Newcastle United continued stretched their unbeaten run to 11 league matches this season (14 league games overall) with a 2-1 victory over Everton.
A thoroughly entertaining match and perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking ones with the pressure that Everton seemed to heap on us in the final ten minutes of the match.
The performance from the whole of the team was absolutely fantastic. We battled hard to make sure that we guaranteed those magical three points. I think every player who pulled a black and white shirt can be proud of the performance that they gave yesterday and once again we’ve seen this team really works hard for each other. For me though there are some players who gave outstanding performances yesterday.
Ryan Taylor had a brilliant game. He has settled into his role at left-back very well and yesterday he had to face Royston Drenthe, Seamus Coleman and James McFadden. He looked very calm in his position and was able to deal with these players who faced him. His headers out of defence were very good and that allowed us to push further up the pitch as well as making important tackles and blocks that stopped Everton getting past him.
Jonas Gutierrez had a quiet day for a change, but it didn’t matter to Taylor who also found himself advancing up the pitch and provide balls into the box for our strikers and midfielders to attack. What can I say about his goal? It was a goal of true craftsmanship and it seemed as if it required no effort to stroke it in to the back of the net. The topsin he generated was enough for the ball to dip under the crossbar whilst leaving Tim Howard with no chance.
On Monday night, Danny Guthrie replaced the injured Cheik Tiote and put in a decent display against The Potters. Yesterday he produced another shift that truly demonstrated that he is capable of filling in for the Ivory Coast international.
The impressive thing with Guthrie is that he does the simple things of passing, finding players and holding the ball very well. These are important aspects and Guthrie showed the Newcastle faithful that he can do this.
His vision was evident yesterday. He spotted Danny Simpson on the right and floated a ball across to him that led to the cross that found it’s way into the back of Tim Howard’s net via John Heitinga. Guthrie also was accurate in his passing and in one instance when Everton seemed to be attacking our box he took a yellow card for the team so that he could disrupt their attack. A very calm and assured performance from one of Kevin Keegan’s signings.
I have to give a mention to Danny Simpson as I felt that this was his best performance in a black and white shirt so far this season. He was venturing forward at times and the cross he put into the box certainly created trouble for the Everton defence. In addition he made some perfectly timed tackles and he certainly wasn’t afraid to go up for headers as well. The only blotch on his performance was the fact that Jack Rodwell managed to escape his marking but other than that Simpson looked very calm on the ball and produced a very self-assured performance.
There are so many other players that I could mention today and if I did I’m sure that this would become a very long article. Each player in the team was a vital cog in the machine that kept our unbeaten run going. I thought that the work rate of the team was very high and whenever Everton had the ball the players were busting a gut to try and pile the pressure on them. This worked a treat for us and it shows that Alan Pardew has installed this as a way to try and get results.
It was very nice to see Dan Gosling and Hatem Ben Arfa to come on today. Gosling was successful in all four of his tackles that he made. He was getting involved in the game and he looked like he was relishing the opportunity of facing his former club. Hatem Ben Arfa looked a lot better than in previous games when he came on. He was passing the ball a lot more and wasn’t afraid to go in for a tackle. These two players have been out for a very long time and it was great to see the both of them on the pitch.
Credit must go to Alan Pardew aswell. He had to deal with injuries to Yohan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveaux and he was confident in the ability of both Sammy Ameobi and Dan Gosling to take the roles of the two Frenchmen. One thing that I did notice was Alan Pardew trying to rally the crowd behind the players towards the final whistle to keep them going. That was fantastic to see.
A great way to go into the international break with another three points. The break will allow us to regroup and allow the players to rest from their gargantuan efforts that they have put in during the last few weeks.
Then Alan Pardew can begin to prepare his warriors to face the force that is Manchester City!