As Newcastle fans, we ask ourselves fairly regularly ‘Why do we keep on doing this?’. In all likelihood, we’ll never win anything and there are more downs than ups but walking, actually no, bouncing out of SJP today then we had our answer. There aren’t that many days like this and when they come along, we should enjoy them to the fullest because make no mistake, today was absolutely fucking mint.
Taylor came back in for Williamson (praise be) and Cabella was given a start and for the first twenty minutes, it looked like our fears of a long afternoon were going to be realised. Chelsea looked dangerous every time they came forward and Willian could have had a couple himself, curling just wide and forcing a save from Elliot as they looked to exploit a gap between Sammy and Dummett at the back. We weathered the early storm though and despite an almost catatonic atmosphere in the home crowd (which changed dramatically late on), we managed to get a foothold in the game and as the half wore on, we were equal to them.
Oscar came close with an overhead kick but we crafted a chance of our own when Perez set up Colback after a mazy run only to see Courtois smartly off his line to smother the shot. More of the latter to come, but I’m unabashedly in love with Ayoze Perez. The lad grafted his cock off this afternoon and despite being on a hiding to nothing by himself up front with Cahill and Terry for company all afternoon, still made a nuisance of himself all afternoon. The kid is a gem. Colback flashed another effort over after more good work from Perez and we went in at half time worthy of being level.
The interval saw the injured Eliott replaced by Alnwick for his first start – talk about in at the deep end for the kid but he endeared himself almost straight away by coming out to punch the ball and clear Costa clean out in the process. Best striker in the league? Colo, majestic throughout, had him in his pocket all afternoon.
No-one could have predicted what was to come though and (deep breath), great credit must go to Pardew for calling the substitution absolutely perfectly, taking off the largely ineffective Cabella for Cisse and seeing the dividends within minutes. Personally, I thought he was poor in the main but huge credit must go to Sammy for our opener when he somehow dug out a fantastic cross with the ball behind him after a ball from Sissoko and when the resulting deflection found Cisse from six yards out, he made no mistake to wild celebration from the crowd.
We awaited an onslaught from the visitors, who brought Schurrle on almost immediately but his first contribution was a cynical hack at Colback’s back that could have easily seen him red carded, the dirty perfect Aryan bastard. They almost equalised when Hazard poked a shot against the post but it was joy unbridled moments later when we got the goal which looked to have sealed the game. Colback made yet another great challenge on Hazard in the middle and from the resultant breakaway, Sissoko was released into the box. It looked like he’d fluffed his chance but he managed to poke the ball square to Cisse who slotted into the net past their desperate defence. Delirium. Two-nil up against the new invincibles? Incredible. I’ll mention Colback at this point aswell because he was absolutely fucking fantastic today. I’ll be honest, he’s not my ‘sort’ of player – give me an unpredictable Gallic genius every time but by God, he was phenomenal today. He was absolutely everywhere and never put a foot wrong all afternoon. As good a performance as I’ve seen at SJP in years. Hats off to you bonny lad.
With only ten minutes or so left, it looked like we were home and dry but just moments later, all bets were off as Steven Taylor saw red for a crude lunge on Schurrle. He could have had no complaints if it had been a straight red but we could certainly have had an argument that play should have been pulled up in the build up after a blatant dive by Drogba. From the resultant free kick, it was the Ivorian who pulled them straight back into the game, heading home easily from a Fabregas cross with Alnwick flapping. With Williamson unfortunately now on the pitch, the fear was that any ball into Drogba was going to end up with a chance and he made a massive impact on their team. While I’m handing out the platitudes aswell and again, this is a considered view, aside from Shearer, I rate him as THE best player in the Premier League era – a phenomenon at his peak, the best individual performance I have ever seen against NUFC for Marseilles and a tireless campaigner to make things better in his home country – a true ‘legend’ in short. Such a shame he’s so often such a massive bellend on the pitch.
Despite his constant hectoring of Alnwick and a couple of hairy moments, we held firm for the remaining few minutes until the board was held up. A quick tot up in my head..five subs in the second half, a sending off with no major hold up…four minutes tops. When the six went up, the initial howls of derision were replaced with six minutes of SJP at it’s absolute best with the noise building into a crescendo that reached a peak when the final whistle went. You know it’s been a special afternoon when folk are greeting the final whistle as they would a goal – jumping up and down and hugging anyone in sight and it really was one of those days.
Parking Arsenal for a minute (we always get beat down there), we could be bringing the Mackems up here in a fortnight on our way to a semi-final with revenge in our nostrils. If it’s anything like today, we’ll murder them. For now, I’ve just got my report finished in time to sit and actually enjoy MOTD. Happy days.
Keep the Faith
Newcastle United – Eliott 6 (Alnwick 6), Janmaat 9, Coloccini 9, S Taylor 7, Dummett 9, Sissoko 8, Tiote 6, COLBACK 10, Cabella 6 (Cisse 8), Sammy 7, Perez 8
Ref – Atkinson 6 – On reflection, he probably got most of the calls about right but six minutes man?
Our Fans – 8 – The last 15 minutes were as good as I’ve heard at SJP for a long, long time. Nervy, defiant and noisy.
Their Fans – 7 – I might have mentioned this once or twice, but I fucking hate them. That said, they had big numbers, observed the John and Liam applause well and were noisier than most we have up here. Still total dicks mind.
Follow Gareth on @truefaith1892
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