A vastly improved United took all three points from sunny South Wales after blowing Cardiff away in the first 45 minutes. Williamson came into the side for a traumatised Mbiwa and Cisse started ahead of Ben Arfa and in complete contrast to Monday night, we controlled proceedings from the word go.
After what can only be described a ‘good sup’ in the sunshine down by the bay, we made our way up to the ground, which is frankly shite and ticks every box for the modern flatpack stadium. Expecting very little from the game, we were pleasantly surprised with how brightly we started. We had a couple of chances to go ahead early on with Sissoko going closest from a shot that was just tipped over and Cabaye coming close and Cardiff were all over the place, resorting to lumping the ball long and struggling to cope with our passing game. We finally went in front on the half hour when Remy cut inside and unleashed a shot from 25-yards out. From where I was sat, it looked like the keeper should have done better and his shot squeezed just inside the post to the delight of 2,000 noisy Mags.
The second came a few minutes before half time and again Remy got on the scoresheet. This time, it was Cisse who shot at Marshall and when he could only palm his effort away, Remy coolly finished the rebound from a good twenty yards out. If anything, this goal was even better than his first and his composure in front of goal is magnificent – he’s already looking like a real star and if QPR really do want rid permanently we should be moving heaven and earth to keep him. We could have even gone in three up had Cabaye’s free kick not come off the post but as it was we looked home and hosed when the whistle blew.
Chatting at half time and having a very civilised pint and a tab on the concourse, we couldn’t believe how easy the first half had been but the start of the second was a very different story as we again came out looking lethargic. What the hell are they supping at half time man? Cardiff had a lot more intent about them and came close on a couple of occasions to rouse the home support and when they pulled one back with half an hour still to go, we feared the worst. The goal was a fairly straightforward square ball that was finished by Odimwingie and in the five minutes after the goal they looked likely to grab a quick equaliser.
Pardew brought off a tiring Remy for Gutierrez and his defensive presence helped out as we calmed our nerves and got a foothold in the game again without ever enjoying the dominance of the first half. Bellamy looked a danger for them out wide when he came on and gave a poor Santon the runaround but we held firm. Their best chance to equalise came late on when Mutch was played in but Krul came smartly off his line to save and in the end we were very much value for the three points.
You almost don’t know where you stand with United these days and as encouraging as the result and performance was, we have a tough run of fixtures to come after the international break. From the ridiculous on Monday night, to the almost sublime in the first 45 minutes here, we’ve been from one extreme to the other in a space of a few days and unless we continue in the vein that we started the game here, we are in for a torrid time against the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea. Still though, the victory moved us into the comfort of mid table and buys us some breathing space for the tough month ahead. I’d be happy enough if we were still sitting around the top ten in four weeks time but that is very much down to which Newcastle takes to the field in those outings
Newcastle United: – Tim Krul 7, Matthieu Debuchy 7, Mike Williamson 8, Fabricio Coloccini 8, Davide Santon 6, Moussa Sissoko 7, Yohan Cabaye 7 (Hatem Ben Arfa n/a), Chieck Tiote 7, Yohan Gouffran 7, LOIC REMY 8 (Johan Gutierrez 7), Papiss Cisse 6
Ref – Friend – 7 – Seemed to miss a handball in the second half but otherwise no issues with him
Our Fans – 8 – Enjoyed themselves in the sun
Their Fans – 4 – Poor bar for a few minutes in the second half.
Keep The Faith,
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