Much of the pre-match talk was about Swansea and their possession game, which was going to be the case in fairness as they are good at it. However the amount of possession you have is completely irrelevant if you don’t do anything with it, as Swansea have been finding out in recent weeks.
In my opinion we played it spot on tactically. If it was me I’d have done it differently and pressured from the front, but our approach of just letting Swansea have the ball and allowing them to try and break us down worked a treat. They were unable to do it and were restricted to shots mainly from outside the penalty area as a result.
Swansea started off well and soon got into their possession swing, with neat passes between the back four and the goalkeeper looking pretty but not really doing anything else. Indeed that was highlighted when the first real attack fell the way of the away side who rather clinically took their chance in the first five minutes. Yohan Cabaye flicked the ball through first time for Papiss Cisse who ran in on goal and slid the ball past Michael Vorm in the Swansea goal.
As mentioned earlier, chances were restricted for both sides. Newcastle rarely threatened in truth, but neither did Swansea despite having the vast amount of possession. They just couldn’t break us down and the closest they came to finding the back of the net was though a 30 yard strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson which Tim Krul palmed wide.
The second half started off in much the same way as the first, with Swansea having the bulk of possession once more, although yet again they were only able to threaten from long range. Even the introduction of Gateshead born Danny Graham and former Chelsea youngster Scott Sinclair couldn’t help the hosts get any nearer to our goal.
However one thing Newcastle are these days is clinical, and that proved to be the case when Papiss Cisse scored his second of the game on 69 minutes. Hatem Ben Arfa played the ball to Yohan Cabaye who slid the ball expertly through to Cisse on the angle eight yards out from goal. What happened next can only be described as exquisite as the Senegal international clipped the ball over Michael Vorm and into the opposite corner of the net.
After that Swansea looked deflated and we started to see more of the ball. Swansea still had more possession than us, but as I’ve said numerous times already it amounted to nothing noteworthy in attack and the game petered out leaving Newcastle with the three points, a clean sheet, and fifth place in the table, just two points off third placed Arsenal.
The possession that Swansea had was irrelevant. The media like to build it up as being patient, but I found it incredible boring to watch the ball being passed to the defence, to the keeper, back to the defence and back to the keeper. Quite frankly if my team were being so patient at home whilst trying to score a goal to level the game I’d be pretty mad. We can’t play them at their own game, not many teams can, so we hit them with our incisiveness, and it worked a treat.
Howay the lads!
Swansea: Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Steven Caulker, Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Joe Allen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge, Luke Moore.
Subs: Gerhard Tremmel, Alan Tate, Garry Monk, Josh McEachran, Mark Gower, Scott Sinclair, Danny Graham.
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, James Perch, Davide Santon, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse.
Subs: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Shane Ferguson, Ryan Taylor, Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling, Shola Ameobi.
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