In fact I was snowboarding but that is besides the point.
Football is one of those sports that really do take over your life. As I was sliding down the slopes generally on my backside I couldn’t help sweating on the score. I thought I could make it I really did. I gave it to temptation about 3:20. Looking at the score I had this ecstatic feeling you only get when your beloved team are playing well. It was poetry in motion the snowboarding improved … life was good.
But being a Newcastle fan we tend to assume partly based on last years results that we can steamroller teams once we get in a good position. So with 30 minutes to go in the game I checked my phone and I’m dreaming of the headlines in the morning; 5-0 to the toon or can they really get 4th Spot?
The score was 2-1 with a description of a lucky deflection for the Jarvis goal. Esctasy turned into anguish and all of a sudden you started to think 2-2 written all over it. Positivity turned into negativity faster than you can say Papiss Demba Cisse. I sat there gutted half expecting to see 2-2 flash up any second. All of a sudden my confidence had disappeared and I was checking the score every five seconds updating the update and losing rag with the phone because it didnt update quick enough. I still harboured some glimmer of hope and thought surely we would still score another. Then full time – 2-2.
I wasn’t as angry as I thought I’d be as I’d started to wonder if we were getting a bit carried away with this European talk with whispers of Champions League. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the attraction, but we need to take a step back and review the situation.
We are 6th, four points ahead of a mediocre Liverpool team, an opinion which was reinforced by the fact they looked average against Cardiff yesterday. We are three points behind Chelsea and Arsenal. Albeit Liverpool have a game in hand but that is a sterling effort even at this stage of the season. We can’t assume we don’t deserve to be there because we do, we have played magnificently at times and there is no way people can belittle our achievements so far.
I could rattle a couple of excuses like Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote haven’t played for a while and the team for me was set up too negative from the outset. But in reality we were complacent, lacklustre and to be honest a point looked good in the end. I don’t think Alan Pardew was entirely to blame here. He had the same team out basically as the team that beat Manchester United convincingly plus a new £9m centre forward. We looked average but so have every other team above us at more than one occasion this season.
What worries me now though is we need to reignite our team. Chelsea have just had a convincing home win, Arsenal have just thumped Tottenham who battered us and Liverpool although looking average have just won a Cup. They are all riding a wave of form going into March. We are looking a bit timid and shy.
We don’t need to be. Europe is within our reach more than ever. We would be mad not to try and reach it. We have nothing to lose. People forget that we have been at the top end of the table all season and barring a collapse we should stay there. I believe it isn’t too much too soon as we have been getting used to the idea of it all season being in the position we have been. Europe is reality.
This run in is so vital for the shaping of the football club for the future. We all sense that Europe could turn us into a real force again and give us more power in keeping our best players. Now they need to play for us and show against Sunderland we are real contenders.
I would like to see Gabriel Obertan and Hatem Ben Arfa start against the Mackems. I felt we lacked pace and guile in the final third. Cabaye and Tiote should be able to handle the gaps. Sunderland put everyone behind the ball and just lump it for Sessegnon to chase. We are better than that as we have already shown this season. Let’s batter them.
What do you think…. too much too soon?« Does Yohan Cabaye flatter to deceive? | That time has come again, Sunderland. »