than nobody even trying.

Three points against Everton on Saturday and the police round the Bigg Market will be encouraging the lads to have a beer or two.

Well, most of the lads.

Just out of interest – those of you who have already commented about my point that Ba’s goals were all easy should have read all the way to the bottom first.

I just put that bit in to wind you up!

103 thoughts on “Archie’s Alternative Assessment – Stoke City 1-3 Newcastle

  1. TC – Yeah but they are easy stats ma 😉

    That is the bare minimum I’d expect from a place that has a budget of hundreds of thousands of pounds 😉


  2. Toonsy

    Aye – you’d think the chainsaws might have been a giveaway.

    On a slightly relevant note, I used to work for the Forrestry Commission a few yeas ago felling trees.

    As a “welcome aboard” prank when i joined, when we stopped for bait one of my new work “mates” (and I use the term very loosely) took a dump half way up the trunk of one of the trees I was going to be felling in the afternoon.

    If you are familiar with the phrase “when the sh!t hits the fan”, you’ll get the idea reference the range and velocity of fecal redistribution.


  3. Archie – I have to laugh as it’s something I’d do 😆

    A bit like that time I used my mates leg as tree to urinate on in a nightclub 🙂

    Thankfully my unruly days are firmly behind me. It’s just not worth the three day hangover anymore.


  4. TC, think it’d be more relevant to see where teams with 20 plus points/in third place after ten games finish. Shows the risk of the hulls etc. working backwards from those that finish 4/5th seems less useful


  5. Toonsy – aye true

    I still don’t think we’ve got a Snicker’s chance in Jabba’s pantry of finishing top 4 tho.


  6. I agree, Guthrie was better than 6. You think Cabaye was below par, and he gets 7. In my opinion Guthrie was the better of them. His passing was fantastisk at times..


  7. Toonsy here’s another one with similar subject matter from my time in the military.

    Out on exercise in the middle of a dense wooded area in the dark my mate Stan wandered off into the woods for a dump.

    It was fairly noisy out there and a couple of his mates followed him out with a night sight and a shovel.

    By the time he’d found a place to perch and did the dirty deed they had managed to put the shovel underneath him without him noticing.

    When he finished and stood up they whipped the shovel away and retired a few yards into the undergrowth.

    Stan spent 15 minutes with torch trying to figure out where his crap had gone, dropping his pants a couple of times and looking down the legs, just to make sure.

    Ahhh – the cameraderie of the Armed Forces!!


  8. 😆 Really brightening up my morning today Archie 😆 you should comment more; between yourself troy and rodz you’d keep
    Me going all day :mrgreen:


  9. Another great review

    Look forward to them every week. And they are usually great reads, apart from the Spuds review which was total pish…

    Actually Archie, I do disagree with your review on this one… It wasn’t that dark 😉


  10. Premandup,

    Good idea about leaving the marks off, I was thinking about dropping the commentary too. Maybe just draw a picture…………. 😉 😉 😉


  11. Dubtoon – good comment
    Maybe somebody should be taking a look at all the teams who had our points after 10 games and where they eventually finished.

    Our aim has to still be top 10 (even 8) but lets not get too carried away with the fantastic start

    Personally I was confident we could do a job on Stoke and think we can do the same to Everton on Saturday.

    We are told this is our best start in 61 years – in 1950 – 51 we finished 4th.

    Keep the faith lads


  12. haha nobby at 8! i did that too..i was jumping around hammering ‘guthrie’ for a bad pass that put us under pressure – until i realised it was cabaye. I sat back down quietly, almost apologetically..

    it shows how hardened perceptions of players sometimes make us as fans look silly


  13. JJ – you see, I finally think I’ve cracked the perfect review and bang!

    Just goes to show that blogs are just like a marriage.

    Not the place to be if you want to be either right or loved


  14. good article by the way archie;

    a good move that paid dividends, unlike my investments at the moment. Cheers Greece!

    jokes! 😆


  15. Archie

    The last time we went this many games unbeaten at the start of a season we finished 6th.
    I reckon we’ll finish 7th after this start.


  16. doitforsirbobby – cheers for the comment

    Every week there is usually one comment that I have made somewhere in the article that gets the readers backs up.

    Guthrie seems to be this weeks culprit.

    I miss the days of Boumsong and Bramble where you could slag players off with a degree of confidence that others would agree.


  17. maybe just a link to the highlights, or leazes terrace. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    sorry Archie just that numbers don’t do it for me they your prose does 😳


  18. Archie as usual well worth waiting for 😉 tis funny that when you 1st started these I use to have steam coming out of my ears reading them.
    But now I look forward to them as they are a complete break from the ‘ norm ‘ and a reet good laugh.
    Keep up the good work mate, and keep taking your medication 😆 .
    Would be funny to see You, Rods, and Troy all on the jungle juice together, that would be worth paying to see 😀


  19. Really good article Archie. You know your football mate, and some of your comments are hysterical. It’s 1am here (Melbourne) and I’m lying in bed reading this and nearly fell on the floor laughing at the account of your buddy in the Army going out into the dark to take a dump!
    Your a F***ing Ripper mate, keep up the good work.


  20. Big Dave

    Congratulations mate – you’ve figured out what its all about. Now – if you could just explain it to a few of the others…………

    Its all about having a laugh, expressing opinions, and quite often just pressing buttons.

    Once you know which ones are which – it all falls into place.


  21. Joe Aussie

    Glad you enjoyed it mate

    I suffer from the same disability you do – a different time zone (some would say planet) to most other people on the blog, meaning that ongoing dialogue is difficult. Anybody who is commenting at the same time I am is probably off their medication.

    Are you a regular visitor? More important , are you a big fan?


  22. good write up Troy but I would of gave Guthrie a 7 as he’s waited a while and is a little rusty but played well imo

    Also, I’d give both Ba and Pards a 9. but good review all the same.


  23. Archie, good read again! I have no idea why people get so irate at opinions they do not agree with and feel the need to personally insult the author of said written opinion?!

    Anyhow, great entertaining read and a different angle on things as opposed to the rest our writing styles. Love it.

    I suspect you look forward to the half baked reactionary insults that get thrown your way?! Haha 😆


  24. Archie, in answer to your query about whether I’m a big fan; I certainly am. I was born in Newcastle but my family emigrated when I was four years old. I’m sixty two now and read Newsnow everyday where I pick up NUFCBlog, and you blokes do the best Newcastle articles on the Web for my money. I don’t have Cable TV and only get to see game highlights on my laptop so it’s great that people like me around the planet can keep up with what’s happening at the club via articles like yours.It’s much appreciated mate, more power to you!


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