Newcastle managed to secure a nervy away win at QPR yesterday – a win which assured us of Premier League football next term.
A penalty from Hatem Ben Arfa and a fortuitous strike from Yoan Gouffran cancelled out Loic Remy’s opener for QPR giving the Magpies just their second away win of the season.
It wasn’t a great performance as both sides struggled, but with the bulk of the pressure on United I’m extremely happy to say that we came out on top in the end which was ultimately all that mattered. People can be critical about the way we played or the football on show, but getting the three points and sorting out which league we’d be playing in next season mattered more than any of that yesterday, and on that score it was job done.
The reason we’re safe is because Aston Villa and Wigan play each other on the final day of the season next week, and both sides can’t overtake us. Mind you I have a feeling that it could all be over by then anyway as Wigan must first travel to Arsenal and win on Tuesday to ensure they enter that final game against Villa with at least a fighting chance. Still, at least we’re out of it…
Newcastle started off poorly and struggled to get into the game. Indeed it was an error on the part of Mathieu Debuchy who gifted QPR the chance to take the lead by conceding a penalty although replays have subsequently shown that Debuchy’s infringement was outside the penalty area and shouldn’t have resulted in the spot-kick that Newcastle target Loic Remy duly fired past Rob Elliot.
However just seven minutes later United were level after Jose Bosingwa decided he wanted to swap shirts early with Hatem Ben Arfa leavin referee Lee Probert little choice but to award a penalty to the away which Hatem Ben Arfa smashed home via the underside of the crossbar.
United could have grabbed the lead soon after had Papiss Cisse’s powerful header not been ruled out for a marginal offside call, but good news was on the horizon as Jose Bosingwa dropped another clanger by leaving his back pass to Rob Green short which allowed Jonas Gutierrez to close down the former England ‘keepers clearance with the rebound falling to the feet of Yoan Gouffran who volleyed home into an empty net from 25 yards out.
Gutierrez could have sealed the points in the second half but Shaun Derry had other ideas and cleared his header off the line leading to a nervy ending which saw Newcastle reduced to ten men ten minutes before full-time after Rob Elliot picked up his second booking after being adjudged to have handled outside the box.
As I said, it wasn’t pretty but I always knew it was never going to be a game for the archives. However we did get what we wanted from it which was three points and Premier League safety assured, and for that alone I’m over the moon!
One more game to go and the inquests and planning for next season can begin in earnest. I don’t know what the club have planned regarding the future of Alan Pardew, for transfers in or out or anything like that, but at least we know we can plan to be in the big league again.
Howay the lads!
QPR: Rob Green, Jose Bosingwa, Nedum Onuoha, Clint Hill, Armand Traore, Andros Townsend, Jermaine Jenas, Stephane Mbia, Junior Hoilett, Loic Remy, Bobby Zamora
Subs: Brian Murphy, Fabio, Shaun Derry, Park Ji-Sung, Adel Taarabt, Jamie Mackie, Esteban Granero
Newcastle: Rob Elliot; Mathieu Debuchy, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa; Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Hatem Ben Arfa, Yoan Gouffran, Papiss Cisse
Subs: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, James Perch, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Adam Campbell