This was a very disappointing result. Not because of the ongoing Cabaye situation having an impact, we played perfectly well in his absence. This was disappointing because Norwich were so incredibly poor. We dominated for the majority of the game against a side that, typically of Chris Hughton, just weren’t trying to score a goal.
The most frustrating moment of the game for me was the moment HBA hit the deck looking for a penalty, when to my eyes he could easily have stayed on his feet and attempted to score. Other than that, obviously we hit the ‘woodwork’ three times and were generally unlucky not to win this game comfortably.
I don’t really know what to say about the Loic Remy incident. There is nothing in the ‘headbutt’ and both were as bad as each other for the handbags. Unfortunately, I think the FA will see enough in the initial pushing and shoving if not the touch of heads to render an appeal hopeless. Very silly from Remy to even get involved. Ref has at least been consistent in sending both off. The timing was awful as we were applying some late pressure and this just killed the game for us.
We will be without Remy for three games, one of which is the mackems. This is a huge loss and could dent a push for Europe, unless we get a couple of bodies in, starting with Luuk De Jong. As has been pointed out by Alex Hurst, the last time we were this sceptical before a home derby, we won 5-1. Possibly the last time Shola scored for us? I don’t know… pretty sure there was a different Prime minister the last time that happened. I have to say, Pardew really needs this or I fear he will forever lose a sizable proportion of the support. Again we have a lot of key players missing at just the right time for them. Lets hope for some big performances from the loyal players we do have. See you all on Sunday
Ignoring the obvious bad news, for the moment at least, and focussing on the game, this was a chance to see how the players would react to the loss of Cabaye. I feared they would take the news negatively and play within themselves mourning the loss of our creative maestro.
Alternatively, when a player who dominates games as much as Cabaye did for Newcastle leaves, it can allow other players the freedom to step up and show what they are capable of. Anita, Sissoko and Ben Arfa in particular, are going to have to step up and fill some of the Dreamboat shaped void and at times tonight they showed that this is possible, at least against a very poor Norwich outfit. Mike Williamson was a titan again at the back alongside an ever-improving Taylor. Sammy also did himself no harm with a decent showing and nice interchanges with Debuchy on his return.
Remy’s sending off however, spoilt what otherwise would have been a satisfying display and dealt a massive blow to derby day preparations. Newcastle losing Cabaye and Remy just days before the derby must have been in only the most delusional of Mackem’s wet dreams, now it’s our reality. Stupidity of the highest order from Remy, who deserves a proper head butt as punishment.
After the Cardiff game, I wrote that I felt our season was over at that point. Although somewhat premature, I do think that after the derby on Saturday we can as good as send the lads on their summer holidays. We have no interest in the cups, probably already mathematically safe in the League, no obvious interest in qualifying for the Europa League and no chance of making it into the Champions League. No one can blame Cabaye for jumping at the chance to go to an ambitious club who want to win big trophies. That sort of club we are no more and never will be under the current regime. Mike Ashley is happy banking his money from the Cabaye sale and drooling over the thought of selling the likes of Krul, Debuchy, Santon and Colo for big profits in the summer.
Let’s just hope that the players that are here (at least for the time being) put in a performance this derby day and that JFK remembers the padlock code on his filofax and gets some reinforcements in before the window shuts. I won’t hold my breath.
That game summed up a frustrating 24 hours in the mad world of NUFC. The performance didn’t exactly suggest that we were suffering from a post-Cabaye hangover (me on the other hand…) as we absolutely battered Norwich for the best part of an hour. You knew it was going to be one of those days as Norwich’s man of the match “Woodwork” kept us at bay on three occasions.
The sending off was ridiculous. There was absolutely nothing it, and yet we aren’t going to appeal it. That makes perfect sense going into the derby minus not only our former best player but top scorer too. Saturday is going to be no fun at all is it?
Kinnear has 4 days to earn his crust. He’s done nothing for 7 months so don’t expect anything to change for the rest of this week.
The only explanation why we weren’t at least 2-0 up by half time was that during the