The hard fought draw against a quality Everton side on Monday evening could give Newcastle the kick-start to the season the players have needed.
Our start to the season I think would probably be described as ‘sluggish’. Even after the opening day display against Tottenham I was still not overly impressed. So far this season I think Hatem Ben Arfa has been the one to stand out and has played some great football which has in turn helped out his team-mates slow starts.
Yes, football is a team game but so far this season and even up until the second half of the Everton match we have not really had that fight and determination in the team which helped us into 5th position in the league last season.
I was not been impressed by our performance against Chelsea, I think we went to Stamford Bridge prepared for the slaughter, we never put up a fight against them and we just seemed to roll over and obviously at that standard against players like Eden Hazard and Juan Mata you cannot afford to do that or you will be punished.
Also against Aston Villa I think we forgot all about our game plan and fell victim to the way Aston Villa setup in that game which was in a very defensive manner. We stopped playing our game and got to caught up in how Villa were playing, kicking it long and hard tackling, at home we should definitely be looking to beat teams of Aston Villa’s standard.
Newcastle are going to have to get used to teams coming to St James’ Park and setting up to try and take a point from us or hit us on the break like West Brom did last season. If we are going to be competing with the top clubs we need to figure out, just like your Manchester United’s and Chelsea’s, how to play against teams who stick ten men behind the ball and try to frustrate you.
Everton was a very strange match in my opinion. In the first-half we were non-existent and Everton should have really put the game to bed, but when we came out in the second half we looked like the team we all loved to watch last season, we had great attacking flair and looked solid at the back, Pardew had obviously installed some belief and confidence into the lads at half-time.
I think the Everton match will definitely give the players back that belief and confidence which we seemed to have in great quantities last season and help us really push on, not just in the league but also in Europe, I think the game would have reinstalled that never say never attitude from last season and we won’t fear any opponent going into any match.
Howay the lads! Onwards and upwards.