As soon as they can be dragged away from the crack houses, opium dens, speakeasies and flop joints of our fair and noble city, the true faith TIFOSI will give you their verdict on what has gone down at St James’ Park following the game with Fulham today. Another collectors Saturday 3 pm collectors piece on Barrack Road.
There will be the usual chin rubbing rumination, knee jerk reactions and bad tempered rants. I hope.
In no particular order, here are the famous five …
STEVE FARRELL I felt that this was much improved from mid-week. From the first minute we had more of the ball and never really gave Fulham any hope. At full time, the stats showed that we had something in the region of 24 shots to their 3 – this pretty much sums up Fulham. They do well a home and travel to avoid defeat. Pathetic. Ben Arfa ran rings around them, without offering a great deal until his world class goal. The back four were solid as a rock. All of the subs that came on had their own impact. Thankfully Cabaye was only booed by a minority of bed wetters. Whatever has gone on with this transfer saga is far from what any of us wanted – but to boo your own player is beyond contempt. It’s pathetic. I’ve no doubt that if it were Cabaye that scored the winner, they would have stuck their fingers in their ears. Much in the same way that many did when Shola scored a crucial goal against Morcambe, despite spending a large portion of the game complaining. So, we have a crucial win under our belts. It was a huge result in the grand scheme of things. I think we played very well. Onwards and upwards.
So that’s what a win feels like. Fantastic stuff! I said it against West Ham, and having two upfront is a breath of fresh air that works, and I’m really glad we’ve stuck with it. Shola clearly isn’t the answer, and I think if we land Gomis he’ll take the Shola role (he looks like a big fucker..). We saw both sides of Ben Arfa yesterday. First half he was so frustrating. Things just not coming off, but he seemed to come into his own in the second half. Remember a particular part of play when he skinned the full-back next to the dugout and took it onwards, excellent. His performances was obviously topped off with a superb strike. Particularly excellent as I had £5 on him to score first and last goal at 8/1. £90 in the bank. This one’s to you Hatem. I thought the central defensive partnership took another big step forward yesterday too. The amount of times Mbiwa came across on the cover and swept the ball away, it was Colo-esque! Very impressed. Remy also looked good when he came on, you can just see the bloke looks comfortable in possession, did he lose the ball when he came on? Personally didn’t boo Cabaye, and can’t understand why people would when he’s coming on to try and win a game for NUFC, but that’s their call I suppose. Finally, loved the look of the front four towards the end. Fulham didn’t have a FU-KIN CLUE how to deal with the four of Ben Arfa, Cisse, Remy and Gouffran. Was excellent (and very un-Pardew) like to see us pelt full throttle at them at the end, and getting our rewards. My top 3 marks go to Ben Arfa, 2 to Mbiwa, and 1 to Colo/Remy. Now, I’m off to collect some winnings, enjoy the two weeks off!
Fulham, a retirement home for premier league footballers rolled into town with a combined age of about a million. From the opening, their game plan was the same as it always is, play for a 0-0, give it to Berbatov, see if he can do something mint. Substitute Berbatov for Ben Arfa in that last sentence to sum up Newcastle's play for the 1st 45. We had flashes of creativity but too often our players arrived in the opposition penalty area with no idea what to do with the ball. A couple of weak shots on target, balls into the penalty area aimed at no-one and there was a very real chance of the stilted atmosphere inside St. James' becoming poisonous. Everything changed during the 2nd half. Cabaye came on to replace Anita and it was difficult to tell whether the booing from some parts of the ground were directed at the twisty-necked Frenchman or the decision itself. Gouffran on for Shola and for a few moments it looked like we had lost our shape completely. Fulham had a few chances but it was the arrival of Loic Remy that suddenly galvanised a lost-looking United into something alien to supporters for far too long; a purposeful, attacking force. Thanks to some strong, clever play, Gouffran and Cisse had shots saved by an unbeatable looking Stockdale, Debuchy was buoyed by the arrivals and put in a solid defensive shift after looking flaky for 60 miins. Finally, Ben Arfa managed to make space for himself and deliver and absolute peach, that stopped the keeper in his tracks as it flew into the top corner. We could have made it 2, but for an outstanding save by the young Englishman in stoppage time. For all Pardew's pontificating about Bent, the lad looked slow and uninterested throughout - he was so anonymous, we even forgot to boo him in the rare times he got the ball.We made this harder than we should have done and playing vs. a better side may have been another story, but we'll take this; heads down, move on...nothing to see here
Relief is definitely the overriding emotion. But for the first time in a while I leapt down the Gallowgate steps with a spring in my step. For an hour or so we were distinctly pedestrian. Decent enough possession, solid at the back, but lacking any cutting edge up top. Then something magical occurred. In his eternal wisdom AP replaced Shola with someone who can actually move. Yes, it’s maybe a little harsh to lay all the blame at the feet of the big man. However, it can’t be denied that his pedestrian efforts have knock on consequences for the rest. Things brightened up after 65 minutes when Yoan Gouffran and pantomime villain Yohan Cabaye were thrown into the fray. Cabaye was afforded mixed reception, but if the lad does want away it didn’t stop him putting in an all-action performance. Then debutant Loic Remy was introduced with quarter of an hour left and all of a sudden things clicked. With Hatem full of tricks, Cisse reinvigorated and Gouffran full of energy on the left, we laid siege on David Stockdale’s goal. Of our 24 shots and 13 corners throughout the match I’d be willing to bet half of these came in this period. The all-important strike came with not long left on the clock and was well worth the entrance fee. It’s fair to say our number 10’s shooting boots have deserted him so far this season, but all was forgiven when he cut inside from the left and rifled an unstoppable effort into the far corner. Late chances to further the lead were squandered, but it mattered not as we notched up our first league victory of the season. Special mention must go to the defence who ensured a 3rd consecutive clean sheet. Even so, please sign someone.
The war of attrition is over! Long live King Pardew! Strong Squad! Strength is depth! Quality on the pitch! Put down the glue bag and move away from the magic markers. On the way up to the ground I felt like I was going to the dentist and the first half was like pulling teeth. So many holes and so much space I shouted myself hoarse. Every team in the premier league presses other teams…we cant be arsed. I half expected to see Berbatov rolling a spliff one handed as he picked defence splitting passes…he had a bad game fortunately but the man is a class act. Bent looked pathetic and whiney and I am honestly glad we didnt get him.