It’s a great feeling to be the only club in the Premiership (and possibly the country) to have a 100% record – surely making Pardew a shoe-in for Manager of the Month. Apparently, he’s not won it in his time with us – which is odd given that he had a clean sweep of the annual award a couple of years ago.
It was a fairly disciplined performance against a side that has only been beaten once on the road. Shola was an absolute colossus once again, as was Williamson…again! On current form, there can’t be many English centre halves in better form than Iron Mike. This will of course be ignored by the national press and the doylums in charge of the international set up. If Ross Barkely and Andros Townsend can get in on the basis of ONE raker of a goal each – then Williamson surely deserves a nod on current form. For the record, Ross Barkley is rubbish and Townsend is just fast. No footballing brain though.
I digress. This was a fabulous performance, they didn’t really threaten us too much and we fully deserved the win. Defended well and took our chances. Most of us were up celebrating as soon as that shot left the boot of Sissoko. Tremendous finish.
So what of our expectations now? We’re just over a third of the way through the season and we are within touching distance of the top 4. I don’t think we have a realistic chance of finishing amongst the elite, but on current form we’re going to give it a damn good go.
Wowza. The NUFC rollercoaster continues on our mental upward curve with a three points that I was sceptical about us getting (not many times we win 4 on a row these days; WBA have caused us problems in recent past) yet I’m bastard delighted we did get, to move to 5th in the PL. Immediately after the game on twitter I was critical of Pardew’s sub (Anita for Remy), but anyone can see that initially he’s got the team set up fantastic. I love Hatem Ben Arfa, yet we seem to be a better team without him, and tough 2-1s like this prove it. Shola and Rémy seem to love playing with each other, and once again yesterday they were buzzing in and around each other, and Nigeria’s #1 was influential again. We had the cheek to score from ANOTHER corner, Shola again involved, getting across the keeper so he could only punch in the air, and little Gouffy with a leap to put us one up. I said to my mate at HT that this will still be a tight as fuck, and it proved into the second half as Brunt lashed home after a bout of sustained pressure. However, once again we seem to have a proper attitude about us right now that says ‘we aren’t beat here’. I guarantee we’d have gone on to lose that game last season. Not this one, as Sissoko lashed a fucking thunderbastard of an effort into the top corner. He’s magic, you know? Overall, we looked the most solid we’ve looked in a long time against Shane Long, Willo once again deserving of his place in the side. On Pardew’s subs, I just feel the man is so negative. We got away with it yesterday, and against Norwich, but look at what it’s coming to against these sides. I know they’ll push further forward the later in the game it gets, but Pardew seemingly gives the opposition a helping hand with his defensive subs time after time. It will bite us in the arse at some stage. Quick word on Dowd, well, actually two – fucking clueless. Careful now NUFC, you’re beginning to resemble a very decent side indeed! Sometimes, just sometimes, being on the NUFC rollercoaster is fucking mint. Howay the Lads! 3 – Shola (Excellent working, he’s not getting the goals, but he’s doing everything else) 2 – Cabaye (Really digging deep in the last few games, this one no exception. More of the same please Yohan) 1 – Gouffran (Vital goal at vital time and does unpraised graft on the left for the side, helping out Santon defensively)
West Brom are a bit like us…the media don’t particularly like them, they’re not great but they’re not that bad either. Today they were horrible. In fact, both teams were pretty horrible for the first 45. We’d resorted to hoof-ball amd WBA were either kicking, wasting time or falling over. Somehow we managed to score from yet another corner…Yoan Gouffran with an beautifully timed leap to head home. The second half started in a similar vein and WBA got an ugly goal back. Then something changed. Newcastle decided, enough with this shit, let’s play exuistite passing football instead and see how we do. I’m not exaggerating, it was bordering on the divine at times and Sissoko’s gorgeous strike to make it 2-1 was thoroughly deserved. The usual suspects were at it again; Debuchy, Williamson and Colo were outstanding at the back whilst Shola took on the Ben Arfa role up front as well as his own; holding the ball up as well as beating 3 men at a time with his feet on several occasions. Gouffran worked his socks off yet again, often covering in defense for a shaky looking Santon. But that’s nitpicking. We didn’t make it easy. Phil Dowd refereed the game disgracefully as he waddled around the pitch handing out free kicks and missing handballs and terrible challenges at will. It didn’t matter though. We won the bastard. We’re in 5th. Shola’s got a new lease of life. Lets keep doing this.
Four wins on the trot and the giddy heights of 5th. Who’d have thought it 6 weeks or so ago when we were 3 down at Goodison well before half time? A 2-1 home victory for a second week in a row left us all believing Europe is a real possibility. Yes, we shouldn’t carried away, but it’s hard not to sometimes. After all following massive wins against Chelsea and Spurs, the majority were probably resigned to a blip in true Newcastle United fashion. But that was not to be and Moussa Sissoko clinched the points in style thanks to a stunning driven effort from range. During the first half we were comfortable without looking particularly threatening before that man Yoan Gouffran popped up to nod us ahead. Scoring from a corner two weeks in a row, whatever next? A goal from Shola? Maybe that’s too much? Now then I’m one of the big man’s biggest critics, but today, for a period in the second half in particular, he was excellent. Everything Shola touched seemed to turn to gold, with his lay offs and flicks always falling to a man, before he inevitably ran out of steam towards the end. One swallow does not a summer make though and it will take more than a couple of half decent showings for me to change my stance on a man with just a solitary strike in his last 50 odd league outings – however nice a bloke he no doubt is. For the first time in a while the confidence is back among the ranks. The likes of Debuchy and Sissoko are fully up to speed with the PL, while Anita and MYM are well on their way. The swagger is there again and we’re starting to play some decent football. Long may it continue.